Nepal foreign minister on India trip, to meet Jaishankar today

The visit was seen as a reciprocal gesture following Oli’s August 15 outreach via a phone call to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Nepal’s Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali will meet External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Friday for their first face-to-face meeting since the border row led to a slide in ties.

Gyawali, who arrived in New Delhi Thursday afternoon, will co-chair the India-Nepal Joint Commission meeting along with Jaishankar on Friday. This comes against the backdrop of a political crisis in Nepal, where Nepal PM K P Sharma Oli has dissolved the Parliament and is now heading a caretaker government.

“The Joint Commission is an important mechanism that provides the opportunity of reviewing at a high level the entire gamut of our bilateral partnership and providing political guidance to further enhance the special and unique ties that we enjoy. We look forward to constructive discussions on the numerous sectors that encompass our bilateral agenda,” Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said.

Bid to reset ties

On whether there will be talks on the boundary issue, the MEA spokesperson said, “Our position on the boundary issue is well known. Let me say that the JCM and boundary talks are separate mechanisms.”

The Nepal Foreign Minister’s visit comes about a month and a half after the first high-level diplomatic visit to Nepal in November when Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla went to Kathmandu and met the country’s leaders, including Prime Minister Oli and Gyawali, among others.

Sources said that the conversations will pick up the threads from the conversations between Foreign Secretary Shringla’s discussions with PM Oli — the two had a one-on-one meeting, apart from the delegation level talks — which had included a “candid review of the state of the bilateral relationship”, and the potential for bringing India and Nepal closer.

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