PM Dahal’s India visit should be discussed in House, says MPUML’s Raghuji Pant says Nepal should pull out of the 1950 peace and friendship treaty if India refuses to review it.
The CPN-UML has demanded that Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal’s upcoming visit to India be discussed in parliament. Although both the Nepali and Indian governments have yet to announce the date for the visit, CPN-UML lawmaker Raghuji Pant speaking in parliament on Tuesday demanded a thorough discussion on the visit.
Officials said internal preparations for the prime minister’s visit are going on and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is consulting line ministries to work out the agenda as there are many issues needing discussion at the high-level. But the visit date has yet to be confirmed owing to some technical reasons, they said.
“We heard that the prime minister is visiting India in April-end, but the government has not yet informed parliament and we have to rely on second-hand information from the media,” Pant complained, adding, “If he is invited respectfully then he should pay a visit. And he should strive to make it fruitful.”
Officials, meanwhile, said they could not confirm the visit because it is still under consideration, but added that it is likely to happen in the second-half of May.
“Important issues like the prime minister’s India visit should be discussed in parliament,” Pant stressed.
“We have been witnessing some friction in our ties for a long time and they are yet to be resolved,” said Pant. “They are related to our independence, our economic development and developmental endeavours.”
As Pant said, India is dilly-dallying on reviewing the 1950 peace and friendship treaty which first was requested by Prime Minister Manmohan Adhikari. Adhikari was the prime minister from CPN-UML for nine months and raised the issue of reviewing the Nepal-India Peace and Friendship Treaty with his Indian counterpart during his India visit in 1995.
Later in 2016, Nepal and India formed an eight-member eminent persons’ group (EPG) on Nepal-India relations which was mandated to suggest a new blueprint for bilateral ties in changed global and regional contexts including on how to review the 1950 peace and friendship treaty. The eight-member panel prepared a comprehensive report in July 2018, but the governments of both the countries have ignored the report.
“If India does not want to replace the 1950s peace and friendship treaty, there is no obligation for Nepal to unilaterally adhere to the treaty. The Saarc Summit remains stalled for a long time. If India does not want to participate in a Saarc summit in Pakistan then Nepal, as Saarc chair, should organise the summit in Kathmandu,” Pant added.
He also asked the government to ask India to give air-route permission for the Gautam Buddha International Airport of Bhairahawa and raise the ballooning trade deficit issue seriously.
“Nepal has been embittered in treaties like Koshi and Gandak. Our focus should be on updating these treaties,” added Pant.