Nepal PM Deuba thanks PM Modi; says shared views with him on further strengthening bilateral ties

Prime Minister Mr. Modi had immediately congratulated Mr. Deuba after the veteran Nepalese leader won a vote of confidence in the reinstated House of Representatives on Sunday night

Nepal’s newly-appointed Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba on July 19 thanked his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi for the congratulatory message and said he shared views with him on further strengthening ties between the two neighbouring countries during a cordial telephone conversation.

Prime Minister Mr. Modi had immediately congratulated Mr. Deuba after the veteran Nepalese leader won a vote of confidence in the reinstated House of Representatives on Sunday night.

On July 19, Mr. Modi spoke to Mr. Deuba, also president of the Nepali Congress (NC), and asserted that both leaders will work together to further enhance the wide-ranging cooperation between the two countries, including in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I had [a] cordial telephone conversation with Prime Minister @narendramodi this afternoon. We shared views on further strengthening bilateral ties. PM Modi assured early supply of Covid Vaccines to Nepal. I thanked him for his warm words of congratulations,” Mr. Deuba tweeted.

Earlier on July 19, Mr. Modi in a tweet said, “Spoke with Prime Minister @DeubaSherbdr to convey my congratulations and best wishes. We will work together to further enhance the wide-ranging cooperation between India and Nepal, including in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.” Mr. Deuba, who was appointed as the prime minister for a record fifth time on July 12 following the Supreme Court’s intervention, secured 165 votes in the 275-member House on Sunday.

“Congratulations Prime Minister @DeubaSherbdr and best wishes for a successful tenure. I look forward to working with you to further enhance our unique partnership in all sectors, and strengthen our deep-rooted people-to-people ties,” Mr. Modi tweeted on Sunday night.

Responding to Prime Minister Mr. Modi’s tweet, Mr. Deuba thanked his Indian counterpart for his congratulatory message and expressed his desire to work closely with him to strengthen the bilateral ties between the two neighbouring countries.

“Thank you very much, Prime Minister @narendramodi Ji, for your congratulatory note. I look forward to closely working with you to strengthen the relationship between our two countries and people,” Mr. Deuba tweeted late Sunday night.

Previously, Mr. Deuba has served as the prime minister on four occasions; first from 1995 to 1997, then from 2001 to 2002, again from 2004 to 2005, and from 2017 to 2018.

In his first foreign trip after he assumed office in June 2017, Mr. Deuba visited India in August 2017 and held bilateral talks with Prime Minister Mr. Modi. Mr. Deuba had earlier paid three visits to India as prime minister, in 1996, 2004 and 2005.

Mr. Deuba, the 75-year-old chief of the Nepali Congress party, won a trust vote in the reinstated lower House of Representatives, averting a general election in the Himalayan nation amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sunday’s outcome of the trust vote paves the way for Prime Minister Mr. Deuba to remain in office for the next one and half year, until a fresh parliamentary election is held.

Nepal plunged into a political crisis on December 20 last year after President Bidya Devi Bhandari dissolved the House and announced fresh elections on April 30 and May 10 at the recommendation of Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli, amidst a tussle for power within the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP).

On February 23, the apex court reinstated the dissolved House of Representatives, in a setback to Mr. Oli who was preparing for snap polls.

The bilateral ties came under strain under then Prime Minister Oli after India opened an 80-km-long strategically crucial road connecting the Lipulekh pass with Dharchula in Uttarakhand on May 8, 2020.

Nepal protested the inauguration of the road claiming that it passed through its territory. Days later, Nepal came out with a new map showing Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura as its territories. India reacted sharply to the move.

In June last year, Nepal’s Parliament approved the new political map of the country featuring areas which India maintains belong to it.

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