After Army chief's Nepal visit, foreign secretary-level talks could resume
Indian Army chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane is set to meet Nepal's Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli on Thursday. The meeting is crucial as Indo-Nepal ties had soured earlier this year after Nepal's Parliament cleared a new map which included territories claimed by India. The meeting will likely lead to the resumption of foreign secretary-level dialogue between the two nations.
General Naravane is traveling to Nepal on Wednesday to be conferred the honorary rank of General of the Nepali Army. During the three-day visit, he will meet PM Oli. A top government official told Hindustan Times, "If the conversation goes as well as expected, India will reciprocate with the resumption of the foreign secretary-level talks and a meeting of the Joint Technical Level Boundary Committee."
Research and Analysis Wing chief Samant Kumar Goel had also visited Nepal last week. Goel had held talks with PM Oli during the visit where they emphasized the civilizational, cultural, and multi-faceted friendly relations between the two countries.
India had paused talks with Nepal earlier this year after the latter's Parliament cleared a new map in June. The map included areas of the Indian state of Uttarakhand. The move had invited a sharp rebuke from India. However, in recent times, the two nations have softened their approach and resumed attempts to strengthen bilateral ties.
In September, Oli had halted the distribution of school textbooks that had included the new map. In October, he used the country's old map in his Vijaya Dashami greeting card which had the national emblem and his portrait printed on it. The same month, he had cleared General Naravane's three-day visit and removed Deputy PM Ishwar Pokhrel—a staunch critic of India—from the Defence Ministry.
Notably, General Naravane's visit comes amid political turmoil in the ruling Nepal Communist Party. The NCP was formed in 2018 after the merger of the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist) and Pushpa Kamal Dahal's Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist Centre. PM Oli is reportedly seeking to split the party than cede control to ensure peace with critics led by Dahal.