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Indian PM Modi’s tight schedule leaves EPG report in limbo

- SURESH RAJ NEUPANE, NEW DELHI

Jul 26, 2018-

The fate of joint report prepared by Eminent Persons’ Group (EPG) on Nepal-India relations has been shrouded in uncertainty because of the hectic schedule of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. PM Modi, who is currently on a five-day tour to three African countries, will return to Delhi on Saturday.

The EPG was tasked with making recommendations on reviewing various treaties and agreements between the two countries including 1950 Treaty of Peace and Friendship.

The ninth meeting of the EPG that concluded in Kathmandu on June 30 had prepared a single joint report that will be submitted to the prime ministers of Nepal and India. The two-year tenure of EPG ended on July 4.

The Kathmandu meeting had decided to hand over the report to the prime ministers of Nepal and India at formal programmes. It was agreed that the report will be submitted first to Indian PM Modi in New Delhi and then to PM KP Oli in Kathmadu. But the date for submitting the report to PM Modi has not been finalised because of Modi’s tight schedule. “We are in constant touch with Indian side. Hopefully the submission date will be finalised soon,” said Bhekh Bahadur Thapa, Nepal coordinator of the group.

India coordinator of EPG, Bhagat Singh Koshiyari said they have been waiting for PM Modi’s time to submit the report.  He said the report will be submitted by the second week of August. He added that External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has already been informed about it.

The single report was drafted after both sides agreed to replace the 1950 Treaty of Peace and Friendship by a new one, to regulate the Nepal-India border by making people produce identity cards while crossing over to either side, and to jointly tackle common challenges in areas of combating terrorism, extremism, fake-currency and all kinds of trafficking, among other bilateral issues.

After the EPG submits the report, the onus lies on the governments of Nepal and India to implement the recommendations. The report carries suggestions on resetting the centuries-old bilateral relations that entail political and economic matters. The recommendations concern trade, commerce, water resource, people-to-people contact and cultural ties, said Nepali members.

Published: 26-07-2018 17:52

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