Nepal President arrives on India visit

Nepal President Bhandari

New Delhi, April 17 : Nepal President Bidhya Devi Bhandari arrived here on Monday on a five-day visit to India at the invitation of her Indian counterpart Pranab Mukherjee.

This is Bhandari’s first foreign tour after assuming office in October 2015.

She is accompanied by a 33-member delegation that includes Foreign Minister Prakash Sharan Mahat and Peace and Reconstruction Minister Sita Devi Yadav, five women MPs and senior officials.

Bhandari will be given a ceremonial reception and accorded a guard of honour at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on Tuesday.

Also on Tuesday, she will pay homage to Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat and visit the Yamuna Biodiversity Park.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, External Affairs Minister Susham Swaraj, Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will call on the visiting dignitary.

Vice President Hamid Ansari will also call on Bhandari at the Rashtrapati Bhavan where she will stay. She will call on President Mukherjee and attend a banquet hosted by him.

“Neighbourhood first,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Gopal Baglay tweeted, announcing the President’s arrival.

On Sunday, Sudhakar Dalela, Joint Secretary (India and Bhutan) in the Ministry of External Affairs, said India’s ties with Nepal were people-centric and focused on improving connectivity between the neighbours besides improving energy infrastructure.

The visit reflects “the priority India attaches to further strengthening the age-old unique partnership with Nepal and our shared historical and cultural linkages and strong people-to-people connection”, he said.

Though wide-ranging discussions are expected to be held on bilateral issues, no agreement is expected to be signed.

Bhandari will visit Gujarat and Odisha on Wednesday and Thursday before leaving for Kathmandu on Friday.


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