New Delhi, January 15
Newly-elected Nepal Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda' will make New Delhi the first overseas port of call. Prachanda will thus try to avoid the flutter he had caused in the South Block when he travelled to Beijing after becoming Prime Minister for the first time in 2008.
Dahal’s Delhi visit is likely to take place next month after Foreign Minister S Jaishankar or Foreign Secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra visits Kathmandu to extend a formal invitation as well as prepare the groundwork for agreements that might be signed.
In 2008, after becoming PM, Dahal had travelled to Beijing to attend the Olympics inaugural ceremony. He later tried to make amends on return by stating that his first official visit would still be to India. But on becoming Prime Minister for the second time in 2016, his first visit overseas, official or otherwise, was to India.
Even otherwise, Dahal keeps in close touch with Delhi. In July last, during his India visit at the invitation of BJP President JP Nadda, he had also met National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and External Affairs Minister of India S Jaishankar.
Nepal media has reported that the view in Kathmandu is to schedule Dahal’s visit after a new Nepal President is elected in February after the term of President Bidya Devi Bhandari expires in March-end. According to the Nepal Constitution, the Presidential election should be held a month before the incumbent’s term expires.
The prospects of a Prime Ministerial visit from Nepal will also set in motion meetings of respective line Ministries including power, water resources, agriculture and railway.
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