HindustanTimes Sun,21 Sep 2014

No ministers will accompany Modi on Nepal visit

Utpal Parashar, Hindustan Times  Kathmandu, August 01, 2014
First Published: 20:38 IST(1/8/2014) | Last Updated: 20:41 IST(1/8/2014)

Dismissing media reports Nepal’s foreign minister Mahendra Bahadur Pandey clarified on Friday that no minister would accompany Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his Nepal trip.

“No minister is coming with Modi. National Security Advisor Ajit Doval will be the second highest in protocol after the Indian prime minister,” he told media persons.

Besides Modi and Doval there would be nine-member team of secretaries and joint secretaries from various ministries who will sit for talks with their Nepali counterparts during the visit.

A section of media had reported that as many as seven ministers from the NDA government including External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj would accompany Modi on his two-day trip to Nepal beginning Sunday.

“We are very confident that the power trade agreement between both countries will be signed during this visit. But first our cabinet has to approve its details,” said Pandey.

He termed strengthening of bilateral ties and increased levels of trust between both neighbours are Nepal’s biggest expectations from the trip----the first bilateral visit by an Indian prime minister to Nepal in 17 years.

As there were many unverified reports on details of the trip, Pandey made official Modi’s itinerary during the trip

“Modi will be received at the airport by Prime Minister Sushil Koirala. Nepali Army will give him a guard of honour and a 19 gun salute once he lands,” he said.

Modi will address Nepal’s parliament later that day. Meetings with President Ram Baran Yadav, counterpart Koirala, leaders of political parties and business delegations will take place on both days.

The Indian prime minister will also conduct special prayers at Pashupatinath Temple, the most popular Shiva shrine in Nepal, on Monday morning.

“Modi also wanted to visit Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha and Janakpur, the mythical birthplace of Goddess Sita. But they won’t happen during this trip,” said Pandey.

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