The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) on Thursday proposed August 17-19 for Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba’s visit to India.
MoFA’s India Division has communicated the proposed dates for PM Deuba’s visit to the Embassy of India in Kathmandu for New Delhi’s consideration and approval, according to highly placed government sources.
Deuba became the prime minister, for the fourth time, on June 7, and there were talks about his visit to the southern neighbour after the second phase of local elections which were held on June 28.
A formal announcement of the visit will be made after the government gets the response from the India, said a top government official, adding that the proposal was made after consultations with the Indian side.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a telephone call to Deuba on his election as the prime minister on June 7 had extended an invitation for a visit to India.
In the last one month, several rounds of discussions at different levels regarding PM Deuba’s India visit have taken place.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Krishna Bahadur Mahara’s trip to New Delhi earlier this month also focused on laying the ground for PM Deuba’s visit to India.
Earlier officials from both sides were trying to fix PM Deuba’s India visit later this month.
But in view of Indian leaders’ busy schedule, as India will be electing a new president, and India’s internal reasons, the visit in July-end did not look feasible, said the sources, adding that the August 17-19 dates for the visit have been proposed keeping also in view the August 15 celebrations and the engagements of Indian leadership in the run-up to India’s Independence Day.
Indian Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj is set to visit Kathmandu on August 10 to participate in BIMSTEC foreign affairs ministers’ meeting slated for August 10-11, and her visit is also expected to set the tone for PM Deuba’s visit to India.
Besides busy schedule of Indian leaders, PM Deuba at home also has several issues to deal with, so the visit dates have been pushed as far as mid-August, said the sources. Even more than a month after assuming office, PM Deuba is yet to expand the Cabinet, while issues like constitution amendment, third phase of local polls and two more rounds of elections are on the table.
If the prime minister embarks on a visit to the southern neighbor during the proposed dates, he will by then have a Cabinet in full shape, which would mean a strong political mandate to deal with New Delhi on various issues, if need be, said an official.