Third EPG meeting: Clause-wise discussion on 1950 treaty beginsThe third meeting of the Eminent Persons Group on Nepal-India Relations (EPG-NIR) on Wednesday started clause-wise discussions on the 1950 Peace and Friendship Treaty.
The third meeting of the Eminent Persons Group on Nepal-India Relations (EPG-NIR) on Wednesday started clause-wise discussions on the 1950 Peace and Friendship Treaty.
The Nepali side had recommended either an update or revision to the treaty during the second meeting held in October in New Delhi. The first meeting was held in Kathmandu in July.
Nilamber Acharya, a member from the Nepali side, made a presentation on the 1950 treaty and its provisions.
Historically, the 1950 Peace and Friendship Treaty has been one of the most contentious issues in Nepal-India relations, with critics often arguing that the treaty boxes Nepal as India’s subservient neighbour.
Acharya, during his presentation, put forth the Nepali side’s proposal that some of the provisions of the treaty can either be amended or scrapped altogether.
Similarly, another member Rajan Bhattarai put issues related to trade and transit and Nepal’s trade imbalance with India on the table and suggested further measures to be taken by both sides.
Surya Nath Upadhyay, another member from the Nepali side, presented the status of water resources cooperation between Nepal and India and past accords relating to the Mahakali, Koshi and Gandak rivers.
Bhekh Bahadur Thapa leads the Nepali side.
The EPG, which has four members each from Nepal and India, is entrusted with the responsibility of putting together a mutually agreed document to suggest ways to strengthen bilateral ties in view of evolving regional dynamics and world order.
Members from the Indian side are former vice-chancellor of Sikkim University and professor at Jawaharlal University Mahendra P Lama, former Indian ambassador to Nepal Jayant Prasad and Vivekananda International Foundation senior fellow BC Upreti. The Indian side is led by senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Bhagat Singh Koshiyari.
Indian members are learnt to have expressed positive views about Nepal’s proposal to amend or update the 1950 treaty in the changed context.
From the Indian side, Prasad mostly focused on the 1950 treaty while Prof Lama spoke on trade and transit issue. Lama made an 11-page presentation on present arrangements and bottlenecks and suggested future cooperation on the issue.