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Nepal's Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba likely to visit India early April

The visit is considered significant as there appear signs that the two countries are ready to make some course corrections in their approach to each other as bilateral cooperation suffered in the wake of the boundary row

Mar 24, 2022
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Nepal's Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba

Nepal's Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba is all set to undertake a three-day official visit to India—his first since taking office in July last year — between 1-3 April, Nepalese media reports said, citing diplomatic sources from both countries. The two neighbours are expected to sign important agreements on bilateral cooperation in various sectors, including connectivity and energy sectors. 

If confirmed, Deuba will be the first Nepali prime minister visiting India in four years—and also the first highest-level meeting since the boundary row erupted between the two neighbors two years back in 2020.   

Significantly, Deuba’s visit to New Delhi will come soon after Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s Kathmandu visit. Wang Yi will be in Nepal on a two-day official—his first since Deuba took office—soon after concluding his India visit, The Kathmandu Post reported, citing diplomatic sources. The Hindu also confirmed Deuba's visit, citing diplomatic sources in New Delhi. 

The report also said that the Nepalese leader may not physically participate in the upcoming BIMSTEC summit in Colombo, Sri Lanka due to his proposed India visit. However, it is not clear yet if Indian PM Modi would also do the same as his schedule also appears very tight in the first week of April when Israeli Prime Minister Neftali Bennett is scheduled to visit India. 

Deuba’s planned visit in January this year, when he was to attend the Vibrant Gujarat Summit,  had to be canceled due to rising cases Covid-19 cases. However, in November last year, both Modi and Deuba had met in Glasgow, Scotland on the sidelines of the UN Climate Summit.

Significantly, Deuba’s visit comes just months before Nepal's general elections. He is therefore likely to raise the Kalapani boundary issue which has become one of the issues dominating the domestic political discourse in the Himalayan country. 

The visit is considered significant as there appear signs that the two countries are ready to make some course corrections in their approach to each other as bilateral cooperation suffered in the wake of the boundary row. 

Significantly, the Deuba government also seems to be making conscious efforts in limiting Chinese influence which had grown significantly under the previous government led by former prime minister KP Sharma Oli. 

(SAM)

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