President Pranab Mukherjee’s visit has boosted trust and confidence with India, Nepal today said describing the three-day trip as successful in “each and every aspect”, but experts were more measured in their reaction. Foreign Minister Prakash Sharan Mahat said that a Cabinet meeting yesterday noted that Mukherjee’s visit “was successful in each and every aspect and we are happy to note that this has boosted level of trust and confidence between Nepal and India.”
Mukherjee Saturday concluded his visit to the Himalayan nation. His visit had come after India-Nepal ties experienced strain earlier this year following protests by Madhesi people, who share family ties with Indians, over the country’s new Constitution.
Mukherjee had likened Indo-Nepal ties to that of a family in which differences sometimes crop up, but he said the effort is to iron them out through talks. His remarks were seen as a reference to the brief strain in bilateral ties over Madhesi protests.
Foreign affairs experts and political leaders described Mukherjee’s visit as a positive gesture but pointed out that “one such visit does not bring about a sweeping change.” They said at a time when bilateral ties had witnessed an “all-time low” after the promulgation of the new Constitution last year, more such bilateral exchanges would be helpful.
What the visit does signify is “India wants to normalise its relations with Nepal, but it would be wrong to presume that just a single visit would fix all the problems,” said Nepal’s former foreign secretary Madhuraman Acharya. “We have to see how India responds and what kind of reciprocity it shows,” he said. “We need to wait and watch how India impalements its Nepal policy in the changed context.”
Former deputy prime minister and foreign minister Sujata Koirala, who is also a central member of the opposition Nepali Congress, sounded optimistic. “Mukherjee’s visit has helped to strengthen and expand bilateral ties between Nepal and India.”
“Mukherjee has welcomed the Constitution of Nepal that was framed by the people of Nepal after passing through a long struggle, which was very much positive,” she said. Mukherjee congratulated Nepal President Bidya Bhandari and the Nepalese people on the promulgation of the Constitution during his stay in the country.