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Indian PM likely to visit Nepal in August

Publication Date : 16-06-2014

 

On Sunday, Indian daily The Telegraph reported that the Indian premier would visit Nepal to discuss a wide range of bilateral issues with political leaders and officials in Kathmandu. This will probably be Modi’s third international visit—after Bhutan and Japan—since assuming the top executive post last month.

Officials at the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu, however, expressed ignorance saying that no official confirmation had been made about the visit so far.

Senior officials at the Nepal Ministry of Foreign Affairs said they were unaware of the plans but hinted that Indian external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj will be visiting first to pave the way for Modi’s visit.

Nepal and India are planning to hold in Kathmandu the second meeting of the joint commission at the foreign minister’s level, an apex government-to-government body that reviews bilateral relations. Respective foreign ministers of the two countries head the commission. The commission has not met since its first meeting in New Delhi a decade ago.

High-level officials said that since the 18th Saarc (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) Summit slated to be held in Kathmandu in November is likely to be pushed further for logistical and other reasons, Modi’s early visit is likely. “Modi will not wait until another Saarc Summit date to visit Nepal. Hence, he may have decided to visit Nepal earlier.”

During the visit of PM Koirala to India for Modi’s swearing-in, Indian external ministry officials had told Nepali officials that Modi would come to Nepal only during the Saarc Summit as two trips by the PM in a year to a country were impossible.

Secondly, Modi is visiting neighbours to reciprocate Saarc leaders’ attendance in his swearing-in. “It increases the possibility of his visit to Nepal,” said the source.

With Modi expressing interest to visit Pashupatinath Temple, a Monday in the Nepali month of Shrawan (beginning mid-July) would be auspicious. In his meeting with lawmaker Amaresh Kumar Singh in New Delhi last week, the Indian prime minister had inquired about the most auspicious day to pray at Pashupatinath.

The Telegraph wrote: “Dates are also being so calibrated that the Prime Minister’s Nepal itinerary includes a Monday: he’s been told it is the most auspicious day to pray at Kathmandu’s Pashupatinath Temple.”

According to the newspaper, Swaraj, national security adviser Ajit Doval and foreign secretary Sujatha Singh will accompany Modi to Nepal.

 

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