South Asia and Beyond

In Talks With India, Nepal’s Foreign Minister Rakes Up Border Row

 In Talks With India, Nepal’s Foreign Minister Rakes Up Border Row

India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar (right) co-chaired the sixth India-Nepal Joint Commission meeting with Nepal’s foreign minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali in New Delhi on Friday

NEW DELHI: India bluntly told Nepal that any discussion on its so-called claims to Kalapani can only take place under a separate mechanism for settling boundary disputes. Nevertheless, Nepal’s foreign minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali raised the boundary dispute when the two sides met here on Friday for the sixth Joint Commission meeting.

There was no official word from the MEA after the talks wound up but the Nepali foreign ministry said: “The meeting
discussed the boundary matter and expressed the commitment to early completion of the boundary works in the remaining segments.”

Later, addressing the Indian Council of World Affairs, Gyawali said the two segments of Susta and Kalapani on the border
were not completely demarcated by the technical committee. He said, “…we desire to start the conversation with a view to resolving the question of
boundary alignment in the remaining segments”.

He said this would not only ensure a “fully settled international boundary” but would also “help instil greater degree of trust and confidence in bilateral relations”. Gyawali also insisted that the dispute was triggered after India first showed Kalapani on its map.
India, on the other hand, has maintained that all three regions are part of its territory.

For the record, Gyawali said Nepal would not allow its soil to be used against other countries, assuring that Nepal wants friendly ties with India.

Two other irritants came up: the report of the Eminent Persons Group on the 1950 Peace and Friendship Treaty between India and Nepal. As for the Covid19 vaccine which Nepal is seeking to procure from India, it will have to wait a while before its needs can be met. Delhi has made it clear to all countries that it cannot give specific datelines on its supplies.

The joint statement issued by the Ministry of External Affairs on the joint commission meeting said that “Nepal congratulated India on the remarkable success in production of Covishield and Covaxin vaccines in India and requested for early provision of vaccines to Nepal.”

Gyawali’s point: “Being next door, we believe we too will be availing these vaccines.”

Parul Chandra

Professional newshound, have navigated through typewriters, computers and mobile phones during my over three-decade-long career working in some of India's finest newsrooms (The Times of India, Financial Express). Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Bhutan are my focus, also Sri Lanka (when boss permits). Age and arthritis (that's a joke) have not dimmed the thrill of chasing a story. Loves music, animals and pasta.

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