NEW DELHI: Nepal’s new Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli was received by Union home minister Rajnath Singh and other senior Indian officials at the Indira Gandhi International airport when he arrived on a three-day state visit on Friday morning. Oli, accompanied by his wife Radhika Shakya, is heading a 54-member delegation. He attended a business lunch at the Taj Diplomatic Enclave and met members of the Nepalese community in New Delhi at the embassy before meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Opposition leader Rahul Gandhi.
The visit comes at a time when both countries are trying to revive and revitalise their ties.
In 2016, India imposed an undeclared blockade on Nepal to express its displeasure over Nepal’s new constitution, which did not take into account the aspirations of Madhesis, or people from the plains of Nepal. The Nepalese saw this as unwarranted interference in their domestic affairs.
While Indian officials downplayed differences and kept stressing the“historically deep cultural ties” between the two nations, a Nepalese journalist covering Oli’s visit said: “New Delhi must deal with the fact that Nepal is an independent nation. As a landlocked nation, we are still dependent on India for many things. But gone are the days when India could bring us to knees with blockades if they simply disapproved of something we did.”
On Saturday, the two sides will hold delegation-level talks at Hyderabad House. The two prime ministers will then remotely inaugurate developmental projects before releasing a joint statement. Oli will then call on Vice President Venkaiah Naidu and meet External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and home minister Rajnath Singh. On Sunday, he will visit a breeder seed production centre in Pantnagar, Uttarakhand, and be conferred with a honorary DSc degree by G B Pant University of Agriculture and Technology.