Indian foreign secretary Kwatra’s visit to Nepal boosts ties between the nations

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KATHMANDU: The visit of Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra to Nepal from February 13 and 14 marks a significant boost in ties between the two nations, reported Pardafas.

The significance of the visit and the positive development of the bilateral ties between the two neighbouring countries can be gauged from several factors underlying the visit.

The visit became significant as the new political dispensation in Nepal is headed by Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ after the recently concluded elections, reported Pardafas.

The fact that this visit was held on an invitation from Nepal and is seen as a precursor to Prachanda’s visit to India, who has already confirmed that his first foreign visit will be to India in the upcoming month which is an important indicator of the upward trajectory of the ties, reported Pardafas.

This is a marked difference from his earlier stance when on assuming premiership, Prachanda, considered pro-China by many, in a break from the traditional practice had chosen to make his first visit to China instead of India. This time by enunciating his first visit to India, Prachanda has made the message clear.

Moreover, Kwatra was given an audience by President Bidya Devi Bhandari, Prime Minister Prachanda and Foreign Minister Bimala Rai Paudyal.

This shows the high-level reception of India’s representative by Nepal’s government indicating the meeting of minds between the two countries to boost bilateral ties, reported Pardafas.

India is already cooperating with Nepal on several developmental projects. The project to build the Ramayana Circuit that links various sites of the two neighbouring countries is being undertaken.

The laying of the foundation stone for an Indian monastery by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his last visit was a significant episode, reported Pardafas.

The infrastructure and other collaborations are also seeing the light of day. Nepal offered India to take up the languishing West Seti hydropower project.

In the field of education, IIT Madras and Kathmandu University are to collaborate on offering a joint degree programme whereas the Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR) and Lumbini Buddhist University decided to establish a Dr Ambedkar Chair for Buddhist Studies.

India and Nepal share strong religious, cultural and socio-economic ties that go back centuries. The two countries not only share open borders but there has always been unhindered movement between peoples of the two countries who have forged relations through marriage and familial bonds.

India’s involvement in Nepal is based on its principle of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ (The World Is One Family) and the policy of ‘Neighborhood First.’

In this regard, India’s main focus has been to boost Nepal’s development through aid and grants for infrastructure development, fostering cultural linkages and improvement of human development indicators, and supporting Nepal during adversities such as the 2015 earthquake.

Against this backdrop, the recent visit by India’s Foreign Secretary to Nepal signifies the priority that India attaches to its relationship with Nepal. (ANI)

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