RAW chief's visit helped reset Nepal-India ties, says Foreign Minister Gyawali

Published On: December 4, 2020 03:45 PM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Dec 4: Minister for Foreign Affairs Pradeep Kumar Gyawali said that the recent visit of Samant Goel, chief of India's Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), to Nepal helped bring ‘Nepal-India relations on track’.

Speaking at a meeting of the Parliamentary International Relations Committee on Friday, minister Gyawali urged the parliamentarians to not make a fuss about the visit of the RAW chief. "Many things have moved forward since this visit, and we are already seeing the results," Gyawali told the lawmakers. 

Goel was in Kathmandu for two days-- October 21 and 22. But the visit is being talked about in Kathmandu for weeks now.

Foreign Minister Gyawali also said that the RAW chief came here as an emissary of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. "Goel came here as an emissary of the Indian Prime Minister," he said. 

A section of lawmakers, including Bhim Rawal, raised questions on Prime Minister Oli's one-on-one meeting with Goel. Gyawali said that the meetings that took place during Goel's visit were transparent.  "Even the Prime Minister's press advisor issued a press statement after the visit. How can one claim that the meeting was not transparent?" he questioned. 

Recalling that then Nepal Army chief Rajendra Chettry visited India in 2015 when India imposed months-long blockade, the foreign minister said that dispatching people from military or security as emissaries to resume stalled formal dialogue between the two countries has been a practice in diplomacy for a long time. 

"Even people from business fraternity, civil society and religious background serve as emissaries to resume stalled formal dialogue between the two countries. This is nothing new," he added.

Gyawali said that Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla's recent visit was a turning point in resuming formal dialogues between the two countries. "Boundary issue was on the formal agenda and we have also mentioned it in a press statement issued after Shringla's visit," he said, adding that Nepal has made its position clear to the Indian side on boundary-related matters.

"Preparations are also being made to hold a separate foreign-secretary level meeting on boundary issues," he said without sharing specific dates for the same.

Foreign Minister Gyawali said that the visit of the Indian Foreign Secretary also paved a way to resume stalled dialogue on trade, commerce and water resources, among others. 

During the Parliamentary International Relations Committee meeting, the ruling party lawmaker Bhim Rawal said that it was diplomatically incorrect for PM Oli to meet the Indian intelligence chief at his official residence. "Prime Minister Oli's meeting with the Indian intelligence agency chief was out of diplomatic decorum. It underestimated the country's dignity and self-respect. It is against the principle of independent foreign policy conduct," Rawal said. 

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