KATHMANDU, July 4 (Xinhua) — The first-ever meeting of the Eminent Persons Group on Nepal-India Relations (EPG-NIR) has started here in Kathmandu on Monday to review various aspects of bilateral ties between the two countries.
Nepalese Deputy Prime Minister Kamal Thapa, who is also the in-charge of foreign affairs, opened up the inaugural session of the two-day EPG-NIR meeting. The deputy prime minister stressed on reviewing the bilateral ties between Nepal and India as per the changed context.
“The global order and situation including of Nepal and India’s standing in the world today has become different in comparison to that of the 1950s. We can’t ignore the changing dynamics of relationship,” Thapa said.
The Deputy Prime Minister further said, “The treaties, agreements and arrangements that guided our relations in the then context might require appropriate revision to deal with the needs of the present time.”
He also emphasized on the necessity of new ideas and approach to give Nepal-India relations more appropriate course in order to create better understandings and enhancing mutual prosperity, peace and harmony.
The independent expert body has four members each from Nepal and India, which will discuss all Nepal-India bilateral issues, including political, security, social, economic, trade, transit, border management and water resources, EPG Coordinator of the Nepalese side Dr Bhes Bahadur Thapa said.
The EPG-NIR, which has a two-year term, is expected come up with a joint comprehensive report containing recommendations for both the governments on how to improve bilateral relations in the changed context.
Durgesh Man Singh, a former Nepalese Ambassador to India, expected the EPG-NIR meeting will come up with concrete ideas to update the Peace and Friendship Treaty signed between Nepal and India in 1950.
He also expressed hope that the meeting will help to improve the bilateral relationship between Nepal and India which marked its lowest ebb from September 2015 to February 2016 when India imposed an unofficial blockade on Nepal after the Himalayan country promulgated the new Constitution in September last year.
“We hope that the ongoing meeting certainly helps to improve and strengthen the friendly relationship between Nepal and India which was strained after the Indian blockade last year,” he added.