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Utpal Parashar , Hindustan Times
Kathmandu, February 23, 2014
India is usually the first port of call for prime ministers of Nepal. But newly- elected PM Sushil Koirala will make his first foreign visit to Myanmar instead of the southern neighbour.

The 74-year-old will lead the Nepali delegation to the third Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation  summit to be held at Nay Pyi Taw from March 1 to 4.

"The dates for the visit have not been finalised yet. But the Myanmar trip will be the PM's first foreign trip after assuming office," Koirala's foreign relations advisor Dinesh Bhattarai told HT.

The Nepali PM is slated to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina on the sidelines of the summit. Both Singh and Koirala have already extended invitations to each other to visit their respective countries."There have been invitations from both sides for bilateral visits. But nothing has been decided yet," Bhattarai added.

Koirala's predecessors Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda and Baburam Bhattarai had bucked the trend of visiting New Delhi first. In 2008, the Maoist chairman chose to visit Beijing first to attend closing ceremony of Beijing Olympics and his senior party colleague Bhattarai made his first trip to New York in 2011 to take part in the UN General Assembly.