Nepal President Bidya Devi Bhandari will meet her Indian counterpart Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi today. Vice President Hamid Ansari, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will also call on the visiting dignitary. President Bhandari will be accorded ceremonial reception at the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan. President Mukherjee will also host a state banquet in honor of the visiting dignitary. The Nepal President, arrived in Delhi yesterday on her first overseas tour, is also scheduled to attend a business event.
The meeting will take place even as China has said that its first ever joint military exercise with Nepal, dubbed as “Mount Everest Friendship”, would strengthen the nations’ military ability to coordinate in fighting terrorism and help maintain regional peace, stability and security. “China and Nepal are two friendly neighbours. I believe it is a good thing for the two countries to expand practical cooperation in various fields and promote common development, including making joint efforts to maintain regional security and stability, through friendly consultations,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang’s Regular said during a briefing. Named ‘Sagarmatha Friendship-2017′ by Nepal, the joint military drill began at Nepal Army’s Para Training School in Maharajgunj on Sunday.
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Meanwhile, both India and Nepal will seek to explore ways to step up cooperation between the two close neighbours whose ties faced some strains following the agitation by the Madhesi community last year. “We are carrying a message of friendship from Nepal,” Nepal’s Foreign Minister Prakash Sharan Mahat, who is accompanying the president, told PTI.
During the talks, Bhandari is expected to seek India’s support for local body polls to be held in Nepal on May 14.
“We are going to have election in May and we want support for it from India,” he said.
On the proposed blockade by the Madheshi community, he said the Nepalese government is trying its best to fulfil aspirations of all sections including the Madheshi community.
Vice President Hamid Ansari, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will also call on the Nepalese leader.
Nepal’s Ambassador Deep Kumar Upadhyay hosted a dinner in honour of the president which was attended by a number of leading political leaders including Murli Manohar Joshi of BJP and CPI’s D Raja.
Bhandari was scheduled to visit India in May last year, but the trip was cancelled after the then cabinet in Nepal did not endorse the visit, citing lack of preparations on the part of the government.
Bhandari will also visit Gujarat and Odisha and pay obeisance at temples of Dwarka, Somnath and Puri.
(With agency inputs)