External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj tonight held an over hour-long meeting with the Nepalese Prime Minister K P Oli, during which key bilateral issues are understood to have been discussed.
Swaraj met Oli at the Shangri-La hotel here, following a dinner hosted by SAARC Secretary General Ajay Bahadur Thapa.
The meeting between the two leaders comes ahead of the 37th SAARC Council of Ministers meeting, beginning here tomorrow.
Interestingly, neither the Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar nor the Indian Ambassador here Ranjeet Ray, besides Joint-Secretary (North) Abhay Thakur were present during the meeting.
Though Indian officials described the meeting as a routine call-on, even they were surprised at the duration of over hour-long meeting.
The meeting between Swaraj and Oli comes nearly a month after the Nepalese Prime Minister’s visit to India.
The bilateral ties between the two countries had faced turbulence in the recent past due to the months-long Madhesi agitation and subsequent road-blocks which had put the Nepalese government in a spot.
Earlier today, Swaraj arrived here for a three-day visit to attend the SAARC Ministerial meeting during which she will push ahead India’s “neighbourhood first” policy and review the progress of decisions taken by the grouping last year.
Swaraj arrived here on a Mi17 chopper from Gorkhpur, Uttar Pradesh.
The 37th SAARC Council of Ministers meeting will take place tomorrow after which she will also hold bilateral talks with her counterparts from several countries.
SAARC member states include Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.