By Our Reporter
The Eminent Persons Group (EPG) on Nepal-India Relations has prepared the final joint report.
The ninth meeting of the EPG held in Kathmandu on Friday and Saturday finalised the report and announced that it completed its responsibilities assigned by Nepal and India.
The EPG was formed in 2016 following the Indian blockade to sort out all differences prevailing between Nepal and India.
Although the eighth meeting held in New Delhi in April 2018 was said to be its last meeting, the ninth meeting was called as the New Delhi meeting failed to sort out some of the issues. Now the group has finished its work.
Former foreign minister Bhekh B. Thapa leads the Nepali team in the EPG as coordinator with former minister Nilambar Acharya, Rajan Bhattarai and Surya Nath Upadhyaya as members. The Indian team led by Bhagat Singh Koshyari as the coordinator has Jayant Prasad, BC Upreti and Mahendra P. Lama as members.
“The EPG has sorted out all the issues between the two countries amicably. The group will now submit the joint report to the prime ministers of both the countries at the earliest,” said Dr. Bhekh Bahadur Thapa, coordinator of the EPG in Nepal, according to a news report published in The Rising Nepal on July 1.
The issues of the joint report would come into open discussion after submitting it to the prime ministers of Nepal and India.
India has agreed to address even the issue of 1950 Friendship Treaty.
Similarly, Nepal has assured the Indian side that the issue of border regulation between the two countries would be addressed in order to curb terrorism, extremism, illegal currency and drugs trafficking.
Cordial relations between the present governments of the two countries had also contributed to the timely conclusion of the joint report.
Coincidentally, the EPG was formed when KP Sharma Oli was Nepal’s Prime Minister in 2016 and it concluded its task during his second stint in the office. The issue was included in the joint press statement of PM Oli and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi issued during Oli’s visit to India early this year.
However, it looks unlikely that India will implement the recommendations of the report as India always wants its upper hand in Nepal’s internal affairs.