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Opinion

Non-Chinese prefer Indian vaccine first, Nepal to India before minister’s visit

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Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali will land in New Delhi on January 14 to attend the sixth meeting of the Nepal-India Joint Commission with Foreign Minister S Jaishankar, which will begin the next day, people familiar with the said. The issue.

Officials in Kathmandu and New Delhi are putting the final touches on the agreements, including one on the health sector, which can be finalized during the trip and which is highly symbolic due to its timing.

Gyawali’s visit comes in the context of a shift in Nepal’s politics exacerbated by Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli when he dissolved parliament last month. New national elections have been scheduled for April 30 and May 10.

Later, Prime Minister Oli told people in a televised speech that his rivals within the ruling Communist Party of Nepal (PNC) had paralyzed decision-making, leaving him with no other choice.

It was a reference to the ongoing power dispute with Pushpa Kamal Dahal, also known as Prachanda, the former prime minister who was also the party’s co-chairman and had played a leading role alongside another prime minister, Madhav Nepal, in forcing out. of Prime Minister Oli. .

India’s decision to go ahead with Gyawali’s visit, which was initially scheduled for last month, is seen as demonstrating India’s explicit support for the Nepalese people and the ruling Oli government, an observer from Nepal said of the visit that it is considered high on the political quotient.

During his visit, Gyawali is expected to obtain a clear commitment from New Delhi to supply more than 12 million doses of the coronavirus vaccines produced in India. Nepal has offers from China to supply its version of the Sinovac vaccine. However, during discussions with Indian officials, Nepalese officials said that the Oli government preferred to obtain its vaccine supplies from New Delhi.

Nepal’s ambassador to India, Nilamber Acharya, has already held several rounds of meetings with Indian vaccine manufacturers and government officials. His last meeting was on Tuesday with Dr. V Krishna Mohan, CEO of Bharat Biotech which is producing the locally developed Covid 19 vaccine.

China, which has invested millions of dollars in Nepal in recent years in the form of aid and investment in infrastructure, appears to have exhausted its influence with Prime Minister Oli in recent months after he tried to pressure him to avoid splitting the communist party. ruler at all costs. . Lately it is seen that Beijing is leaning in support of the rival faction of the communist party led by Prachanda and Madhav Nepal.

India, by contrast, has already stressed that it has taken a hands-off approach to political developments in Nepal, calling Prime Minister Oli’s decision to dissolve the 275-member House of Representatives an internal matter.

Pradeep Gyawali’s discussions with Jaishankar are expected to address the border dispute that had soured relations between the two neighbors when Kathmandu issued a new political map.

This visit will re-establish ties, an Indian official said, emphasizing that the two countries share a unique relationship of centuries-old civilizational ties based on shared geography, history, culture, language and religion.

India is also seeking to revive Nepal’s religious and cultural heritage given the civilizational ties between the two countries and could propose aid to promote infrastructure development around sites that have potential from this perspective.

It was a point that was underlined by Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he last visited Nepal in 2018, starting the visit from Janakpur and starting the Ramayana Circuit marking a bus route between Janakpur and Ayodhya. Prime Minister Modi had then announced a 100 crore rupee package to develop the holy city of Janakpur.

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