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May 16, 2023

Australian Minister Watts arrives in capital

FA News Desk
Australian Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs H.E. Tim Watts MP
Australian Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs H.E. Tim Watts MP

Australia’s Assistant Foreign Minister Tim Watts, MP, has arrived in Kathmandu today on a two-day visit.

The visit is aimed to explore opportunities for future engagement between Australia-Nepal close and growing relationship.

According to the information received from the Australian Embassy in Kathmandu, Assistant Minister Watts will pay a courtesy call on Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Foreign Minister Narayan Prakash Saud.

Watts’ visit to Nepal will be the handover of a 13th century wooden tunala (temple strut) from Ratneshwar Temple at Sulima Square to the local community in a ceremony organised at Patan Museum.

The Art Gallery of New South Wales has returned this important artefact to Nepal, and will be represented at the handover by Director, Dr. Michael Brand.

At Kathmandu University, Watts will learn about current partnerships with Australian institutions and discuss possibilities for future collaboration in the sectors of mining, green hydrogen and ongoing student exchange programs.

Watts will visit BioVac Nepal in Banepa, where academic and research cooperation and technology transfer from Australia has supported BioVac to become a state-of-the-art diagnostic and animal vaccine production facility.

Watts will visit the Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology (TIO), which was established as a centre for excellence in eye health by Dr. Sanduk Ruit in partnership with Australian Dr Fred Hollows. In the past thirty years, the Australian Government and the Fred Hollows Foundation have supported TIO’s work to provide eye care services in Nepal, as well as the manufacture of intraocular lenses for national and global distribution. 

Watts will visit religious and historic sites at Pashupatinath and Boudhhanath, marking close cultural links with Australia’s Hindu and Buddhist populations. He will meet with Nepali alumni of Australian institutions who have returned to become leaders in their fields.

Watts will hand over an Australian-made Portable Altitude Chamber to the Himalayan Rescue Association for its use at the Pheriche Medical Outpost and Everest ER Clinic at Everest Base Camp.  

Assistant Minister Watts’ visit to Nepal is part of a four-country program that includes his participation in the sixth Indian Ocean Conference in Bangladesh, and bilateral visits to Bhutan and India.

The Assistance Minister will leave Nepal on May 17, Wednesday.