‘EPG report will help ‘reset’ Nepal-India ties’

Kathmandu, July 16

Minister of Foreign Affairs Pradeep Kumar Gyawali today said the report finalised by the Eminent Persons Group on Nepal-India Relations would help ‘reset’ Nepal-India relations in line with the realities of the 21st century.

He said the Nepal government was hopeful that the report would be implemented since the two prime ministers, who had taken a decision to set up the EPG, were still in the posts.

According to Gyawali, a meeting of the foreign ministers-level Nepal-India Joint Commission would be held soon where a gamut of issues related to bilateral relations would be discussed. Especially, the meeting will hold talks on agreements reached during Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s India visit and Indian PM Narendra Modi’s Nepal visit, and their effective implementation.

The sixth meeting of Nepal-India Oversight Mechanism, which includes Indian ambassador and Nepal’s foreign secretary, will be held in Kathmandu on July 18. Gyawali said the meeting would focus on implementation of bilateral projects, study if there are any hurdles and recommend solutions.

During Oli’s India visit, agreements on three areas of cooperation were signed — agriculture, railway and waterway. Gyawali said important achievements had been realised on these fronts.

He said a memorandum of understanding between Nepal and India on partnerships in organic farming, soil test health card, fertiliser imports, and agriculture research was expected to be signed soon. He said Nepali teams also visited various parts of India, including Sikkim, as part of the study.

The minister also said an MoU on Raxaul-Kathmandu railway had been drafted and would be signed soon. On the inland waterways front, Nepal and India have agreed to operate a 300-tonne ship until Bhaisalotan barrage on the Narayani River is built within two years under Indian technical assistance.

The government has also asked India’s GMR, the developer of Upper Karnali hydropower project, to conclude its financial closure soon.

According to the minister, after completing the study on floods and inundations from Tilathi to Parsa, the Nepal-India joint team will soon start studying in West Nawalparasi. The study will be carried out in three phases — pre-monsoon, monsoon and post-monsoon.

In order to make a comprehensive review of Nepal-India trade treaty, a meeting has been scheduled for the second week of August in New Delhi.

The minister also said that India’s trade department had eliminated restrictions on import of fresh ginger from Nepal.