(MENAFN- Gulf Times) Amid hiccups in India-Nepal ties over the Madhesi issue, Nepal's Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli is set to embark on his maiden China visit soon, ignoring the usual practice of visiting India first by a new premier.
"PM Oli will visit China in the beginning of the New Year 2016 during which many agreements will be signed," Deputy Prime Minister Kamal Thapa said.
Thapa, who returned to Kathmandu after concluding his week-long China visit, said the schedule has been finalised for Oli's visit amid the political crisis over Madhesis.
Madhesis, who share strong cultural and family bonds with Indians, have imposed a general strike in much of southern Nepal, causing a shortage of fuel and other essential goods.
The proposed China visit of Oli, who took over as prime minister in October, is in marked contrast to the usual practice the new prime ministers of Nepal follow. Most of the Nepalese premiers have visited India, ahead of China.
Only Pushpa Kamal Dahal had rubbed India the wrong way when he chose China as the first destination of his foreign visit after taking over as Nepal's prime
minister and attended the Beijing Olympics 2008.
India has been rather cold to Dahal over the years and sees him as someone keen on pushing Nepal closer to China.
Talking to reporters at the Tribuvan International Airport, Thapa said a formal agreement to import fuel from China will be signed during Oli's visit.
Thapa said his visit to China strengthened bilateral ties. Moreover, it helped prepare a
long-term framework for economic ties.
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