EPG talks make ‘significant progress’

Kathmandu, January 11

The sixth meeting of the Eminent Persons Group on Nepal-India relations which kicked-off in New Delhi, India, today continued discussions on regular bilateral issues such as those related to the 1950 treaty, trade and transit, water resources, floods, and border issues, among others.

The meeting also discussed the ‘format’ of the joint report that the EPG has to submit to the two governments after the talks conclude in July this year, according to Yadav Khanal, secretary at EPG Secretariat in Kathmandu, who is accompanying the Nepali EPG members to the meeting.

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.

“The talks are taking place in a harmonious environment. We are making significant progress on all fronts,” Khanal said over phone from New Delhi. “However, the meeting has not reached any conclusion and no decisions have been taken yet.”

The meeting will continue tomorrow, where the same issues will be followed up.

Prior to their departure to New Delhi, the Nepali EPG members had met Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and other top political leaders including CPN-UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli and CPN-Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal to update them about the developments so far and for their inputs.

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.

The EPG has been mandated to submit a joint report to the respective governments including recommendations to resolve all contentious issues in Nepal-India relations.