This is the first high-level visit from the Himalayan country in the new year

Nepal’s Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali on Thursday arrived in India for a three-day official visit, during which he will lead his country’s delegation for a Joint Commission meeting with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar.

The Himalayan country wants supplies of Covid-19 vaccines from India and this issue is likely to figure during Nepal Foreign Minister Gyawali’s meeting with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar.

However the Nepal Foreign Minister’s visit is taking place at a time when the ruling Communist government of K P Sharma Oli is being wracked by political instability. Parliament has been dissolved and new elections called.

Though the decision has been challenged in Nepal’s Supreme Court and a verdict on the issue is yet to be announced, many have expressed their unhappiness over Prime Minister Oli’s decision to dissolve Parliament.

Nepal is faced with a political crisis since December 20 when Prime Minister Oli dissolved the lower house of parliament and announced fresh elections in the Himalayan country. Oli, however, would be entitled to continue as the Prime Minister of the caretaker government, sending political circles into a tizzy.

China pressed into action and immediately asked its envoy in Kathmandu to try and rescue the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) from the split and end the political deadlock built up due to the spar between the party’s co-chairs Oli and Pushpa Kamal Dahal alias Prachanda. Beijing had a role in the unification of the communists in 2018 with the merger of CPN (UML)-led by Oli and Prachanda’s CPN (Maoist).

Following Oli’s dissolution of the parliament, the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) headed for a split. China intensified its efforts to reunite the two fractions. However, neither Oli nor NCP’s co-chair Prachanda is ready to budge from their stand.

China’s machinations in the domestic politics of Nepal have pushed Oli to improve ties with India. In the recent months, Oli hosted India’s RAW Chief Samant Kumar Goel in October and Army Chief M Naravane in November, indicating a thaw in bilateral relations. Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla’s visit on November 26-27 helped further improve bilateral relations between the two countries.