India invites Nepal president

November 26th, 2008 - 6:21 pm ICT by IANS  

Pratibha PatilKathmandu, Nov 26 (IANS) Indian President Pratibha Patil has extended a formal invitation to republic Nepal’s first President Ram Baran Yadav to visit India.Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who ended his three-day visit to Nepal Wednesday, said during his call on the Nepali president Tuesday he had conveyed the invitation from the Indian head of state to visit India at “mutually convenient dates”.

Nepal’s first Maoist Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda, who took oath of office in August, broke with the tradition of making India the first prime ministerial port of call abroad and instead chose to visit Nepal’s northern neighbour China soon after assuming office.

Though the Maoist chief said he had gone to Beijing to attend the closing ceremony of the Olymic Games, it triggered speculation that the former guerrillas were trying to inch closer to China at the expense of India.

Yadav, who had been invited to attend the opening ceremony, had however declined saying his presence was needed in Nepal due to the political developments, including the prime ministerial election.

Prior to his election as president, Yadav was a senior member of former premier Girija Prasad Koirala’s Nepali Congress party that is regarded as being close to India’s Congress, a major partner in the ruling United Progressive Alliance.

Close on the heels of Mukherjee’s visit, China’s Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi will visit Nepal.

Mukherjee, however, dismissed questions that India was perturbed by growing Nepal-China ties.

Friendship with one country doesn’t necessarily mean that it has to be at the expense of another country, he said.

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