India’s policy towards Nepal remains unchanged: Envoy

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Amid speculations that India is not happy with the dissolution of the alliance between the Nepali Congress and the CPN (Maoist Centre), and the formation of the new coalition between the CPN-UML and the Maoist Centre, the Indian Ambassador to Nepal Naveen Srivastava has made it clear that India’s policy towards Nepal remains unchanged.
The statement of the Indian ambassador comes a day after Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal restructured his Cabinet and added new ministers from the CPN-UML, his own party CPN (Unified Socialist), and the Rastriya Swatantra Party. During separate meetings with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Narayan Kaji Shrestha and Finance Minister Barsha Man Pun on Thursday, the Indian envoy conveyed India’s position and view towards the new power equation in Kathmandu.
During his meetings with Shrestha and Pun, the Indian ambassador stated that India considers the political change as Nepal’s internal matter. Both Shreshta and Pun took oath of office and secrecy on Wednesday, and Srivastava is the first foreign diplomat to meet and congratulate them.
The apparently sudden political upheaval and subsequent breakup of the previous ruling coalition has left many in Kathmandu and major capitals like New Delhi, Beijing and Washington surprised.
Two years ago, in 2022, the Nepali Congress and the CPN (Maoist Centre) had formed a coalition, contested the federal, provincial, and local elections together, and agreed to lead the government for a full five years by turns.
The Nepali Congress and the Maoist Centre agreed to run the government by rotation. As per the understanding, Prime Minister Dahal was supposed to hand over the premiership to Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba in 2025.
But on Sunday, Dahal cut ties with the Nepali Congress, removed the party’s ministers, and inducted 20 new ministers from the CPN-UML, Maoist Centre, Rastriya Swatantra Party and the CPN (Unified Socialist).
There is also a perception in political circles that the new ruling coalition was orchestrated at the behest of China.
“Despite the change in the political equation in Kathmandu, our position and view towards Nepal will remain unchanged,” the personal secretariat of the finance minister said, quoting the Indian ambassador.
“The change in the government is an internal affair of Nepal,” said Srivastava, adding, “That is why I want to convey that India’s position towards Nepal will remain unchanged. Our partnership and cooperation with Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal which has been continuing for a year and a half, is satisfactory. We will also work in a similar spirit and trust in the future.”
During his meeting with Minister Pun, the Indian ambassador highlighted that the relations between Nepal and India are unique, rock-solid, and based on mutual trust, and that India is ready to support Nepal as well as increase its investment in the future.
Sources at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs also confirmed that the Indian ambassador conveyed a similar message to Deputy Prime Minister Shrestha.
Srivastava also conveyed the greetings of Indian foreign minister S Jaishankar to Shrestha on the latter’s assumption of the new roles as deputy prime minister and minister for foreign affairs, said the foreign ministry.
Matters relating to further strengthening Nepal-India relations and advancing mutually beneficial cooperation were also discussed, the ministry added.
Later in the afternoon, Chinese Ambassador to Nepal Chen Song also called on DPM Shrestha and congratulated him on his new role.
Matters relating to Nepal-China relations and cooperation were discussed on the occasion, said the ministry.

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