Fourth meeting of Eminent Persons Group begins in DehradunThe fourth meeting of Nepal-India Eminent Persons Group (EPG) kicked off in Dehradun, India on Monday. The two-day meeting would fix the date of another engagement.
The fourth meeting of Nepal-India Eminent Persons Group (EPG) kicked off in Dehradun, India on Monday. The two-day meeting would fix the date of another engagement.
According to members, Peace and Friendship Treaty 1950 continues to take the central stage of deliberations since its first meeting. Discussions are under way on the key provisions of the treaty after Nepali team presented clause-wise viewpoint on how it wants to amend the 65-year-old treaty.
“The achievement so far is that serious deliberations have begun on some key provisions of the treaty and discussions are advancing gradually,” said a member of the EPG, requesting anonymity. Many provisions of the treaty remain unimplemented, some of them are redundant, while others need modifications in the changed context of several international treaties and conventions to which both Nepal and India are parties.
While the Indian side has already expressed its reactions to some issues, it is yet to come up with a clear viewpoint on some others, especially the sensitive ones. As Nepal had said during the previous engagements that the treaty was unequal and redundant, the India side had requested to come up with the terms on how it wants to replace/amend the treaty.
According to sources, India has demanded further justifications from the Nepal side on some of the clauses that latter wants to be scrapped. Members of the group are reluctant to share the details of progress as the Indian side has expressed objection to taking the issues of discussions to the media. Considering interest among the people regarding the treaty, the Nepali side, however, insists the need to inform the people on the progress.
Though much time and energy have been invested on the peace treaty, according to members, they are simultaneously discussing on other issues. The other vital issues are problems faced by Nepal, mainly on trade and transit.
This has two components: first, the day-to-day problems faced by Nepal and second, the long-term issues related to transit and trade between the two countries.
“The progress made last year is that all issues are
on the table and discussions are under way. But we have not reached to any conclusion on any single issue yet,” said the member.
Other issues being discussed are related to social and cultural relations between the two neighbours.
“We are on the right track up until now. Let’s see how the discussion evolves,” he said, expressing hope that the EPG will come up with a consensus proposal.
The EPG, however, has not entered into the issues related to borders, including border disputes. According to another member, they are planning to visit the border areas to gather more information. That is likely to take place after the next round of meeting in Kathmandu.