Foreign Secretary’s Nepal visit likely next week

Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla is likely to visit Nepal next week, a highly placed source has confirmed. The source however did not elaborate on the agenda but a Foreign Secretary-level interaction will address a key concern expressed by Nepal which has been demanding such an interaction.

Mr. Shringla and his Nepalese counterpart Bharat Raj Paudyal are leading members of the Foreign Secretary-level mechanism that is tasked with the job of discussing the territorial disputes like Kalapani in Pithoragarh and Susta in the Uttar Pradesh-Nepal border. The visit is the third in a row of high-level exchanges that took place in the last few weeks as both sides are trying to cool down the rhetoric regarding the territorial issues.

In the first week of November, Army chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane paid a three-day visit to Nepal which was preceded by the visit of R&AW chief Samant Goel. Both officials met Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli.

The Ministry of External Affairs has not yet made a formal announcement though the Indian side has communicated that the visit is on track as of now.

Earlier reports in sections of the media on both sides suggested the visit of Mr. Shringla is expected on November 26-27. The highly placed source did not provide the exact date. Apart from the border disputes, the visit may also examine the status of the report by the Eminent Persons Group (EPG) which is at present lying unreleased in Kathmandu. The EPG report has made recommendations for border management by both nations. The recommendations however are yet to be discussed by the two sides officially.


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