Indian Foreign Secretary on Nepal visit

Kathmandu: Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla is on a visit to Nepal, and he met Bharat Raj Paudyal, the Foreign Secretary of Nepal. Both the diplomats concurred on strengthening bilateral cooperation. Since the last few months, relations between India and Nepal have been strained. The decisions of the Nepalese Prime Minister, in favour of China and contrary to the Indian interests, were the reason for this. But now there is a change in the Nepalese tone, and as per analysts, reasonable success has been achieved in reducing the Chinese influence on Nepal. This increases the importance of Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla’s visit to Nepal.

A few months ago, Nepalese Prime Minister published a new political map of Nepal, claiming rights over certain Indian territories as a part of Nepal. Indian territories Kalapani, Lipulekh and Limpiyadhura were shown as a part of Nepal. India intensely objected and dismissed the Nepalese claim. India also issued a clear warning that if Nepal wishes to talk to India, it will have to make efforts to create a conducive atmosphere.

Indian Foreign Secretary on Nepal visitPro-Chinese Nepalese Prime Minister KP Sharma Oil took a spate of decisions hurting the Indian interests. These included changes in the citizenship laws, opposition to the Hindi language in the parliament, number of soldiers on the India-Nepal border, increase in the number of border posts and the firing targeting Indian citizens on the Bihar border. These increased the tension further. But after the exposure of the Chinese encroachment on Nepalese land, Prime Minister Oli had to face a lot of flak. Prime Minister Oli, who had chosen to turn a blind eye towards the Chinese activities, gave first indications of efforts to improve relations with India by banning the books containing the new political map after facing criticism from the opposition parties and even the Nepalese population. Nepal also awarded Honorary General Rank to the Indian Chief of Army Staff, General Manoj Mukund Naravane.

Before this, the chief of Indian intelligence agency RAW had met the Nepalese Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli. Even during the meeting with the Indian Army Chief General MM Naravane, Prime Minister Oli expressed confidence that both the countries will resolve all the disputes through negotiations.

Against this background, Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla is on a two-day Nepal visit. India is becoming successful in reducing the Chinese influence on the policies of Nepal. The visit is being viewed from this angle. Foreign Secretary Shringla said, ‘I was to visit Nepal a long time ago. But that could not become possible because of the Coronavirus pandemic. This is my first visit to Nepal as the Foreign Secretary. The relations between the two countries are strong, and efforts are being made to strengthen them further.

Foreign Secretary Shringla met Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali and held talks. No details of the discussions have been made public. Meanwhile, three schools in Kathmandu, devastated in the 2015 earthquake, were reconstructed by India and they will be inaugurated on Friday. India has also undertaken the project to construct houses for 50,000 Gorkhas, and 40,000 houses have already been completed.

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