Gyawali to fly to India on Thursday for a three-day visit, foreign ministry announcesA major focus of the visit is the procurement of Covid-19 vaccine. The border dispute, report of the Eminent Persons’ Group and other outstanding issues will also be discussed.
Minister for Foreign Affairs Pradeep Kumar Gyawali will visit India from January 14-16 for the sixth meeting of the Nepal-India Joint Commission, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced on Tuesday.
A team of senior officials led by Yagya Bahadur Hamal, joint secretary and head of the South Asia and India Division, is visiting New Delhi on Wednesday, a day prior to the minister’s three-day visit, to finalise the final text and minute of the meeting, said a senior foreign ministry official.
But India’s Ministry of External Affairs has not announced the visit yet.
The meeting of the joint commission will discuss the whole gamut of Nepal-India bilateral relations, including trade, transit, energy, boundary, COVID-19 cooperation, infrastructure, connectivity, investment, agriculture, tourism, culture, among others, the ministry said in a statement.
Besides regular issues, Nepal is expected to raise the issue of the boundary dispute between the two countries, submission of the report prepared by the Eminent Persons’ Group on Nepal-India relations among others.
“One of the major focuses of the visit is the procurement of Covid-19 vaccine from India and we are also expecting a separate grant from the government of India,” the senior foreign ministry official said. “We are expecting some breakthrough on it, and therefore the health secretary is also travelling with us.”
During his Nepal visit at the end of November, Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla had extended an invitation to Gyawali on the behalf of External Affairs Minister of India S Jaishanker to participate in the meeting. But due to the political situation inside the ruling Nepal Communist Party, the meeting had become uncertain.
While in New Delhi, the foreign minister will also meet with high-level dignitaries of India. Sources said that Gyawali will meet Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Home Minister Amit Shah and National Security Adviser Ajit Doval among others.
Gyawali will also deliver a public lecture on Friday jointly organised by Vivekananda Foundation and Kathmandu-based think tank Asian Institute of Diplomacy and International Affairs.
The Nepali delegation will also include the foreign secretary, the health secretary, the Nepali ambassador to India and other senior officials, ministry sources said.