Spokesperson for the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP), Narayan Kaji Shrestha. (File photo: Republica)
KATHMANDU, Oct 25: Spokesperson for the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP), Narayan Kaji Shrestha has strongly opposed a recent meeting between Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and Samant Kumar Goel, chief of the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), the external intelligence agency of India.
Shrestha, who is also a former foreign minister, said that PM Oli's meeting with Goel is detrimental to the country's independence, sovereignty and national interests.
"Such a meeting between the Prime Minister and the RAW chief in a clandestine manner is detrimental to our national interests. The meeting is totally undiplomatic," he wrote on Facebook on Sunday.
Shrestha claimed this was the first ever incident in Nepal's political and diplomatic history in which a prime minister had met with an official of the foreign intelligence agency without having a scheduled agenda, and that looked like the formal talks between two counterparts.
However, Prime Minister’s press advisor, Surya Thapa, downplayed the meeting. Issuing a press note, Thapa said Goel had a “courtesy meeting” with Oli. He said the two sides had underlined smooth Nepal-India relations, resolving pending problems through talks, and continuation of mutual cooperation.
On Thursday, Prime Minister Oli came under fresh attack, including from three former Prime Ministers and his own party leaders, for meeting RAW chief Goel without keeping them in the loop. They have called the meeting “improper and objectionable”.
Former prime minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, who is also the executive chairman of the ruling NCP, and former prime ministers Jhalanath Khanal and Madhav Kumar Nepal, and former Deputy Prime Minister Bhim Bahadur Rawal took to social media to criticize Oli.
The leaders also asked Oli to provide the details of his meeting with the RAW chief. The Goel-led nine member team had flown to Kathmandu on a special flight.