Third EPG meeting to be held in Pokhara next week

Kathmandu, December 12

Nepal is hosting the third meeting of Eminent Persons Group on Nepal-India relations in Pokhara on December 22 and 23.

Secretary of EPG Secretariat Yadav Khanal said that Pokhara was selected as the venue upon request from the Indian side of the EPG to hold its meeting outside the Valley this fall. The venue is fixed at Hotel Da Yatra, he added.

Secretary Khanal said Indian EGP members have also conveyed that they would host the fourth EPG meeting outside the Indian capital New Delhi in March. As per the understanding, the meeting happens every three months in Nepal and India, alternatively.

EPG, a joint mechanism with four members each from Nepal and India, was formed in February to look over existing bilateral treaties and agreements and evaluate if they need any revision. The first EPG meeting was held in Kathmandu in July, and the second meeting in New Delhi in October.

EPG Coordinator from the Nepali side Bhekh Bahadur Thapa said some of the agendas of the meeting are to further review the Nepal-India Peace and Friendship Treaty of 1950, the existing trade regime, and cooperation in sharing water resources between Nepal and India.

The issue of the 1950 treaty was discussed in the earlier two meetings too. But, the two sides are yet to come up with concrete positions on these issues and find common ground.

In earlier meetings, both sides had agreed to keep the title of the 66-year-old treaty intact, but to contextualise some of its provisions.

On the issue of water resources, both sides will review the entire Nepal-India water-related treaties and agreements that include the Koshi Treaty, the Gandak Treaty, and the Mahakali Treaty, an official said.