No joint communique at the end of the Oli’s Delhi visit

Kathmandu/New Delhi: Nepal and India did not issue a joint communique at the end of a state visit by Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli to Delhi on Wednesday due to India’s position on the new constitution of the Himalayan nation.

Nepalese Ambassador to India Deep Kumar Upadhyay confirmed there would be no joint communique at the end of Oli’s visit after the Indian side did not show interest in it.

However, sources in New Delhi maintained that every state visit by a foreign leader need not end with a joint communique.

The development will mark a departure as the tradition of issuing joint communiques at the end of visits of Nepalese heads of state or government to India has usually been followed – at least since 1990.

Officials privy to the visit said preparation were afoot in New Delhi earlier on the joint communique and senior officials from both the sides were engaged in finalising its wording. But at the last moment, no joint statement was issued after India refused to say categorically that it welcomed Nepal’s new constitution.

On the other hand, Nepal wanted to get ‘India welcomes the new constitution in Nepal’ incorporated in the joint communique, said a Nepali official.

Until Wednesday afternoon, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Joint Secretary Prakash Subedi, who looks after the India desk, and Joint Secretary (North) Abay Thakur, in charge of Nepal and Bhutan, were busy working on the joint communique in Hotel Hyatt in Mumbai but could not finalise it due to no agreement on its contents and wording.

The Indian side stressed on the wording as per Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statement after a delegation-level talks with Oli on Saturday at Hyderabad House in Delhi, said the officials.

Oli and Modi jointly addressed the press conference but did not take any questions from the media. Modi said: “…after a struggle of decades, making and promulgation of the constitution (in Nepal) are significant achievements… but its success depends on consensus and dialogue.”

Both the prime ministers had addressed a joint conference and made statements. The foreign ministers from both sides have also made several statements in New Delhi and so there was no need to come up with such joint statement, the Indian side is said to have told the Nepalese delegation.

According to Upadhyay, the Indian side communicated that of late, they have stopped issuing joint communiques during the visits of other heads of state or governments and hence will follow the same during this visit also.