Naveen Srivastava appointed as new envoy to Nepal
India formally proposed Srivastava as the new ambassador to Nepal ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Nepal on May 16. Besides a meeting between Modi and his Nepalese counterpart Sher Bahadur Deuba, the two countries signed six agreements during the visit.
New Delhi: India on Tuesday announced the appointment of Naveen Srivastava, currently additional secretary in the external affairs ministry, as the next ambassador to Nepal.
Srivastava, who headed the East Asia division in the ministry, has played a key role in diplomatic and military talks with China to tackle the military standoff on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) since 2020. He is expected to take up his new assignment shortly, the ministry said in a brief statement.
India formally proposed Srivastava as the new ambassador to Nepal ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Nepal on May 16. Besides a meeting between Modi and his Nepalese counterpart Sher Bahadur Deuba, the two countries signed six agreements during the visit, including one for the 490-MW Arun-4 hydropower project.
Srivastava will succeed Vinay Kwatra, who became foreign secretary this month, as the envoy to Kathmandu.
The East Asia division deals with China, Japan, North Korea, South Korea and Mongolia, and Srivastava is seen as an experienced China hand. This experience is expected to come in handy for his stint in Kathmandu in view of China’s stepped up efforts to increase its influence in Nepal’s politics and economy.
Besides leading the Indian side at meetings of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination (WMCC) on border affairs, Srivastava participated in meetings of Indian and Chinese military commanders to address the standoff on the LAC. He also served as consul general in Shanghai.
Deuba made a three-day visit to India last month, during which he held talks with Modi. The Indian leader’s return visit to Nepal was the first during his second term, and also the first since travel was disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic. Modi visited Nepal four times during his first term.
India and Nepal are currently repairing ties that were hit by several controversies during the term of former Nepalese prime minister KP Sharma Oli, who was removed from his post in a vote of no confidence last year. Oli’s government published a new political map of Nepal in 2020 that included the Indian territories of Limpiyadhura, Lipulekh and Kalapani, triggering a row that lasted several months.