Eighth Nepal-India EPG meet concludes

Kathmandu, April 13

The eighth meeting of the Eminent Persons Group on Nepal-India Relations, which had kicked off in New Delhi yesterday, concluded today.

The meeting, which was focused on finalising the report to be presented to both the governments, made further progress on bilateral issues under discussion and the next meeting has been fixed for June 1 to 3 in Kathmandu, according to Rajan Bhattarai, an EPG member representing Nepal. “We were able to narrow down the perspectives in this meeting and will try to make the next meeting the last one to finalise the report,” said Bhattarai over the phone from New Delhi.

The EPG, whose two-year tenure ends in July this year, has been mandated to come up with a comprehensive report on anything that needs to be updated, adjusted or amended in all exiting bilateral treaties, agreements, understandings, including the Peace and Friendship Treaty of 1950.

At the end of the seventh meeting in Kathmandu, the EPG members had said they were giving final touches to the report to be presented to both the governments. During Prime Minister KP Oli’s recent India visit, Oli and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi had also said that the recommendations put forth by the EPG would be accepted.

“PM Oli’s India visit has definitely given a fresh impetus,” a participant of the meeting had said yesterday.

The body has four members each from Nepal and India. Nepali EPG members include former foreign minister Bhekh Bahadur Thapa, former chief commissioner of the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority Surya Nath Upadhyay, former law minister Nilamber Acharya and CPN-UML leader Rajan Bhattarai.

The Indian EPG members are senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Bhagat Singh Koshyari, former vice-chancellor of Sikkim University Mahendra Lama, former Indian ambassador to Nepal Jayant Prasad and VIF senior fellow BC Upreti.