South Asia

Sushma in Nepal; joint panel meet today

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on her arrival at the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu on Friday.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on her arrival at the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu on Friday.  

Hours before External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj arrived in Kathmandu on Friday, the Nepal Cabinet approved the agenda for a meeting of the Foreign Minister-level Joint Commission of the two nations on Saturday, which is being held after 23 years.

The agenda includes exploring cooperation on economy, border and security issues, hydropower projects and arts and culture.

The commission was formed 27 years ago as the highest authority to discuss and review the entire gamut of bilateral relations. It was to meet every alternate year in the two capitals, but no meetings had taken place after the second one.

Joint Commission meeting being held after 23 years

Earlier, the three major political parties — the ruling Nepali Congress and the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist–Leninist) and the Opposition Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) — agreed to make the meetings with Indian leaders fruitful. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected here for a two-day visit on August 3.

Leaders of the three parties, meeting at the invitation of Prime Minister Sushil Koirala, were unanimous that the visits should be used an opportunity to take the ties between the two countries to the next level.

“Let us make the visits focussed and specific,” Mr. Koirala said at the meeting at his official residence, according to his Foreign Policy Adviser, Dinesh Bhattarai.

Narayan Kaji Shrestha of the UCPN (Maoist) told presspersons that while the parties wanted to expand and improve ties, they decided not to sign any agreement with India in haste, without adequate preparation.

Dr. Bhattarai told The Hindu that signing of any agreement would depend on the meeting between the two Foreign Ministers under the aegis of the Joint Commission.

“I am here within two months of the formation of the new government in India,” Ms. Swaraj said.

She pointed out that resumption of the Joint Commission meetings demonstrated the importance India accorded to its relations with Nepal. “I am very hopeful of the outcome of the visit,” she said.

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Printable version | May 28, 2020 8:51:30 AM |

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