Kathmandu and Delhi announce Kwatra’s visitThis will be the first high-level visit from India after Pushpa Kamal Dahal became prime minister.
Kathmandu and New Delhi on Friday made formal announcements of the two-day Nepal visit of Indian Foreign Secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra beginning Monday.
“At the cordial invitation of Foreign Secretary Bharat Raj Paudyal, the foreign secretary of India, Vinay Mohan Kwatra, is paying an official visit to Nepal on 13-14 February 2023,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on Friday.
This is the first high-level visit from India after Pushpa Kamal Dahal became prime minister on December 25 last year.
During the visit, Kwatra and his Nepali counterpart Paudyal will be reviewing the status of Indian-funded projects in Nepal, among other things. He will call on President Bidya Devi Bhandari, Prime Minister Dahal, and former prime ministers duo Sher Bahadur Deuba and KP Sharma Oli, among others, and discuss the entire gamut of bilateral ties.
He is also expected to hand over Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s invitation letter to Prime Minister Dahal to visit India.
Since the prime minister is preoccupied with the upcoming presidential elections scheduled for March second week, it is still unclear whether the prime minister will pay a visit to the southern neighbour before the elections, said a source close to the prime minister's private secretariat. Also, ahead of the presidential elections, the prime minister is supposed to fly to Qatar to participate in the fifth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries scheduled for March 5-9.
During Kwatra’s visit, Nepali and Indian officials will discuss various matters of bilateral cooperation such as connectivity, power trade, agriculture, health, and culture, among other things, according to the foreign ministry.
In a statement, India’s Ministry of External Affairs said this will be the first stand-alone visit by the foreign secretary to Nepal since he assumed charge. He was appointed foreign secretary in April last year.
Soon after landing in Kathmandu, Kwatra will hold a meeting with his Nepali counterpart Paudyal and discuss various bilateral engagements including in energy, power sector, connectivity, boundary and border, trade, commerce, transit, development and economic cooperation among others and review the progress made in various projects, according to foreign ministry officials.
The visit is in keeping with the tradition of regular high-level exchanges between the two countries and the priority India attaches to its relations with Nepal under its ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy, the Indian ministry said
“India has historical and civilizational linkages with Nepal, and bilateral cooperation between the two countries has strengthened in the recent years, with several major infrastructure and cross-border connectivity projects completed with India’s assistance. The visit will be an opportunity to further advance our bilateral ties,” the Indian ministry added.