Nepal PM Dahal to visit India next week, hold talks with Modi

NEW DELHI/KATHMANDU (Reuters) – Nepal’s Prime Minister Pushpa Kumar Dahal will visit India next week and hold talks with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi to strengthen the historically deep ties between the two countries.

The visit will “further strengthen the age-old, multifaceted, and cordial relations between Nepal and India,” Nepal’s foreign ministry said in a statement on Saturday.

The trip will be Dahal’s first official foreign trip since he was elected prime minister in December 2022. He has visited India three times before as prime minister in previous tenures.

Dahal, a 68-year-old former Maoist rebel leader who goes by the name Prachanda, meaning “fierce”, will also meet other senior Indian officials, including President Droupadi Murmu.

As a sign of the strong ties between New Delhi and Kathmandu, Dahal’s visit follows the convention of Nepali prime ministers making New Delhi their first international port of call after assuming the office.

The four-day visit will begin on May 31 and will also include visits to the temple town of Ujjain and Indore.

“The visit continues the tradition of regular high level exchanges between India and Nepal in furtherance of our ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy. The bilateral relations between the two countries have significantly strengthened in the last few years in all areas of cooperation,” India’s foreign ministry said.

Modi has visited Nepal five times since becoming India’s prime minister in 2014, the last in May 2022.

(Reporting by Krishn Kaushik in NEW DELHI, Gopal Sharma in KATHMANDU; Editing by Kim Coghill)