Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla completed a two-day official visit to Nepal on Thursday and Friday last week. During the visit, the foreign secretaries of Nepal and India held dialogue on the whole gamut of bilateral relations, including the territorial dispute in Nepal’s far-west.
Indian foreign secretary’s visit is a maiden trip to Nepal after he was appointed to the post. However, all the bilateral issues between Nepal and India should be discussed during his meeting with his Nepali counterpart.
India's Ministry of External Affairs said that Shringla's visit to Nepal was continuation of the tradition of regular high-level exchanges between the two countries and the priority India attaches to its relations with Nepal. The MEA said the visit will be an opportunity to further advance bilateral ties. In recent years, bilateral cooperation has strengthened, with several major infrastructure and cross-border connectivity projects completed with India's assistance, it said. Shringla handed over medical items to Nepal to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
This visit was expected to reset Nepal-India relations after it reached the lowest ebb following the publication of maps by the both sides. Nepal and India are holding first formal dialogue on the issue of Limpiyadhura, Lipulek and Kalapani, which belong to Nepal but encroached by India since 1962. India should be ready to return these areas to Nepal on the basis of historical evidences. Shringla is likely to share his government's position on the matter and will pave the way for further high-level negotiation.
Nepal is aware that there has been the unfair competition between India and China to keep Nepal under their influence, but it rejects the interference of any sort. Therefore, Nepal is not biased against any neighbour, it wants friendly relations with all. The visits of top Indian and Chinese officials to Nepal aim to boost relations with Nepal. This diplomatic ruckus amply suggests Nepal’s growing geopolitical importance in the region.