Govt gears up preparations for Oli’s India visit

Published On: March 24, 2018 06:57 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, March 24: The government has expedited homework to finalize agenda to be discussed during Prime Minister KP Oli’s official visit to India scheduled for the first week of April. 
Sources said Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers has directed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) to coordinate with other line ministries to prepare the agenda for the prime minsiter’s visit to India. MoFA has asked all the ministries to submit the potential agenda for discussions with India.

Although the date of the visit of Prime Minister Oli has yet to be officially announced by any of the sides, officials involved in the visit preparations said tentative date for the visit has now been set for April 6-8. “The date shall be finalized for mutual convenience. We are currently working on it,” said Rajan Bhattarai, a close aide to the prime minister.

Minister for Industry Matrika Yadav, who recently paid an official visit to India, had laid the groundwork for the prime minister’s visit to New Delhi. Minister Yadav had held separate meetings with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.

There has been a tradition after 1990 of all Nepali prime minister to make India their first port of call after assuming office. Sources said Prime Minister Oli has already held meetings with coalition partner, CPN (Maoist Center) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal to discuss the agenda for the visit.

Prime Minister Oli has standing invitation extended by Minister Swaraj when she visited Kathmandu to congratulate Oli for the overwhelming victory received by his party in the recently held parliamentary and provincial assembly polls. Modi himself called him over telephone thrice after the UML emerged as the largest party in the 2017 elections.

The relations between Prime Minister Oli and India has not been smooth especially after New Delhi imposed economic blockade on Nepal when Oli was prime minister back in 2015. Both Oli and the Indian side have begun a rapprochement after the recent election, burying their past differences.

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