After Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba came to power, Foreign Affairs Department Chief of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of India Dr Vijay Chauthaiwale is in Nepal is for a four-day visit at the invitation of the ruling Nepali Congress party.
Dr Chauthiwale arrived in the capital on Sunday and met with the prime minister on the same day. On Monday, he paid courtesy calls on CPN-UML chairperson KP Sharma Oli, CPN (Maoist Centre) chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Mahanta Thakur, chairperson of the proposed Democratic Socialist Party.
Dr Chauthiwale is in Nepal with the aim of expanding BJP and India’s ties with Nepal’s new government at a time when the diplomatic relation between New Delhi and Kathmandu is strained.
As a large country with close ties to Nepal, foreign experts say that India should take the initiative to improve relations between the two countries and activate formal dialogue mechanisms.
Taking to Twitter, Dr Chauthaiwale wrote, “In last 24 hours, I met four senior most leaders of Nepal, Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, Oli, Prachanda and Thakur representing diverse ideological and political spectrum. Each of them appreciated Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s commitment to strong relation between India and Nepal.”
Last month, a Nepali national fell off the tuin (an improvised manual ropeway) while crossing the Mahakali River when the cable was allegedly cut by the Indian security forces SSB. His body has not yet been found, while his family conducted a symbolic funeral for him.
The government of Nepal has not yet expressed its official stance on the incident. The twice-extended term of the investigation committee – formed by the government to prove the incident — headed by Home Ministry Joint Secretary Janardan Gautam was supposed to submit its report within 10 days i.e today.
However, stating that they have yet to reach a conclusion, Joint Secretary Gautam said, “Two committee members are unable to work due to unforeseen circumstances. It is not clear whether our report will be ready by today or not.”
Dinesh Bhattarai, former foreign affairs adviser to Deuba, said, “Though we have a special relationship with the southern neighbor, the Indian side refused to cooperate when it came to probing the Darchula incident with the help of drones. Even though we are such a close country, I do not understand why there is such a crisis of confidence.”
Home Minister Bal Krishna Khand had said that the government had formed a committee to investigate the Darchula incident and its report would be implemented in a transparent manner.