Indian PM to arrive in Nepal ‘very soon’

KATHMANDU: Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will be arriving in Nepal ‘very soon’, several sources confirmed today.
Although the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Indian Embassy in Kathmandu have kept mum, the visit — of two to three days — is most likely in late March or early April. Both the countries have even postponed a meeting of joint commission of their foreign ministers slated in Kathmandu for March first week so as to ensure and make Indian Prime Minister Singh’s visit a success at an early date, added sources. “We are in a rush for the preparation of the visit,” said a senior government official. Another source told THT that the only possible threat to the possible visit is whether the incumbent government will be in place or not till then.

In a brief conversation with this daily, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Narayan Kaji Shrestha said the Indian prime minister’s visit was very much on cards as per an invitation extended during Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai’s visit to India and that he wished to make it happen at the earliest date. During Deputy PM and Home Minister Bijaya Kumar Gachhadar’s visit to New Delhi in January, Singh had reiterated his desire to visit Nepal ‘soon’.

Earlier Indian Ambassador to Nepal Jayant Prasad had told journalists that Indian Prime Minister Singh would visit Nepal at an early but convenient date and both the governments were doing the groundwork to make the visit successful.

If Singh arrives in Kathmandu anytime now, he will be the first Indian prime minister to pay an official visit to Nepal since IK Gujral came here in 1997. Atal Bihari Vajpayee though was in Nepal in January 2002, it was not an official visit as he was here to take part in the 11th SAARC summit.

Sources said DPM Shrestha, is likely to embark on a New Delhi trip soon to lay foundation for the visit of the Indian prime minister. However, his trip to Delhi will depend on his health, as he is currently recovering after a surgery.sourceTHT

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