This is the first state visit of the President of Nepal after assuming office of the President in October 2015.
New Delhi: At a time when Nepal is conducting a joint military drill with China, India is pulling out all stops to welcome Nepalese President Bidya Devi Bhandari, who will be visiting India on a five-day visit from Monday. The Nepalese President will also visit the Dwarka and Somnath Temples in Gujarat and the Jagannath Temple in Puri. This is her first state visit abroad after assuming the office in October 2015. She is visiting at the invitation of President Pranab Mukherjee.
“A high-level delegation comprising minister, MPs and senior officials will be accompanying her. Her visit will reflect the priority that India attaches to further strengthening the age-old and unique partnership with Nepal, shared cultural and historical linkages and strong people-and-people relationship,” joint secretary (north) in the ministry of external affairs (MEA) Sudhakar Dalela said on Sunday.
She will meet President Mukherjee, vice-president Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, home minister Rajnath Singh, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and other leaders, he said at an MEA briefing.
“The President will host a banquet in her honour on April 18. She will also visit Gujarat and Odisha and pay obeisance at temples of Dwarka, Somnath and Puri,” Mr Dalela said.
Ms Bhandari was scheduled to visit India in May last year, but it was cancelled after the then cabinet in Nepal did not endorse the programme citing lack of preparations on the part of the government, according to news agency reports. The bilateral ties had faced turbulence last year due to the Madhesi agitation and subsequent blockade by the Madhesi demonstrators which halted the supply of essential goods to landlocked Nepal from India.
The MEA had recently said, “Bidya Devi Bhandari, President of Nepal will be visiting India on a state visit from April 17-21, 2017, at the invitation of President of India Mr. Pranab Mukherjee.
This is the first state visit of the President of Nepal after assuming office of the President in October 2015. The upcoming visit reflects the priority that both India and Nepal attach to further strengthening of their age-old, unique, wide-ranging partnership, underpinned by shared historical and cultural linkages and strong people-to-people connections.’
The MEA had added, “During the visit, the President of Nepal will meet with the President of India, vice-president and the Prime Minister. The external affairs minister and other ministers will call on the President of Nepal. Apart from official engagements in New Delhi, the President of Nepal will be visiting Gujarat and Odisha. The upcoming visit is in keeping with the tradition of regular high-level exchanges between the two countries, and will further deepen the cordial and cooperative ties that exist between India and Nepal.”