Kathmandu, May 19

The Eminent Persons Group on Nepal-India Relations is likely to reach an understanding on replacing the Nepal-India Peace and Friendship Treaty of 1950 with a new charter.

The fourth EPG meeting is being held in Dehradun of India from May 29 to 31. Nepali members of the EPG are heading for India on May 28 to participate in the meeting, according to Yadav Khanal, secretary at EPG Secretariat in Nepal.

The expert panel has agreed in principle to enact a new charter in place of the 67-year-old Peace and Friendship Treaty of 1950 during its third meeting which was held in Kathmandu from March 5 to 6. In Dehradun, EPG members from both sides will discuss and try to reach an agreement on the content of the new charter, according to a source.

The EPG is a joint mechanism of Nepal and India formed to make necessary recommendations on reviewing, revising or updating all existing bilateral treaties and agreements. The body has four members each from Nepal and India.

Yadav said the Dehradun meeting had no specific agenda, but would discus all previous agendas, including the 1950’s treaty and the provisions of the new charter. Coordinator of Nepali side of EPG Bhekh Bahadur Thapa had earlier said that the issue of replacement of the treaty would be further discussed during the next EPG meeting.

Nepal had not become a member of the United Nations when the charter was signed between the last Rana prime minister of Nepal Mohan Shumsher Jung Bahadur Rana and the then Indian Ambassador to Nepal Chandreshwar Narain Singh, in Kathmandu, on 31 July 1950.

The document has remained contentious for decades as some of its provisions — including Article (5) and Article (7) — were construed in Nepal as being against the principle of sovereign equality between the two nations.