Indian and Nepalese diplomats on Monday met in Kathmandu and reviewed the status of a number of ongoing bilateral projects. This is the first diplomat-level meeting between the two sides in the current year that saw the Kalapani territorial dispute . The talks marked the Eighth Meeting of Nepal-India Oversight Mechanism. The meeting did not take up the territorial dispute but the officials reviewed the status of construction of bridges over the Mahakali river, which is near the disputed region.
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“Both sides underlined the need for the expeditious implementation of the bilateral projects. In this connection, they agreed to undertake necessary measures to timely address problems and obstacles in the course of implementation”, declared a press statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Nepal.
The two teams, led by Nepalese Foreign Secretary Shankar Bairagi and Indian Ambassador in Kathmandu Vinay Mohan Kwatra discussed cross-border railways, Arun-III hydropower project, petroleum products, pipelines, Pancheshwar multipurpose project, post earthquake reconstruction, irrigation, power and transmission lines, construction of Nepal Police Academy and Ramayana projects among other items.
The discussion came two days after Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli greeted his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi on the 74th Independence day of India and sought “meaningful bilateral dialogue”. The Oversight Mechanism is not usually tasked with discussing controversial border disputes between India and Nepal that are in the domain of the two Foreign Secretaries alone. Nepal has urged India to convene a Foreign Secretary-level dialogue to discuss the territorial disputes of Susta and Kalapani but New Delhi has not yet agreed on a possible date.