President Mukherjee to pay 3-day visit to Nepal

New Delhi, Oct 27 (IANS) President Pranab Mukherjee will pay a three-day state visit to Nepal from November 2 in the first presidential visit from India to the Himalayan neighbour in 18 years.

Mukherjee is paying the visit on the invitation of his Nepali counterpart Bidhya Devi Bhandari, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said at a briefing here on Thursday.

“A high-level delegation will accompany the President. This will be the first visit of the President of India to Nepal in 18 years,” he said.

President Mukherjee’s visit to Nepal is expected to further cement bilateral ties, which saw an upswing during the India visit of new Nepali Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ last month. The talks between the two sides during Prachanda’s visit, who chose India for his first overseas tour, helped dispel the unease that had crept into the bilateral ties over the earlier few months.

During his visit, Mukherjee will hold meetings with the Nepali President, Prime Minister ‘Prachanda’ and other leaders of Nepal on a wide array of issues of mutual interest, said Swarup.

President Mukherjee will also visit the holy town of Janakpur and the lake city of Pokhara during his stay in Nepal.

The warming of India-Nepal ties comes amidst the backdrop of Chinese President Xi Jinping cancelling his maiden visit to Kathmandu, which was earlier scheduled for October. The cancellation came after Prachanda chose to visit India.

China has been reportedly miffed with Nepal going slow on implementing some of the bilateral road and rail projects inked during the tenure of previous Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli, who markedly leaned towards Beijing.