Kathmandu: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj's Nepal trip will focus on confidence building measures, strengthening bilateral ties and preparing the ground for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the country.
Swaraj is arriving here tomorrow evening on a three-day official visit at the invitation of her Nepalese counterpart Mahendra Pandey. This will be her first visit to Nepal after assuming office.
After a gap of 23 years, India and Nepal will hold a Joint Commission meeting to discuss key political, security and border issues for which Swaraj is travelling to the country.
This trip is mainly for confidence building measures, strengthening bilateral ties and preparing the ground for Prime Minister Modi's upcoming visit, Nepalese Foreign Minister Pandey told PTI ahead of Swaraj's visit.
Modi is expected to visit Nepal in the first week of August if everything goes well, according to Foreign Ministry sources here.
The entire gamut of bilateral relations between Nepal and India including water resources, hydropower, security, trade and transit, economic cooperation and border issues will come up during the meeting between Swaraj and her counterpart scheduled to take place in Kathmandu on Saturday.
The first and second Joint Commission Meetings took place in Kathmandu and Delhi in 1988 and 1991 respectively. There has been no such meeting since the second meeting held in Delhi.
The Nepal-India Joint Commission Meeting is mainly aimed at resolving political issues between the two countries and harmonising bilateral relations, Pandey said.
“Nepal and India are bound together by their common history, culture, tradition, economy and the exchange of high level visits would help strengthen the age-old relations existing between the two countries”, he said.
“India's newly elected Prime Minister has begun a good practice by inviting all the SAARC heads of government during his swearing-in ceremony in Delhi, which will be instrumental in strengthening regional cooperation in South Asia,” Pandey said.
“We need to nurture the bilateral relations existing between our two countries and the visit will further strengthen our ties. We need to clear all suspicion and mistrust seen in the bilateral relations and create a sense of confidence and trust in the relations,” he added.
Nepal has abundant water resources and Nepal and India should work together for each other's benefit, Pandey noted.
Nepal needs to reduce its huge trade deficit with India, for which India's help is needed, he said. Swaraj is expected to call on President Dr Ram Baran Yadav, meet Prime Minister Sushil Koirala and all important political personalities including UCPN-Maoist chairman Prachanda during her visit to Kathmandu.