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Foreign Secretary Shringla will arrive in Nepal for inaugural visit on Thursday


Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla will arrive in Kathmandu on Thursday for his first official visit to Nepal, during which he will hold talks with his Nepalese counterpart and other top leaders and discuss broad areas of bilateral cooperation.

Shringla is visiting Nepal at the invitation of Foreign Secretary Bharat Raj Paudyal, amid tension in bilateral relations following a bitter border dispute between the two countries.

This will be a continuation of the regular exchange of high-level visits between the two friendly neighbors, the Nepalese Foreign Ministry said in a statement this week.

“During the visit, Shringla will hold a bilateral meeting with his Nepalese counterpart and discuss broad areas of cooperation between Nepal and India,” he said.

“India’s foreign secretary will also call in high-level dignitaries from Nepal,” the statement said, without identifying them.

It will also deliver Covid-19 related support to the Nepalese government before concluding its two-day visit on Friday.

Earlier this month, the Chief of the Indian Army, General MM Naravane, traveled to Nepal on a three-day visit during which he held talks with top leaders of Nepal and discussed bilateral relations.

During the visit, he called Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, who is also the Minister of Defense of Nepal. Oli told him that the problems between Nepal and India would be resolved through dialogue.

General Naravane’s three-day visit to Nepal was primarily aimed at reestablishing bilateral ties that came under severe strain after a bitter border dispute between the two countries.

Ties between the two countries were strained after Defense Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated a strategically crucial 80-kilometer-long highway connecting the Lipulekh pass to Dharchula in Uttarakhand on May 8.

Nepal protested the opening of the road, claiming that it passed through their territory.

Days later, Nepal presented the new map showing Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura as its territories.

After Nepal published the map, India reacted strongly, calling it a “unilateral act” and warning Kathmandu that such an “artificial expansion” of land claims would not be acceptable to it.

In its reaction, after the lower house of the Nepalese parliament passed the bill, India also called the “artificial expansion” of the neighboring country’s land claims unsustainable.

India had said that Nepal’s action violates an understanding reached between the two countries to resolve border issues through talks. Meanwhile, Chinese Defense Minister General Wei Fenghe is scheduled to visit Nepal shortly after Shringla returns home, according to Foreign Ministry sources here.

Wei is likely to arrive here on Sunday on a four-day official visit, although the date of the trip has yet to be officially announced.

Original source