‘No one will be disappointed after report is out’

Kathmandu, February 25

The Eminent Persons Group on Nepal-India Relations today said nobody would be disappointed after the mechanism comes up with its final report.

Addressing a press conference after the conclusion of the seventh meeting here today, senior BJP leader and coordinator of the EPG from India Bhagat Singh Koshyari said the meetings had not missed any issue related to Nepal-India relations.

“We have not missed any issue. In fact, we have even gone beyond our mandate in terms of the subjects of discussions so that the bilateral relations are harmonious,” he said. “Today, we are very fortunate and very lucky enough that we are about to reach a conclusion where every one of us will be happy. I can assure you that from the side of the Government of India.”

Terming Nepal-India relations ‘eternal’ and ‘exemplary’, Koshyari said the 1950 treaty might have been signed to avoid any misunderstanding in the relations and that the relations could continue without any problem.

“But time and circumstances change. New types of problems arise and sometimes there are uninvited questions. The solution is dialogue,” he said, adding that that’s why the prime ministers of the two countries took such an informed decision to constitute the EPG so that people-to-people talks could be held apart from regular government-to-government talks. “Our aim is to bring right perception about any misunderstandings, and plug any holes in the relations.”

Congratulating the Nepali people for exhibiting maturity and enthusiasm for the successful holding of all three phases of elections — local, provincial and parliamentary, Koshyari said the EPG talks were centred on development. “How can we cooperate with each other in terms of development? How can we be helpful to each other? How can we look after the interest of each other? We have discussed in detail every aspect,” he said.

On the occasion, Bhekh Bahadur Thapa, who coordinates the Eminent Persons Group from the Nepali side, said the seventh meeting ended in a very harmonious environment and there were no disputes.

Both sides have presented respective views on all aspects of bilateral relations and response has been positive, according to Thapa. “Wherever we’ve reached so far, we cannot term the development anything else, but positive,” he said. “The EPG was formed to strengthen Nepal-India relations and make them compatible with the present context, and we are heading towards that direction.”

Thapa also said that the EPG was giving final touches to the report to be presented to both the governments. The eighth EPG meeting will be held in India in the last week of March. 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.

The EPG, whose two-year tenure ends in July, 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.