Nepal and India want to be "more open" about discussing the bilateral issues. India’s Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao who has come to Nepal on her first official visit said so in her meetings with Nepal’s Foreign Minister Sujata Koirala and officials of the Nepal’s Foreign Ministry.

"We should be more open and hold frank discussions about our bilateral issues," Nepal’s Foreign Minister Sujata Koirala expressed her opinion and said that Ms Rao also had the similar view. "If our distance increases, others would try to take advantage of it," Ms Koirala added.

An agreement was also reached during the meetings to execute the mutually-agreed projects during Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal’s visit to India recently. "This would help establish even better relation of the two countries," Minister Koirala said.

The new Indian Foreign Secretary upon her arrival in Kathmandu said she would try to "strengthen the long-standing relationship of the two countries." In the recent days, border disputes and fake Indian currency have concerned the two countries.

While border problems that surfaced in June in Dang district where Nepali land was allegedly encroached by Shasastra Seema Bal (SSB) displacing hundreds of Nepalis has resulted in a trust deficit; India, on the other hand, has been seriously concerned about fake Indian currencies and the assault on its two priests who were beaten up by the Maoists recently in the Pashupatinath Temple premises.

Meanwhile, Ms Rao who is here on a two-day visit will be visiting the temple on Tuesday; she is also expected to meet the new priests. Sources at the Foreign Ministry said Ms Rao’s visit will also do the ground work preparation for the upcoming visit of India’s Commerce Minister to Kathmandu to finalise the agreement on Treaty of Trade and Agreement of Cooperation to Control Unauthorized Trade, which was initialized during PM Nepal’s visit to India.

A whole range of issues such as extradition treaty, fake currency, border problems, operation of direct flights from Kathmandu to six cities of India, Naumure Project and others will be discussed in depth when a home-secretary-level meeting will be held in Kathmandu during the first week of November.


Engaging Nepal: some difficult questions September 14, 2009

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