Sushma Swaraj to visit Nepal July 25-27

By Anil Giri,

Kathmandu : Indian Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj will be arriving in Kathmandu July 25 on a three-day official visit, Nepal’s external affairs ministry announced Wednesday.

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This is in line with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s strategy of reaching out to South Asian neighbours and building a strengthened relationship with them after a new political dispensation came in following the BJP’s victory in the Indian general elections.

“At the invitation of (Nepal’s) Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mahendra Bahadur Pandey, the External Affairs Minister of India, Sushma Swaraj, will visit Nepal from July 25 to 27, 2014,” said a statement issued by the ministry here.

The visit will also set the tone for the Modi’s visit to Nepal probably in the first half of August.

This will be Sushma Swaraj’s first official visit to Nepal as the external affairs minister of India. She will lead the Indian delegation in the 3rd Nepal-India Joint Commission meeting to be held July 26-27.

Established at the foreign ministers’ level in 1987, the joint commission is a bilateral mechanism to oversee the entire gamut of Nepal-India relations and provide directives on measures to further strengthen these relations.

Top diplomatic sources told IANS that the entire gamut of bilateral relations like water resources, energy cooperation, trade and transit, economic cooperation, boundary and border management and political and security issues have been identified as macro agendas for the joint commission.

The two foreign ministers will sit for the meeting of the joint commission on both the days in Kathmandu.

The joint commission is the apex body between Nepal and India that reviews, assesses and gives necessary directions to both sides to speed up the projects and other issues that will be discussed at the forum.

At a time when Nepal is proceeding towards the completion of the peace process and drafting a new constitution, Sushma Swaraj’s visit will also give India’s new leadership an opportunity to understand the situation here.

India is fully backing Nepal’s peace and constitution drafting process that started in 2006.

During her visit, Sushma Swaraj will call on Nepal President Ram Baran Yadav, Prime Minister Sushil Koirala, and Constituent Assembly chairman Subash Chandra Nemwang besides other political leaders, including Pushpa Kamal Dahal, leader of the United Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), the main opposition party in the legislative parliament.

(Anil Giri can be contacted at [email protected])