India, Nepal Foreign Secretaries Hold Bilateral Talks


In her first visit to India since assuming charge, Nepal’s Foreign Secretary Sewa Lamsal met her Indian counterpart Vinay Kwatra…reports Asian Lite News

In a further fillip to India-Nepal relations, foreign secretaries from both countries met in the capital on Wednesday and held discussions on the entire range of multifaceted cooperation between the South Asian neighbours.

In her first visit to India since assuming charge, Nepal’s Foreign Secretary Sewa Lamsal met her Indian counterpart Vinay Kwatra and the two also followed up on the 7th India-Nepal Joint Commission Meeting.

This meeting was co-chaired by the External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and the Foreign Minister of Nepal N. P. Saud in Kathmandu last month.

Sewa Lamsal arrived in New Delhi on Tuesday to participate in the 8th Asia Economic Dialogue 2024, which is being jointly convened by the Ministry of External Affairs and Pune International Centre on February 29 in Pune.

The 2024 Dialogue is focused on the theme ‘Geo-economic Challenges in an Era of Flux’ and will witness a large number of speakers from different countries.

On her arrival, she met S. Jaishankar on Tuesday who was “pleased” to hear about the the progress in bilateral relations between the two countries.

“Happy to receive Foreign Secretary @sewa_lamsal of Nepal today in Delhi. Pleased to hear from her about progress in various aspects of our bilateral relations,” EAM Jaishankar wrote in a post on X.

The Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement on Wednesday that Lamsal’s visit is in “keeping with the tradition of regular high-level exchanges between the two countries and the priority India attaches to its relations with Nepal under its ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy”.

The visit, it said, also provides an opportunity to further advance bilateral ties.

Lamsal, who assumed the charge in December 2023, will return to Kathmandu on March 1.

‘Preparations on to receive Eminent Persons Group report’

Nepal’s Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal aka ‘Prachanda’ on Wednesday confirmed that preparations are in progress to receive the report from the Eminent Persons Group (EPG) on Nepal-India relations.

Responding to queries raised by members of the National Concern and Coordination Committee under the National Assembly, the Prime Minister stated that internal preparations have been initiated to coordinate the simultaneous reception of reports from both countries.

“EPG was formed in coordination between the two countries and has been prepared accordingly. Both the governments will receive it and announce it as it shows the continued coordination, the preparations are progressing with both sides doing their homework,” Nepali Prime Minister Dahal said.

The EPG was established by the governments of both countries to review and assess past agreements between Nepal and India.

In 2011-2013, then Maoist leader Baburam Bhattarai also the Prime Minister back then floated the idea of forming a group of noted personalities from both the countries to review the bilateral ties and make recommendations in the form of a joint report. Bhattarai had floated the proposal to then Prime Minister and Indian Congress leader Manmohan Singh.

Nilamber Acharya, former ambassador to India; Rajan Bhattarai, former foreign relations adviser to Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli; and Surya Nath Upadhyay, former chief commissioner of the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority, were appointed members from the Nepali side in the EPG group. The Indian side was led by Bhagat Singh Koshiyari, a BJP leader, with Jayant Prasad, former Indian ambassador to Nepal, Mahendra P Lama, a university professor, and BC Upreti, a scholar, as member.

The EPG finalised its report in the first week of July 2018 and sought time from the prime ministers of Nepal and India to submit it. The bilateral mechanism was mandated to review Nepal-India ties in totality and make recommendations, but it was made clear in the terms of reference that its suggestions would not be binding.


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