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Preparations for PM’s India visit ‘complete’

  • Official announcement likely today
- KAMALDEV BHATTARAI, NEW DELHI

Aug 21, 2017-All preparations related to Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba’s upcoming five-day visit to India are complete, according to the Nepali Embassy in New Delhi. Both sides are likely to make an official announcement on Monday.

Deuba is scheduled to arrive in New Delhi on Wednesday on his first foreign visit since assuming the post of prime minister for the fourth time. Deuba, who is coming here at the invitation of his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi, will engage in several high-profile political meetings over five days.

PM Deuba will hold a bilateral meeting with Modi on August 24. On the same day, he will call on Indian President Ram Nath Kovind. Deuba will be the first head of state or government to call on the newly-elected Indian president.

Also on the same day, Indian Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Home Minister Rajnath Singh will call on PM Deuba. 

During his stay in Delhi, Deuba will interact with the Nepali community on the problems facing the Nepali migrants working in India.

As well as meetings with intellectuals, PM Deuba will hold an interaction with the business community in Delhi where he is expected to make a strong pitch for Nepal as a safe investment destination. Nepali Ambassador in New Delhi Deep Kumar Upadhyay is hosting a reception in honour of PM Deuba on August 24.

Deuba is also scheduled to visit Hyderabad where he will observe Information Technology and Pharma Industry hubs. He will also visit Bodh Gaya, the famous pilgrimage site in Bihar where Gautam Buddha is said to have obtained enlightenment, and Tirupati  in Andhra Pradesh before returning home on August 27.

Deuba’s visit is taking place at a time when India and China are engaged in a standoff at Doklam plateau. Foreign Minister Krishna Bahadur Mahara has already said that Nepal would not take sides on this dispute.

Amid the exchanges of belligerent rhetoric between the two countries, Mahara said in Kathmandu last week that Nepal will not get “influenced” either by India or China and “get dragged” into their border dispute.“Our policy on boundary dispute between India and China is clear,” he said during a press briefing.

Ambassador Upadhyay said that unresolved issues at the bureaucratic level will be taken up with the political level during the visit.

Along with implementation of the past pacts, the visit will focus on exploring new areas of cooperation between the two countries, according to officials.

The full-fledged implementation of big projects such as Arun 3, Upper Karnali and Pancheshwor Multipurpose projects are on top of PM Deuba’s agenda during the visit. Various technical and procedural issues are hampering these development projects.

Both sides are discussing inauguration of the Arun 3 Project jointly by prime ministers of both the countries, but for this some technical issues need to be sorted out, according to sources.

Other issues like Nepal’s access to electricity market in India, implementation of the energy bank, exchange facility of currency notes demonetised by India, inundation of Nepali villages and towns due to infrastructure constructed by India will also be discussed during the visit, said the official.

Published: 21-08-2017 09:00

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