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Ousted diplomat returns as Nepal’s envoy to New Delhi

The relationship between the two neighbours had hit an all time low during Prachanda’s predecessor KP Sharma Oli’s term in the office. Oli had recalled Upadhyay as Nepal government’s envoy in India in May accusing him of hobnobbing with New Delhi to topple his government. Upadhyay’s recall, however, set into motion a series of events which led to the fall of Oli government in less than three months time.

The decision to appoint Upadhyay, who is currently on a personal visit to the United States, was taken at a cabinet meeting held at PM’s office in Singha Durbar, Kathmandu on Thursday. Upadhyay, who was serving as Nepal’s ambassador to India since April 2015, was suddenly recalled by the erstwhile Oli-led government in May.

Before demitting office in May this year Upadhyay had said that several policies of then Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s government were unrealistic. Addressing media after receiving the letter of recall, Upadhyay had predicted that the government’s planned amendment process for the national constitution would fail.

“The government requires the support of the main Opposition party, the Nepali Congress, to pass major amendments and under the current circumstances Nepali Congress will not support the government’s plans,” he had said. Demand for the amendments, guaranteeing equal citizenship rights, by the Nepalis in the border areas, also known as the Madhesis, had triggered months-long economic blockade straining ties between India and Nepal.

Oli decided to recall Upadhyay after latter expressed his displeasure on the unilateral cancellation of the visit of Nepal President Bidhya Devi Bhandari to India in April without informing him. “It does not look good at a time when Nepal-India ties are getting back on track and as an ambassador, I was not even informed and consulted before the cancellation of the visit,” Upadhyay is reported to have told Oli, who in turn asked him to quit. The Oli government also had accused Upadhyay of being active in New Delhi and Kathmandu to topple his government.

Upadhyay had also expressed reservations at then Prime Minister Oli aims to introduce Chinese supply line to Nepal, for which Nepal and China signed a landmark transit agreement in March during Oli’s China visit. “There are several practical difficulties in the plan to build supply lines over the Himalayas,” Upadhyay had said.
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