Wrapping up a two-day Nepal visit, Indian Foreign Secretary returns home

Kathmandu / Nov 27: Wrapping up his two-day official visit to Nepal, Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla returned to New Delhi on Friday afternoon.

Before concluding his trip, Shringla inaugurated a monastery in Manang district, which borders Tibetan Autonomous Region of China. The monastery was rebuilt with the Indian assistance. He also reached Gorkha district today to inaugurate three schools which were rebuilt with Indian assistance.

On Thursday, the top Indian diplomat called on President Bidya Devi Bhandari, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali. In his meeting with the foreign minister, Shringla handed over 2000 vials of Remdesivir injection for treatment of COVID-19 patients. On the occasion, the Indian Foreign Secretary conveyed an invitation from External Affairs Minister of India S Jaishankar to visit India for the next Joint Commission Meeting. Both the sides are planning to hold the Joint Commission Meeting in late December.

Shringla held delegation-level talks with his counterpart Bharat Raj Paudyal in Kathmandu on Thursday afternoon. During the meeting, they reviewed various aspects of Nepal-India relations covering trade, transit, connectivity, infrastructure, energy, agriculture, investment, culture, people to people relations, among others, according to a press release issued by Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“They discussed ways to strengthen the strong cultural and civilizational bonds that exist between the two countries and further build on the solid foundation of the multifaceted friendly relations for the benefit of the two countries and peoples. The two sides also reviewed with satisfaction the progress made with regard to the bilateral cooperation projects, including the key connectivity projects and post-earthquake reconstruction work,” read the press release.

Without specifically mentioning about India’s border encroachment upon Nepali territories—Kalapani, Lipu Lekh and Susta—the ministry said that the two sides discussed the boundary matters and exchanged views on completing the boundary work in the remaining segments.

According to Foreign Minister Gyawali, the Nepali side told the Indian side that Nepal government wants to resolve existing border problems through peaceful dialogue. Nepal and India engaged in border row after Indian unveiled a political map in November last year incorporating Nepali territories Kalapani and Limpiyadhura within Indian borders. Likewise, the border row further escalated in May this year after India unilaterally inaugurated a strategic road to Tibetan Autonomous Region of China via Lipu Lekh, a sovereign Nepali territory. Despite Nepal’s request, New Delhi denied holding talks on boundary issues. With the visit of Indian Foreign Secretary, the two sides are expected to hold talks at the bureaucratic and technical level in a bid to seek solution on boundary issues.

During the foreign secretary-level talks, the two sides shared their experiences on the efforts made to fight against Covid-19 pandemic.

“They discussed matters related to cooperation in the context of the progress made by India towards the development of Covid-19 vaccines. The Foreign Secretary of Nepal expressed appreciation to the Government of India for the support of Covid-19 related medical supplies and equipment to Nepal,” read the press release issued by MoFA.

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