Kathmandu, August 24
Vijay Chauthaiwale, the chief of the Foreign Affairs Department of the Indian ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), who is in Kathmandu on an unofficial visit, is busy meeting political leaders representing a wide spectrum in Nepal.
Whereas he called on Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba on Sunday, Chauthaiwale managed time to meet the main opposition leader KP Sharma Oli as well as Deuba’s coalition partner Pushpa Kamal Dahal. Likewise, he also met proposed Loktantrik Samajbadi Party leader Mahantha Thakur who is said to be close with the Indian establishment.
Following these meetings, Chauthaiwale issued a press statement on Monday evening, claiming, “While topics of discussions with each one were different and diverse, one common thread was that everyone expressed the need for stronger ties with India.”
His statement, indeed, is reflective of the mission that he is coming to Kathmandu with: improving ties with all parties in Nepal.
Chauthaiwale is coming to Nepal as a messenger of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and he is assigned with taking the Nepali politicians’ message to him, a Nepali diplomat says on the condition of anonymity.
A leader of the ruling Nepali Congress says the Deuba team, by extending an invite to Chauthaiwale, wanted to give a message that it has good ties with India. Deuba probably wanted to cash in on this relationship for his candidature for the party presidency for the second term also, according to him.
Nonetheless, Chauthaiwale was in Kathmandu last year also upon an invitation of then Prime Minister Oli’s confidant Bishnu Paudel. Then also, he had stressed ties with all political forces in Nepal as he met cross-party leaders.