Amid political turmoil in Himalayan nation following the dissolution of the House of Representatives, Nepal's Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali is visiting New Delhi on January 14 to participate in the sixth meeting of the Nepal-India Joint Commission at the Foreign Minister level.
Earlier, Gyawali had planned to visit New Delhi in the middle of December but due to discord and dispute in the ruling Communist Party of Nepal, the visit was postponed.
During the visit of Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla to Nepal in November end, the Indian side had proposed to hold the meeting in mid-December, but after Nepali side failed to agree on it, the meeting had become uncertain.
As discord and dispute inside the ruling party continued and the K.P. Sharma Oli government plunged into minority, Oli on December 20 dissolved the house and proposed to hold mid-term elections on April 30 and May 10.
Though both India and Nepal have yet to announce the date, diplomatic sources in Kathmandu told IANS that Gyawali will travel to New Delhi on January 14, will hold the joint commission meeting with his Indian counterpart S. Jaishankar, and will return back to Kathmandu after meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other senior leaders.
Despite Nepal and India trying to hold a meeting early, both sides could not finalise the dates in the face of fluid political situation in Kathmandu.
The Nepal-India Joint Commission is the highest-level mechanism between the two countries to discuss the entire gamut of bilateral ties. It discusses the entire gamut of bilateral issues, reaches understanding on disputed issues and gives instruction to the relevant officials on matters concerned.
According to some Nepali media reports, during the visit, Nepal and India are likely to sign a deal on providing Covid vaccine to Nepal. Nepal has already sent a diplomatic note to India seeking its support to acquire the Covid vaccine.
The Nepal side is all set to raise the issue of boundary dispute and its amicable solution among others.
Gyawali has publicly said that Nepal will prominently raise the issue of the boundary dispute with India, and will seek its peaceful settlement in the upcoming meeting.
Besides the boundary row, another issue that Nepal wants to raise and get assurance from Indian side is receiving the report of Eminent Persons' Group on Nepal-India relations. Expressing some reservation over some proposals by the eight-member EPG constituted in 2016 that has already prepared a joint report in 2018, India is reluctant to receive the report.
Gyawali also said that receiving the EPG report would be one prime issue that will be prominently raised in the meeting during a recent question-answer session with a parliamentary committee.
The last meeting was held in Kathmandu in August 2019 and for this, Jaishankar had travelled to Kathmandu.