Press Trust of india

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Kathmandu, Mar 18: Nepal’s Left alliance government will maintain a “mutually beneficial” relationship with India and China to seek economic benefits from both the Asian giants, the country’s newly-appointed Foreign Affairs Minister said today.

Pradeep Gyawali, who was inducted on Friday, also said that the Nepal government had started preparations as it expects both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping to visit the country this year.

“We want to build a mutually beneficial relationship with both in the changed context,” Gyawali said, adding that Nepal needs support from both the countries.

“Chinese President Xi was supposed to visit Nepal in 2016, which could not be materialised possibly due to frequent government changes,” he said.

Speaking to reporters here, Gyawali said similar high-level visits will take place from Nepal’s side also.

He said the government was making necessary preparations for the foreign trip of Nepal Prime Minister K P Oli.

“Prime Minister will make foreign trip soon and we are making necessary preparations to that end. But we have not yet decided from which country he will begin his foreign trip with,” he said.

Meanwhile, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has congratulated Gyawali on his appointment to the post of Foreign Minister of Nepal.

She made a phone call to congratulate the newly-appointed Foreign Minister on Friday, Indian embassy officials said.

In her congratulatory letter, Swaraj expressed confidence that India-Nepal partnership will be further strengthened during his tenure. She also extended an invitation to Foreign Minister Gyawali to visit India, they said.

Oli expanded his Cabinet and inducted 15 new ministers in his Council of Ministers, including the daughter-in-law of Maoist chief Prachanda, on Friday.

Nepal concluded three phase of provincial, local and parliamentary elections as part of its efforts to implement the new Constitution that was promulgated in September 2015.

The new  government led by Left parties convened its first parliament session on March 5 following the elections.

In 2015, when Nepal adopted a new Constitution that split it into seven states, dozens of people were killed in ethnic clashes over territory and rights.

The ethnic Madhesi group, mostly of Indian-origin, protested for months, saying they were not getting enough territory in one of the states and were also facing discrimination.

Violent clashes not only killed 50 people, but also left the country with severe shortages of fuel and medicine because protesters blocked the borders with India.

The protesters finally agreed to the elections after some amendments were made to the Constitution.

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