KATHMANDU: Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale on Saturday dismissed rumours that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Nepal was timed in a way to coincide with the Karnataka assembly elections on Saturday. Responding to a question at a press meet, Gokhale said the dates of the visit were discussed when the Prime Minister had telephoned his counperpart KP Oli to congratulate him for his post on February 15.
"When Prime Minister Modi had telephoned Prime Minister Oli upon his election as the prime minister of Nepal, they had discussed the visit then. Prime Minister Oli had then expressed his desire for an early visit by Prime Minister Modi. They had discussed the visits, and the Prime Minister (Modi) had said you (Oli) come first. So that's how the sequence has been, first Prime Minister Oli visited India and now Prime Minister (Modi) is in Nepal," Gokhale said.
Dismissing the reports, he added that "whenever state visits take place they are decided as per the convenience of the two nations. No one prime minister alone can say that I will come at this time. So, don't focus on the dates, but focus on the content of this visit."
Oli had arrived in Delhi on April 7, when he said the "historical" and "renewed" friendship between India and Nepal was oriented towards the future and the bilateral ties have evolved according to the "needs of times".
Modi had arrived in Kathmandu on Fridya on a two-day visit and held discussions with Oli on strengthening ties between the two neighbouring countries. He also met Nepal's former prime ministers Prachanda and Sher Bahadur Deuba, and opposition leaders and held wide-ranging discussions on ways to strengthen bilateral ties.
During his visit, the Prime Minister visited several religious spots including the famed 20th century Janaki temple, the Mukhtinath and Pashupatinath temple. PM Modi along with PM Oli jointly flagged off a bus service connecting Sita's birthplace Janakpur to Ayodhya.