Old image of former Indian Ambassador to Nepal Vinay Mohan Kwatra falsely linked to his recent visit as Foreign Secretary

By: Rajini KG
April 4 2023

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Old image of former Indian Ambassador to Nepal Vinay Mohan Kwatra falsely linked to his recent visit as Foreign Secretary


The Verdict False

An image of Nepal political leaders seeing off Former Indian Ambassador to Nepal Vinay Mohan Kwatra in April 2022 was misrepresented to be from 2023.

Claim ID df16ab8f


India's Foreign Secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra made a two-day official visit to Nepal from February 13-14, 2023. During his visit, he discussed various matters of bilateral cooperation, such as connectivity, power trade, agriculture, health, and culture. Kwatra had previously served as Indian Ambassador to Nepal from March 2020 to April 2022.

Following the visit, an image of Vinay Kwatra with Nepal politicians started circulating on social media. A Twitter user posted the image and wrote in Nepali: "Indian Foreign Secretary Kwatra gave a class like this, the 8-party coalition will put the country in a hole now?! keep looking!" In the picture, the current prime minister of Nepal, Pushpa Kamal Dahal, former PM Sher Bahadur Deuba, and UCPN (Maoist) President Madhav Kumar Nepal are seen seated while Kwatra was standing and giving a speech. 

However, this image is old and unconnected to Kwatra's visit as Indian foreign secretary, and is being misused to fuel a political narrative over the recent presidential election in Nepal. 

Nepal conducted its latest presidential election on March 9, 2023. As widely reported in the media, the election saw Nepali Congress party leader Ram Chandra Paudel contest against the Subas Nembang, from the party of the incumbent president, the CPN-UML. The total number of voters for the election of the President is 882, consisting of 332 members of the federal Parliament and 550 members of the provincial assemblies of the seven provinces.

Ram Chandra Paudel was elected as the new President of Nepal by securing the votes of 214 lawmakers of Parliament and 352 provincial assembly members. According to the Hindu, he had been endorsed by eight parties comprising of the CPN (Maoist Centre), CPN (Unified Socialist), the Janata Samajbadi Party Nepal, the Loktantrik Samajbadi Party Nepal, Nagarik Unmukti Party, Janamat Party, the Rashtriya Janamorcha and his own Nepali Congress, so as to defeat his opponent. This collaboration of the eight parties has led to political turmoil as it involved the PM's party voting against a candidate nominated by its coalition partner in Parliament.

The old image of Kwatra is being used to claim that this new 'coalition' could be influenced by an Indian government officer, a sensitive political issue in the Himalayan nation. 

In Fact

Through a reverse image search, we found that the image being shared now dates back to April 2022. DC Nepal, a news website in Nepal, published the same image in a report dated April 14, 2022. The report deals with the details of a farewell party hosted by the Indian embassy in Nepal for Kwatra when he left his post as ambassador. The Nepal politicians – PM Dahal, former PM Deuba (also known as "Prachanda") and Madhav Kumar Nepal – were indeed present at the celebration.

Nepal Press also published the same image and reported that upon Kwatra's appointment as foreign secretary, the Indian embassy held a farewell party for him at Lainchaur on April 12, 2022. This report also noted the presence of the three politicians.

Asish Thakur, Chairman & Executive Director at Glocal Pvt. Ltd, posted an image of himself with Kwatra on April 13, 2022, on Twitter, in which he noted this was from the farewell for the ambassador. Kwatra's attire in this photo matches what he is wearing in the viral image.

Chetan Adhikari, a former Press Coordinator to K.P. Sharma Oli, the former Prime Minister of Nepal, also shared another image from the event on April 12, 2022, on his Twitter account, showing Kwatra in the same attire with senior political leaders of Nepal.

It is clear, therefore, that the image which is now being shared on social media, was actually from an event that took place a year previously, prior to the agreement between the eight parties that helped elect the new president of Nepal. It cannot therefore be linked to the now-Indian foreign secretary's visit to Nepal and thereby used to make claims about the Indian government's influence over politics in Nepal.

The Verdict

An image of former Indian Ambassador to Nepal Vinay Kwatra's farewell event held in Lainchaur in 2022 is being falsely linked to his visit to the country in 2023 as India's foreign secretary to further a narrative about the current political situation in Nepal. Therefore, we marked this claim as false.

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