Sixth EPG meet to kick off today in New Delhi

Kathmandu, January 10

Members of the Eminent Persons Group on Nepal-India relations today reached New Delhi for its sixth meeting which will be held tomorrow and on Friday.

The meeting gives continuity to the dialogue between the two sides, where deliberations will be held on bilateral issues related to the 1950 treaty, trade and transit, water resources, floods, and border issues, among others, according to Yadav Khanal, secretary at EPG Secretariat, who is accompanying the Nepali EPG members to the meeting.

Khanal told over phone from New Delhi that the meeting would also finalise the ‘format’ of the joint report that the EPG had to submit to the two governments after the talks.

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.

Prior to their departure to New Delhi, the Nepali EPG members yesterday met Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and updated him about the developments so far. During the meeting, PM Deuba told the EPG members to work with national interest as well as the people’s interest in mind, said the PM’s Foreign Affairs Adviser Dinesh Bhattarai.

The EPG members had also met CPN-UML Chairman KP Oli and CPN-Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal on Monday and discussed the same issues. “The meeting was a courtesy call before our departure to India,” said Khanal.

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.