Indian external affairs minister to visit Nepal

April 17th, 2011 - 12:51 pm ICT by IANS  

Kathmandu, April 17 (IANS) Two months after Jhala Nath Khanal became the new prime minister of Nepal, India is sending its External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna to the country to inquire about the flagging peace process, the new constitution that has to be promulgated by next month, and the snail’s pace progress of bilateral agreements.

Krishna is arriving Wednesday on a three-day visit accompanied by the Indian Foreign Secretary, Nirupama Rao.

The visit had been planned in March soon after Khanal was sworn in. However, it had to be postponed due to the long delay in the formation of the cabinet as Khanal remained locked in a power struggle with his ally, the Maoists.

Even now, despite expanding the cabinet twice, Khanal has not been able to appoint a foreign minister. However, his foreign affairs advisor Milan Tuladhar said a senior minister from the prime minister’s party would be deputed to hold talks with Krishna.

New Delhi is concerned at the peace process coming to a grinding halt five years after the signing of a peace pact between the Maoist guerrillas and the major parties. It would also seek to know if the quarrelling parties can enforce a new constitution by May 28.

Krishna will also take up the mounting anti-India campaigns by the Maoists, who are now part of the government, and the growing attacks on Indian companies.

The visit is expected to pave the way for the Nepali prime minister’s official visit to India next month.

Khanal, scheduled to visit Turkey from May 7 to attend a conference of least developed countries, has expressed his keenness to visit India before that, if possible.

(Sudeshna Sarkar can be contacted at sudeshna.s@ians.in)

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