External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj on Friday wrapped up her two-day visit to Nepal with a range of assurances that the new government in Kathmandu will work closely with New Delhi.
Swaraj got the assurances during separate meetings with the three political stakeholders in Nepal — CPN-UML chairman and prime minister-in-waiting KP Oli, CPN(Maoist Centre) chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda”, and Madhes based leaders.
During her meetings, she communicated Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s congratulations for successfully holding three-tier elections. She also said that Modi is eager to work with the new government in Nepal.
Swaraj is the first senior Indian leader to visit Nepal after the Left alliance of CPN-UML and CPN(Maoist Centre) swept the elections. The focus of her visit was to mend fences with Oli, who tilted towards China during his last tenure as premier and even blamed India for his ouster from the post in 2016. India is also warily eyeing the proposed merger of the two communist parties.
However, Swaraj’s visit seems to have been successful.
On Friday, she met Prachanda, whose CPN (MC) emerged as second largest party in the elections. She congratulated his party’s showing in the polls and discussed steps to further deepen bilateral relations
After the meet, Prachanda said: “The Indian external affairs minister reiterated that India wished to see political stability and development in Nepal, pledging all possible support towards that end. She also congratulated the Left alliance on its majority victory in the recent federal parliament and provincial assembly elections.”
Swaraj also expressed her concern about the potential merger of the CPN-UML and CPN (MC) but said that Nepal’s development and prosperity was the primary wish of the Indian government. She also assured that India was eager to cooperate with the Left government.
In response, Prachanda said he was positive about the merger, adding that the unification process would probably be concluded only after the formation of the new government. He also said that the Left government was willing to cooperate with India in the days ahead.
The previous day, Swaraj held a one-on-one meeting with Oli which lasted over an hour. CPN-UML secretary Pradip Gywali said both sides have agreed to work together for the betterment of bilateral relations.
During their meet, Swaraj congratulated the CPN-UML for its victory in the polls and said that Nepal will get a stable government. In response, Oli said he looks forward to working closely with the Indian government, especially in areas like poverty alleviation and prosperity.
Oli also held delegation level talks with the top CPN-UML brass, in which he demonstrated his desire to mend ties with India.