1 year on, EPG’s progress ‘sluggish’One year since its formation, the Eminent Persons Group is struggling to reach a consensus on replacing the 1950 Treaty of Peace and Friendship between Nepal and India with a new charter.
One year since its formation, the Eminent Persons Group is struggling to reach a consensus on replacing the 1950 Treaty of Peace and Friendship between Nepal and India with a new charter.
Members say the fourth meeting of the EPG, which is taking place next week
in Dehradun, will deliberate on the issue. Members of the EPG cite the government’s non-cooperation and absence of timely meetings for the sluggish progress of the group.
“The only progress so far is ‘agreement in principle to review the treaty not in concrete terms,’ said a member on condition anonymity. The EPG, which has got two years to complete its task, is investing time and energy in the 1950 Treaty with fewer discussions on other issues.
Since the first meeting, the Nepali side is insisting on replacing the treaty with a new charter but there has not been any understanding between the two sides. The EPG is mandated to suggest ways to review bilateral relations in their entirety.
“The next meeting will focus on the 1950 Treaty and other issues,” said Bhekh Bahadur Thapa, a Nepali member of the EPG. The Nepali side has presented the clauses of the treaty that need to be amended in the changed context. The erstwhile government led by CPN-UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli had appointed the EPG members.
According to members, the Indian side has yet to come up with concrete position on the issue. Multiple sources confirmed that there will be discussion about replacing some “redundant” and discriminatory provisions of the treaty.
The Indian side has expressed displeasure at the leaking of information to the media on issues that are discussed in the meetings. However, according to a member, consensus on a draft to replace the treaty is unlikely in the near future. The
Indian side is not ready for fundamental changes in the treaty. Besides, the panel is discussing trade and transit issues and social and cultural relations between the two countries.
The EPG now also plans to go on a joint inspection of the border areas. Field visits are likely to start after the fourth meeting that is taking place on May 29-31 in India. Members of the Nepali side, however, have already started field visits.
EPG members will also be observing Tehri Dam, the highest hydropower dam in India. After the Dehradun meeting, EPG members will go to observe the dam in Uttarakhand.