Tim Watts, Australia’s assistant foreign minister, arrived in Nepal on May 16 on a two-day trip.

A ceremony planned at Patan Museum will transfer a wooden tunala (temple strut) from Ratneshwar Temple in Sulima Square to the local community as the highlight of Mr. Watts’ visit. According to a press statement published by the Australian Embassy in Kathmandu this morning, the Art Gallery of New South Wales has returned this significant relic to Nepal. Director Dr. Michael Brand will represent the institution during the handover.

Assistant Minister Watts will meet with both Foreign Minister Narayan Prakash Saud and Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal during the visit. He will express how grateful Australia is for Nepal’s close collaboration throughout the course of their 63-year diplomatic relationship and their strong people-to-people ties.

The announcement also states that the Nepali community, which presently numbers around 130,000 people, is Australia’s fastest-growing immigrant group.

The Australian Assistant Minister will also go to BioVac Nepal, which is located in Banepa and has become a cutting-edge facility for the manufacturing of animal vaccines and diagnostic tests thanks to Australian technology transfer and academic and scientific collaboration. The Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology (TIO) will be his next stop. The Fred Hollows Foundation and the Australian Government have sponsored TIO’s efforts to offer eye care services in Nepal for the last 30 years, as well as the production of intraocular lenses for both domestic and international distribution.

The Himalayan Rescue Association will get a Portable Altitude Chamber produced in Australia from Watts for use in the Pheriche Medical Outpost and Everest ER Clinic at Everest Base Camp.

It should be mentioned that Assistant Minister Watts’ trip to Nepal is a part of a four-nation itinerary that also includes bilateral trips to Bhutan and India and his attendance at the sixth Indian Ocean Conference in Bangladesh.

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