Nepal Foreign Affairs (KATHMANDU, 23 April 2017) – The state visit of President Bidhya Devi Bhandari to India has given two strong messages to Indian leadership. In high level meetings, President Bha`ndari constantly reiterated that the new constitution is being implemented by holding election in the stipulated time, that is on 14 May 2017. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Senior Ministers have repeated their previous positions in regards to upcoming election and constitution. They explicitly reiterated that the election should be held by bringing all sides in to board so that political stability could be ascertained.
With clear gesture President Bhandari conveyed the message that the Indian approach to the developing situation in Nepali will further complicates the bilateral relations. Expecting India’s goodwill in the constitution implementation, she paid no heed to the Indian standpoint. Unlike the visit of Prime Minister Puspa Kamal Dahal, President’s state visit succeeded to highlight Nepal’s narrative.
Similarly, President Bhandari during her meetings with President of India and Prime Minister used a term ‘sovereign equality’ to describe and expand the relations between Nepal and India. By employing this word, she request Indian leaders to respect the sovereignty and independence of Nepal. The message was given to the Indian leadership to reorient their policy towards Nepal. Ambassador of Nepal to India, Deep Kumar Upadhya draws a conclusion that the visit of the President was highly successful and fruitful. According to him, President Bhandari has clearly put forth the Nepali agenda, priorities and Nepali position on various issues to the Indian leaders.
President Bhandari in her conversation with Indian leaders talked about the inclusive provisions of the constitution without any hesitation. It might have helped to the Indian leadership to get them understand the Nepali constitution. Similarly, President Bhandari also discussed about the bilateral projects and potentialities of further bilateral cooperation. Myriad of issues including hydropower, trade, taxes, infrastructures were discussed. Indian side also highlighted their outlook and perspectives in the different issues.
In nutshell, the first state visit of abroad has been a success. Comments were thrown that President Bhandari was welcomed by Sate Minister in Indira Gandhi international airport. But this is not an issue. It is a standard diplomatic practice that either the Joint Secretary (Chief of Protocal) or the State Minister welcome the head of government or the state. Bhandari was welcomed by state Minister, in no way this can be considered as humiliation. Our President had gone to airport to receive India President Mukharjee and had gone to airport to see offhim.This was our great honour to Indian President. But we should not seek the same from other side. It would have been best had the president of India welcomed Nepali president in the same manner as he was received by our President six months before. But honour is not begged, it is given. Therefore Indian leaders themselves should review them.