Foreign secretary Ranjan Mathai landed in Kathmandu on Saturday afternoon to prepare groundwork for finance minister Pranab Mukherjee's visit on Sunday.
Mukherjee and his Nepali counterpart Barsha Man Pun will sign the fresh Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement between both countries during the former’s daylong visit.
"My visit is to prepare for the finance minister’s visit who will sign the DTAA that will replace the old agreement signed in 1987," Mathai told newspersons on arrival at the Tribhuwan International Airport.
The foreign secretary will meet Nepal’s chief secretary Madhav Ghimire to review progress in implementation of the agenda agreed upon during Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai’s India visit in October.
"India has abiding interest in the peace, stability and prosperity of Nepal and this motivates our wish to expand cooperation between our two nations," stated Mathai.
The foreign secretary’s 'sudden' Kathmandu trip has been linked in some circles to Nepal’s recent vote against Indian candidate A Gopinathan for a seat in the United Nations Joint Inspection Unit.
Despite India’s request to vote for Gopinathan, Nepal voted for the Chinese candidate Zhang Yan. Although Gopinathan won comprehensively, India is unhappy with Nepal’s snub.
Nepal’s foreign minister Narayan Kaji Shrestha and foreign secretary Durga Prasad Bhattarai are on a trip to China at present to invite Premier Wen Jiabao for a Nepal visit next month.
Mathai is likely to take up the issue of the UN vote during his meeting with chief secretary Ghimire. Indian Embassy officials have however ruled out possibility of that topic cropping up during deliberations.