Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla will visit Nepal from November 26-27 for the first time after assuming office, months after Nepal considered updating the country’s new map incorporating Indian territories. Sources say that India’s position is well stated on this issue. India is not accepting the Nepal map and termed it as a “cartographic assertion”. It is unlikely that this issue will be raised during the visit. Separate parleys on boundary issues may take place later. This will be a “to know” courtesy visit, according to sources.
Despite strong recent statements by the Nepali leadership blaming India for the spike in the COVID-19 cases and a constitutional amendment to the map, sources here feel that the relationship between the two countries is on the correct path and a lot is happening. Whether it is people-centric connectivity projects, support to counter COVID, repatriation of Nepali citizens, improvement in transit trade infrastructure, both countries share good relations, said a source familiar with the developments.
Sources told ANI, “Nepal Prime Minister has reached out. The Indian Army chief was invited and he was very well received. The Prime Ministers of both countries have met four times. The joint commission is working. There is heavy engagement as 40 bilateral mechanisms between the two countries are working. India will be focussing to increase people-oriented projects, especially the connectivity, rail, land, air, transit trade, and inland waterways. New Delhi is also keen to increase scholarship for Nepalese students studying in India.”
India has extended huge support to Nepal in supplying medicines and COVID protection goods and will also be looking forward to extending support in supplying vaccines. According to an official statement issued by the Ministry of External Affairs, “The visit is in keeping with the tradition of regular high-level exchanges between the two countries and the priority India attaches to its relations with Nepal.”
During the visit, Shringla will meet his counterpart and other Nepalese dignitaries to discuss the wide-ranging bilateral cooperation between the two countries, the MEA said. In recent years, bilateral cooperation between India and Nepal has strengthened, with several major infrastructures and cross-border connectivity projects completed with India’s assistance. The visit will be an opportunity to further advance our bilateral ties, it added.