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BJP leader's visit to Nepal prepares the ground for foreign ministers meeting

Ahead of the meeting between their foreign ministers, India and Nepal are working closely to further strengthen political, religious and cultural relations between both the nations.

Vijay Chauthaiwale, who heads the foreign department cell of Bharatiya Janata Party, arrived in  Kathmandu on Thursday and has held meetings with Nepal's Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli, deputy parliamentary party leader Subas Nembang, foreign affairs minister Pradeep Gyawali and other leaders including Janata Samajwadi Party's Mahanta Thakur and Rajendra Mohoto.

"Days before China’s Defence Minister Wei Fenghe visited Nepal last month, an advance three-member team representing the Communist Party of China had come to Kathmandu and met Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa, among other top officials. Now, as Nepal and India prepare to hold the meetings of their foreign ministers, a leader of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party has come to Kathmandu and has been meeting with leaders from across the political spectrum," reported <em>Kathmandu Post</em>.

The newspaper quoted sources as saying that Oli shared some of his thoughts about religious and cultural ties between Nepal and India as Chauthaiwale conveyed the message of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Chauthaiwale's meeting with Nembang focused on strengthening people-to-people relations between the two countries.

“We discussed the excellent people-to-people ties between Nepal and India,” Nembang told the <em>Kathmandu Post</em>. “We also discussed how we can strengthen ties between BJP and Nepali political parties.”

The newspaper quoted a former Nepali Ambassador to India who did not want to be named as saying that Chauthaiwale’s meeting with major political party leaders also shows that BJP wishes to work with any political party of Nepal irrespective of their political ideology.

Chauthaiwale’s trip comes after Indian Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla and Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) chief Samant Kumar Goel’s visits to the Himalayan nation in the last two months.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Gyawali is slated to embark on a trip to India this month.

The flurry of Indian visits to Nepal are not only to restore ties after Nepal alleged that India had encroached upon its territory while constructing a road between Uttarakhand and Kailash Mansarovar in China but also to ensure that the increasing Chinese influence in Nepal is reduced..