Nepal Foreign Affairs (KATHMANDU, 11 Jan 2018) – The meeting of Nepal-India Eminent Person Groups (EPG) formed to review the whole gamut of bilateral relations including the contentious 1950 treaty kicked off in New Delhi on Thursday.
According to Dr. Rajan Bhattari, member of EPG, the sixth meeting has reviewed the progress made so far and continued the discussion left in the fifth meeting held in Kathmandu. The EPG has so far discussed in the major four areas – 1950 treaty, trade and transit, border management and hydropower\ resources exploitation.
The meeting gave continuity to the dialogue between the two sides on bilateral issues related to the 1950 treaty, trade and transit, water resources, floods, and border issues, among others, according to Yadav Khanal, secretary at EPG Secretariat.
In the previous meeting, Nepali side had categorically presented the Nepal’s point of view in the different articles of 1950 treaty and sought the opinion of Indian side. But the Indian team didn’t enter in the article-wise discussion but agreed to review the treaty with amendments in the contentious articles stated by Nepali experts.
Sources have said that Nepali experts have raised that 1950 treaty should be replaced by the new one as the change in the situation have been tremendously changed since the time of treaty. Nepal has witnessed the three political systems and India has been global power by accumulating strength in different sectors.
But Indian experts have responded that they were ready to review the treaty with the amendment in the articles that Nepal feel being dominated by India. They have also warned that with the amendment in the treaty, ”national treatment ”enjoyed by Nepalis in India could be ended.
The meeting would also finalise the ‘format’ of the joint report that the EPG had to submit to the two governments after the talks.
The EPG’s tenure ends in July this year and it has to hold two more meetings after the New Delhi meet. EPG meetings are held alternatively in Nepal and India. The fifth meeting was held in Kathmandu on October 7-8.
Prior to their departure to New Delhi, the Nepali EPG members had met Prime Minister-in-waiting UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli, Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and Maoist Centre Chairman Prachanda.
They updated three major leaders about the developments so far. During the meeting, PM Deuba told to work with national interest as well as the people’s interest in mind, said the PM’s Foreign Affairs Adviser Dinesh Bhattarai.
The EPG members had also met CPN-UML Chairman KP Oli and CPN-Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal on Monday and discussed the same issues. “The meeting was a courtesy call before our departure to India,” said Khanal.
Former foreign minister Bhekh Bahadur Thapa is coordinating the EPG from the Nepali side. Other Nepali EPG members include former chief commissioner of the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority Surya Nath Upadhyay, former law minister Nilambar Acharya and former CPN-UML lawmaker Rajan Bhattarai.
The Indian EPG members are former Indian envoy to Nepal Jayant Prasad, senior BJP leader Bhagat Singh Koshyari, former vice-chancellor of Sikkim University Mahendra Lama and VIF senior fellow BC Upreti.