Indian Embassy described Monday’s discussion as ‘productive’ and covering ‘various sectors, including economic and development cooperation’

Foreign Secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra on February 13 met Nepal’s new Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ in Kathmandu. The meeting marked the first high-level interaction between India and Nepal since the new Left-dominated government took charge in that country on December 26, 2022.

The Indian Embassy in Kathmandu described Monday’s discussion as “productive” and covering “various sectors, including economic and development cooperation”. Mr. Kwatra also met Nepal President Bidhya Devi Bhandari at her official residence, Sheetal Niwas. The Indian mission said he conveyed “greetings on behalf of Hon’ble President of India Smt. Droupadi Murmu”.

Mr. Kwatra served as India’s Ambassador to Nepal before his appointment as the Foreign Secretary in April 2022. He was received at the Tribhuvan International Airport by India’s incumbent Ambassador to Nepal, Naveen Srivastava, and proceeded to meet Nepal’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bimala Rai Paudyal. While the Indian side has maintained silence on the agenda of this “standalone” visit by Mr. Kwatra, it’s understood that his interactions in Kathmandu are aimed at ensuring high-level exchanges between the two sides.

“Various aspects of Nepal-India relations including the power sector, cooperation, trade, transit, education, culture, healthcare and connectivity infrastructure were discussed during the meeting,” Nepal’s Foreign Ministry said after the interaction between Mr. Kwatra and Dr. Paudyal. Mr. Kwatra’s visit came at a time of growing instability within Mr. Prachanda’s month-and-half-old government.

Mr. Prachanda had declared February 13 as a national holiday to mark the start of Maoist rebellion against Nepal’s erstwhile monarchy. This move has been strongly opposed by certain members of the ruling coalition since there’s no consensus in the country yet on that phase of violence, which left thousands dead and many wounded.

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