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DPM Thapa meets Sushma Swaraj

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NEW DELHI — Deputy Prime Minister, who is currently in New Delhi to attend the convocation ceremony of the South Asian University, an international university sponsored by the eight member states of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, meets his counterpart Indian External Minister Sushma Swaraj in Delhi on Friday.

The duo held discourses in New Delhi, flagging resumption of bilateral engagement between the two countries.

Both the ministers discussed for more than half-an-hour about Nepal-India relations and both sides stressed on improving the bilateral relation, it has been learnt.

The two foreign ministers are also learnt to have agreed to activate all bilateral mechanisms, including the Foreign Ministerial Level Joint Commission, while keeping differences aside.

“Meeting with EAM of India Sushma Swaraj today in Delhi has been very useful and constructive,” Thapa tweeted right after the meeting.

Domestic political situation of Nepal including talks with the agitating Federal Alliance also figured during the meeting.

Relations between the two neighbours had soured after Nepal promulgated a new constitution in October and subsequent border blockade for up to five months, which created a humanitarian crisis in Nepal.

It was the first top political meeting between the two neighbors after Nepal abruptly recalled ambassador Deep Kumar Upadhyay from New Delhi and cancelled President Bidhya Devi Bhandari’s scheduled visit in early May.

After reaching India, DPM Thapa attended an interaction organized by Press Club of India and claimed that no misunderstanding exists between Nepal and India and the bilateral relations have come back on track.

ALSO READ :  Indian Foreign Minister Swaraj calls on PM Deuba

This is Thapa’s fifth visit to India since the formation of the CPN-UML led government in October.

Thapa will attend the maiden convocation ceremony of South Asian University in New Delhi today.

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Govt fixes 18 ministries including Office of PM in Center

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KATHMANDU — The government has fixed 18 ministries, including the Office of Prime Minister and Council of Ministers (OPMCM) from the current 30, at the central level, under the new federal setup.

A cabinet meeting held at the Prime Minister’s official residence at Baluwatar on Friday fixed the number of ministries including the OPMCM at 18.

The Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli decided to limit the Cabinet to 18 ministries, including the Prime Minister’s Office, according to Environment Minister Lal Babu Pandit.

“Now the number of ministries will be 18, with the OPMCM included,” Minister Pandit told reporters following the cabinet meeting.

The cabinet decision comes two days after leaders of the left alliance–CPN-UML and CPN (Maoist Center)–agreed to bring down the number of ministries to 18 at the federal level.

ALSO READ :  DPM Thapa reiterates reinstatement of Hindu state

The new constitution has stated the central government can have a maximum of 25 ministers, including the prime minister.

Besides the OPMCM, the proposed 17 ministries are the federal affairs and general administration; ministries of finance and planning; foreign affairs; defense; physical infrastructure and transport; health and population; information and communications; law, justice and parliamentary affairs; culture, tourism and civil aviation; labor, employment, women and children; urban development, drinking water and sanitation; and agriculture, cooperatives and land management; education and sports; home affairs; forest and environment; water resources and energy; industry, commerce and supplies.

Likewise, the Cabinet meeting has also appointed CPN-UML politburo member Bishnu Rimal as Chief Political Advisor to PM. Earlier, Rimal had served as the chief political advisor during Oli’s previous premiership.

The decision will come into effect after the government endorses the proposal on the jurisdictions of the 17 ministries, according to OPMCM officials.

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