India has reiterated its willingness to review the controversial 1950 Nepal-India Friendship Treaty. Indian Minister for External Affairs S.M. Krishna who is here on a three-day visit has told this to Nepal’s Deputy Prime Minister Sujata Koirala who also holds the portfolio of Foreign Affairs.
“India is positive to review the Treaty,” Ms. Koirala told reporters after meeting her Indian counterpart in Kathmandu. She said times have changed since the treaty was signed. Although there were agreements in the past between the two countries to review the treaty, the latest remark from India has come a day after the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) burnt copies of “unequal agreements” Nepal signed with India, including the 1950 Treaty. The Maoists have launched a movement to protect Nepal’s sovereignty since January. They say Nepal’s sovereignty is in danger because of foreign interference, pointing at India. But Mr. Krishna told journalists that Nepal was top priority in India’s foreign policy.He will be meeting Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Sujata Koirala said she told the Indian side that Nepal would give India’s security concerns a big priority. She also discussed ways to deal with cross-border problems, detection of fake currency, human and drug trafficking, and other problems at the border.
Mr. Krishna, who is here on a three-day visit, also met with Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal on Friday. He would be meeting President Ram Baran Yadav and Nepali Congress President Girija Prasad Koirala on Saturday. He will also be laying foundation of the Integrated Check Post in Birgunj.
Ms. Koirala and Mr. Krishna signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to strengthen road infrastructure in the Terai region of Nepal. The assistance is worth NPR 1300 crore.
Three other MoUs in presence of the Ministers were also signed between Nepal and India which include electrification of five village development committees, establishment of Nepal-Bharat Maitri Science Learning Center in Nepal, and an agreement between Nepal Stock Exchange Limited and Central Depository Services (India).