Saturday, June 30, 2018

Nepal-India EPG agrees to update all bilateral treaties

The Eminent Persons' Group (EPG) – in a major breakthrough – has agreed to update all the bilateral treaties and agreements reached by Nepal and India in the past in line with the current reality of both the two countries.
The ninth meeting of the EPG that concluded in Kathmandu today prepared a single joint report that will soon be submitted to the prime ministers of Nepal and India.
The single report became possible after both sides agreed to replace the 1950 Treaty of Peace and Friendship by a new one, to regulate the Nepal-India border by making people produce identity cards while crossing over to either side, and to jointly tackle common challenges in areas of combating terrorism, extremism and all kinds of trafficking, according to the nembers of the group.
Though the group had the mandate to review the entire gamut of Nepal-India relations and recommend updates in the bilateral agreements and treaties including Nepal-India Friendship Treaty 1950, it had to look into five broad areas of bilateral relations – politics, government-to-government ties, development cooperation, economic deals, and cultural relations – between Nepal and India. The formation of the EPG was first agreed during the Nepal visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in August 2014, and formed in January 2016.
They said that the report will be submitted to prime ministers of Nepal and India soon. "The group will submit the report to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and then to Nepali Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli," according to a member of the group.
"This is a step forward in reviewing and resolving various bilateral issues," he said, adding that the group has succeeded in preparing the joint report in consensus. 
There are four members each from Nepali and Indian sides in the group. Bhekh Bahadur Thapa, Nilambar Acharya, Suryanath Upadhyay and Rajan Bhattarai are from Nepal and Bhagat Singh Koshyari, Mahendra P Lama, Jayanta Prasad and B C Upreti are the members from India. "Both sides have agreed to suggest the governments of Nepal and India replacement of the 1950 Treaty by a new one," according to Nepal coordinator of the group Bhekh Bahadur Thapa.
On the 1950 Treaty, which Nepal considers unequal, both sides have suggested replacing it with revision to articles 2, 5, 6 and 7," another member of the group said, adding, "On the issue of national treatment for citizens of the other country, both sides have agreed to consider the nations’ sizes of geography and population."
After the EPG submits the report, both the governments will be responsible for the implement the recommendations.
Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali had couple of weeks ago also said that only ‘two issues’ remained to be sorted out to finalise the report. The eighth meeting was held in New Delhi on April 12 and 13. The meetings used to be held alternatively in Nepal and India.

No comments: