KATHMANDU, June 29: Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Krishna Bahadur Mahara is leaving for New Delhi on July 2 to lay the ground for the maiden visit of newly-elected Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba to the southern neighbor.
Although the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) has yet to officially make announcement about Mahara's visit, Mahara's aide Hari Lamichhane confirmed that preparations are currently being made for the visit. “Minister Mahara is visiting New Delhi at the official invitation of his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj,” Mahara's Public Relation and Press Coordinator Lamichhane told Republica.
While Mahara and his Indian counterpart Swaraj will review the whole gamut of bilateral relations between Nepal and India during the visit, the visit, according to officials, has another important agenda: to lay the ground for the visit of Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba to New Delhi.
It has been rather a norm than exception for all new Nepali prime minsiters to make New Delhi their first port of call before any other countries. Sources said Prime Minister Deuba has expressed his desire not to break with the long tradition.
During his three-day stay in New Delhi, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Mahara also plans to solicit Indian support for Nepal's candidacy in the United Nations Human Rights Council membership. Nepal is preparing to contest for membership of the UN body for 2018-2020 term.
Over 25 non-resident foreign envoys to Nepal are based in New Delhi. Minister Mahara is scheduled to talk to the envoys to help Nepal secure membership position in the UN's human rights body.
Former Foreign Minister Prakash Sharan Mahat had first announced Nepal's desire to be a member of the crucial UN body while addressing the 34th session of UNHCR in Geneva in March.