Resumption of meetings indicate thaw in relation

  • nepal-india bilateral engagement
- KAMAL DEV BHATTARAI, New Delhi

Jun 6, 2016- Nepal and India are set to resume meetings of several bilateral mechanisms indicating a thaw in relation between the two neighbours that remained strained since Nepal promulgated new constitution in September last year.

A bilateral meeting on water resources and irrigation was held in the Indian capital last week and several meetings are on pipeline, many of them scheduled to take place within this month, according to officials on both sides.
Top Nepali and Indian officials here say the resumption of bilateral meetings at various levels will serve as an opportunity to bridge the trust deficit. 
“The resumption of bilateral meetings is expected to build an environment of trust between the two countries,” said a senior official at Indian Ministry of External Affairs. The official added that maintaining a cordial relation with Kathmandu has always been Delhi’s priority.
Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s visit to India in February helped normalise the relation between the two countries. However, the sudden cancellation of President Bidhya Devi Bhandari’s visit last month once again created a friction between the two. Kathmandu’s decision to recall its ambassador was another issue of discontent. 
Officials of Nepal-India Bilateral Consultative Group on Security (NIBCGS) are meeting this week to discuss matters related to defence cooperation. The meeting could not be held in 2015.
Similarly, bilateral meetings on border, trade, construction of pipeline, energy, among others are scheduled for this month. 
The meeting of Eminent Persons Group (EPG), a bilateral mechanism formed to review the relation between two countries, is also taking place after some delay.
Acting Nepali Ambassador to Delhi Krishna Prasad Dhakal said resumption of bilateral meetings will help normalise ties between the two neighbours. The bilateral meetings got a momentum when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Nepal in 2015. However, all the meetings were halted after the border blockade in 2015.
Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Kamal Thapa is arriving in India on Monday on a three-day visit in a bid to resume stalled bilateral engagement. He is scheduled to attend a maiden convocation ceremony of South Asian University upon his arrival.
Thapa, who is visiting Delhi for the fifth time since the formation of CPN (UML) government, is scheduled to hold talks with Indian Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj before his return on June 12. This will be the first top-level meeting between the two sides after the cancellation of President’s visit.

Published: 06-06-2016 08:18

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