1950 Treaty to changeThe Eminent Persons Group on Nepal-India relations has agreed to change the 1950 Treaty of Peace and Friendship even as the eight-member task force is yet to agree if the treaty should be replaced or amended.
The Eminent Persons Group on Nepal-India relations has agreed to change the 1950 Treaty of Peace and Friendship even as the eight-member task force is yet to agree if the treaty should be replaced or amended.
After agreeing to change the present status of the treaty that Nepal calls “unequal”, the sixth meeting of the EPG concluded in New Delhi on Friday. The group will now get down to writing the report to be submitted to the two governments by suggesting changes in the contentious treaty, including recommendations on improving other facets of bilateral relations.
The panel is tasked with preparing its final report by July-end, also addressing other bilateral issues concerning trade, transit, border and socio-cultural relations.
“The treaty will not remain the same. It will surely change but we cannot disclose at this moment what shape it will get. The Indian side too agreed not to retain it in its present form,” said Rajan Bhattarai, a member of the group.
Another member of the Nepali team told the Post from Delhi that the Indian side looked positive this time about amending the past treaties and agreements.
During the two-day meeting of the EPG that concluded in the Indian capital on Friday, the panel held a second-round discussion on the 1950 treaty, taking into view the positions from the two sides on all the ten articles.
“The treaty will take a new shape,” he said, without divulging the details. “Discussions are going on with the Indian side on what [arrangements] would be better for both the countries in the changed context.”
According to Bhattarai, the EPG discussed the template of the report. The meeting agreed to hold the seventh meeting in Kathmandu on February 24 and 25. The group is mandated to review Nepal-India relations in their entirety and suggest new measures to improve the ties in the changed domestic, regional and global contexts.
The team is also struggling to find common ground on managing the open border, settling boundary disputes, and fixing border pillars. Though the Boundary Working Group at the surveyor general’s level is tasked with completing technical works apart from the Susta and Kalapani areas, the EPG will provide some directives on how to manage the border and end the prolonged boundary row. Former foreign minister Bhekh Bahadur Thapa leads the Nepali side while former chief minister of Uttarakhand Bhagat Singh Koshiyari heads the Indian eminent persons’ team.