Foreign Minister Gyawali holds talks with Indian Defence Minister SinghIndia’s relations with Nepal are not limited to governments in both the countries but driven by the people of both the nations, Singh says on Twitter.
Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali, who is on a three-day visit to New Delhi, met with Rajnath Singh, union defense minister of India, on Saturday and discussed bilateral issues, including ways to further strengthen Nepal-India ties.
“Had a wonderful meeting with the Foreign Minister of Nepal, today,” Singh wrote on Twitter after the meeting. “India’s relations with Nepal are not limited to governments in both the countries but it is driven by the people of both the nations. India-Nepal relations offer limitless potential.”
Gyawali arrived in Delhi on Thursday to participate in the Sixth Meeting of the Nepal-India Joint Commission, the highest level mechanism that deals with the entire gamut of bilateral relations between the two countries.
On Friday, Gyawali and his Indian counterpart S Jaishaker co-chaired the Sixth Meeting of Joint Commission, where Nepal-India relations, cooperation on Covid-19 vaccine and other issues like trade, commerce, connectivity, status of India-funded projects in Nepal among others were discussed.
Despite the Nepali side raising the boundary row, the Indian side showed reluctance to get into the matter, saying the issue should be left for the foreign secretary level mechanism and the Boundary Working Group to deal with.
Nepal-India ties, which started to sour in November 2019 after Delhi published a new political map of India placing Kalpani within Indian borders, hit a rock bottom in May last year.
In the first week of May, Singh virtually inaugurated a road link via Lipulekh to Kailash Mansarovar in the Tibet Autonomous Region of China, sparking furore in Nepal. In response, Kathmandu got a new Nepal map endorsed from the Parliament, depicting Kalapani, Lipulekh and Limpiyadhura as Nepali territories.
Delhi objected to the move, calling Nepal’s action cartographic assertions.
Nepal, however, has maintained that the territories belong to Nepal and the KP Sharma Oli government made claims that it would bring the land back.
During his address to the upper house last week, Oli said that Gyawali was travelling to New Delhi and would take up the boundary issue with India.
However, as soon as Gyawali landed in Delhi on Thursday, India hinted boundary talks were unlikely.
“Our position on the boundary issue is well known,” Anurag Srivastava, spokesperson for India’s Ministry of External Affairs, said during a regular press briefing on Thursday. “The joint commission and boundary talks are two different mechanisms.”
Gyawali’s is the first visit to India at the highest level from Kathmandu in over a year. His trip to Delhi follows a flurry of visits from India in October and November, when the southern neighbour sent its foreing spy chief, the army chief and foreign secretary, in signs of rapprochement.