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Nepalese Foreign Minister to visit India on Saturday

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Days after Khadga Prasad Oli took over as the Prime Minister of Nepal after the adoption of a new Constitution, Foreign Minister Kamal Thapa will be visiting here on Saturday.

Announcing Thapa’s visit, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Vikas Swarup on Thursday said, “Kamal Thapa, deputy prime minister and foreign minister of Nepal, will visit India from October 17 to 19, which will be his first visit abroad as the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister within a week of assuming office.”

“During the visit, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will receive her Nepalese counterpart and the Foreign Secretary will call on him. The visit will provide us an opportunity to discuss all issues of mutual concern as well as to review and further strengthen the India-Nepal relations,” Swarup added.

Tension between the South Asian nations has spiked since Nepal adopted a new constitution on September 20, upsetting southern minority groups, who fear being marginalised in a new federal structure.

India rejected Nepal’s contention that New Delhi has blocked a key border trade point with Kathmandu that had resulted in acute shortage of essential goods.

“Our truckers are waiting to go inside and deliver the supplies that Nepal needs. So there is no question of any kind of blockade. As you have seen 733 trucks have gone in and 2,500 are waiting to go in provided the political situation on the Nepalese side become more conducive,” said Swarup.

The Madhesi community in Nepal’s lowlands, many of whom trace their origins to India, have imposed an economic blockade to oppose the promulgation of the new constitution. They are against splitting Nepal into seven provinces.

The violent protests have claimed over 40 lives so far.

The formal talks between the government and the Joint Madhesi Front (JMF) – the main agitating group – have formally begun in Kathmandu. (ANI)