Nepalese President arrives in Delhi on five-day visit to India

In his banquet speech in the honour of visiting Nepalese President Bidya Devi Bhandari, Mukherjee said India has an abiding interest in the socio-economic development of Nepal. What looked like an impromptu blockade by the protesting groups also had a tacit support of the Indian government, something that Kathmandu saw New Delhi laying a seize around it. Nepal in turn recalled its ambassador to India and cancelled the visit by its president to New Delhi.

There had been more than 30 official and ministerial level engagements since the state visit of President Mukherjee to Nepal in November previous year which clearly illustrate the wide range and depth of cooperative ties with Nepal.

This will be Bhandari's first foreign trip after assuming the office in October 2015, following the promulgation of the new Constitution in Nepal. She was then given a ceremonial guard of honour at forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan. She will have delegation level talks tomorrow.

Apart from official engagements in New Delhi, the President of Nepal will be visiting Gujarat and Odisha.

Bhandari will later today hold meetings with Mukherjee, Modi, Vice President Hamid Ansari, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

Bhandari's previously-scheduled India visit was cancelled by the Oli government, which was preparing to welcome Chinese President Xi Jinping in Kathmandu previous year. Earlier, welcoming the President of Nepal, the President said that he was delighted to have this opportunity to receive her as the first woman President of the country. It is expected that both the countries will seek to explore ways to step up cooperation between the close neighbours whose ties faced some strains following the agitation by the Madhesi community a year ago.

"Shaping our shared historical and cultural linkages". The external affairs minister and other ministers will call on the President of Nepal. Bhandari, flanked by Mukherjee and Modi, told journalists that her visit would help strengthen Nepal-India ties.

  • Ernesto Newman