Nepal’s President cancels India trip

Bhandari

As political tensions continue to intensify in Nepal, President Bidhya Devi Bhandari’s upcoming trip to India has been cancelled, and Nepal’s ambassador to India Deep K Upadhyay has been recalled on May 6.  Mr Upadhyay was said to be instrumental in bringing the relationship between India and Nepal “back on track”. The relations between the two countries had deteriorated in the backdrop of the Madhesi agitation in Nepal in 2015, which resulted in a blockade at the borders.

Initially, Mrs Bhandari was supposed to visit Delhi on May 9. She was also expected to participate in the ongoing Simhastha Kumbh at Ujjain on May 14. The visit was cancelled in view of the threat of a split in the coalition government of the CPN-UML and the UCPN-Maoist in Nepal, according to unnamed officials.

On May 5, the UCPN-Maoist led by Prachanda, triggered political instability. Mr Prachanda declared the end of the coalition. The Maoists and the opposition Nepali Congress have accused Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli for failing to implement the new Constitution. He has also been accused of not addressing problems related to Madhesis and expedite post-quake reconstruction work.

India and Nepal have been mending fences over the past few months with high-level visits from the two sides. Nepal’s Deputy Prime Minister Kamal Thapa visited India in October 2015, followed by Mr Oli’s visit to India in February 2016. India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had visited Nepal for the SAARC ministerial meet in March 2016. The latest developments could once again create a hurdle in the relations between the two countries.

When asked about the internal developments in Nepal, India’s External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup had said on May 5, “These are internal political developments in Nepal and it will not be appropriate for me to comment on them. But, of course, as a close neighbour, we are following the developments very closely”.

 

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