Nepal Prime Minister’s India visit to strengthen ties

New Delhi, March 28 (IANS) Nepal Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba’s coming three-day visit to India indicates strengthening of both countries’s unique social, cultural, strategic, political, and economic ties even as China is making all efforts to make inroads in the Himalayan country.
Deuba’s visit comes just a few days after Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s visit to Nepal. China has been pushing its Belt and Road Initiative to invest in development projects in Nepal. Wang visited Nepal weeks after Nepal’s Parliament approved a contentious half-billion-dollar aid grant from the US. This US grant had irked China.
Accompanied by his wife Arzu Deuba, Deuba is coming to India on the invitation of his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi from April 1 to April 3.
“This will be the first bilateral visit abroad by the Prime Minister of Nepal after assuming his office in July 2021. A high-level delegation will accompany the Prime Minister,” India’s Ministry of External Affairs said on Monday.
Deuba will call on Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu and hold talks with Modi on April 2. External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval will call on him.
Besides the official engagements in New Delhi, the Prime Minister will visit Varanasi.
India and Nepal enjoy age-old and special ties of friendship and cooperation.
“In recent years, the partnership has witnessed significant growth in all areas of cooperation. The upcoming visit will provide an opportunity to the two sides to review this wide ranging cooperative partnership and to progress it further for the benefit of the two peoples,” the ministry said.
India’s relationship with Nepal had deteriorated two years ago over the border issue. Then Nepal Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli had even mocked the Indian national emblem, termed the Indian virus more lethal than the Chinese one and claimed that the Hindu deity Ram was born in Thori in Nepal and not in Ayodhya in India. The Chinese tried to make inroads during the crisis.
India, in the meantime, sent Indian Army chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla, and Research and Analysis Wing chief Samant Kumar Goel to cement the relationship between both the countries.

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