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India wants stable, democratic Nepal, says Sushma Swaraj

Swaraj also met President Bidhya Devi Bhandari and Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba.

india Updated: Feb 02, 2018 15:38 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Kathmandu
Sushma Swaraj,Prachanda,Pushpa Kamal Dahal
External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj with CPN (Maoist Centre) chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda”.(Courtesy: Indian embassy, Kathmandu)

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Friday congratulated Nepal on the successful conclusion of parliamentary and provincial elections, adding that India wants its neighbour to be stable, democratic and prosperous.

Swaraj, on the final day of her two-day visit of Nepal, made the remarks during talks in Kathmandu with Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda”, whose CPN (Maoist Centre) emerged as second largest party in the elections. The CPN (MC) has formed a Left alliance with KP Oli’s CPN-UML — the largest party in the House.

According to external affairs ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar, Swaraj congratulated Prachanda’s party’s showing in the polls and discussed steps to further deepen bilateral relations

“I told Swaraj that we want political stability and development for which we need cooperation from the neighbours. Swaraj assured that India will extend full cooperation to Nepal in her efforts towards attaining political stability and development,” PTI quoted Prachanda as saying.

After her meeting with Prachanda, Swaraj also met President Bidhya Devi Bhandari and Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba.

External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj with Nepal Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba ( Courtesy: Indian embassy, Kathmandu )

On Thursday, Swaraj held back-to-back meetings with CPN-UML chairman KP Sharma Oli and the top leadership of the Communist party as part of efforts to engage with the Leftist alliance that is set to form Nepal’s next government.

Kumar had tweeted that Swaraj’s first engagement with Oli focused on “wide ranging discussions on ways to take the special relations between India and Nepal forward”.

She also met leaders of the Rastriya Janata Party Nepal, who belong to the Madhes constituency, telling them that matters related to the amendment of the Constitution were “an internal matter of Nepal”.

Swaraj is the first senior Indian leader to visit Nepal after the alliance — which has strong connections to China — swept the elections.

The focus of her visit was to mend fences with Oli, who tilted towards China during his last tenure as premier and even blamed India for his ouster from the post in 2016.

Oli and Swaraj, sources said, had agreed to forget “past bitterness” linked to the blockade of the India-Nepal border in 2015 during protests against the new Constitution. They also decided to make a fresh start to take bilateral ties forward, the sources added.

First Published: Feb 02, 2018 12:20 IST