KATHMANDU, Nov 27: Breaking a year-long communication gap due to ongoing border dispute between Nepal and India, Indian Foreign Secretary arrived in Kathmandu on Thursday on a two-day official visit to Nepal. Both sides have hoped to resume high-level communication with the beginning of the high-level interaction between the two countries.
Visiting Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla, who arrived in Kathmandu on a two-day official visit to Nepal on Thursday, held a discussion with this Nepali counterpart Bharat Raj Paudyal. They agreed to take additional steps to expedite the works of mutual cooperation during the talks. “We had a very fruitful meeting,” said Shringla and added, “We have discussed multiple issues of mutual cooperation.”
The meeting dwelt on the issue of border dispute between two countries which surfaced after the southern neighbor unveiled its political map that included Nepali territories of Limpiyadhura and Kalapani last year.
According to a source, the two sides agreed to resolve the border issues through talks. In the first meeting at the foreign secretary level a year after the border issue, the two sides also reviewed the progress made with regard to the bilateral cooperation projects, including the key connectivity projects and post-earthquake reconstruction works. “They also discussed the boundary matters and exchanged views on completing the boundary work in the remaining areas,” reads the statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA).
Although Nepal had urged India to hold foreign secretary level meetings multiple times, India cited the pandemic for the delays. However, Nepal has seen several high-level visits from India recently. Earlier, the chief of the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), Samant Goel, visited Nepal on October 21 and Indian Army Chief Manoj Mukund Naravane on November 4.
They also reviewed various aspects of Nepal-India relations, covering trade, transit, connectivity, infrastructure, energy, agriculture, investment, culture, people to people relations, among others.
The two foreign secretaries discussed ways to strengthen the strong cultural and civilizational bonds that exist between the two countries and further build on the solid foundation of the multifaceted friendly relations between the people and the countries.
Shringla also met President Bidya Devi Bhandari, Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli and Minister for Foreign Affairs Pradeep Kumar Gyawali on Thursday afternoon. Issues of mutual interests were discussed during the meetings. The two sides shared their experiences on the efforts to fight against the pandemic. They discussed India’s progress in developing the COVID-19 vaccine.
The Indian Foreign Secretary said that his visit was aimed at further deepening bilateral ties between the two countries. He also said he wanted to come to Nepal earlier but he couldn't do so due to the pandemic.
Shringla is scheduled to visit Gorkha on Friday to inspect the quake-hit houses under construction with the Indian assistance and inaugurate the reconstructed schools there. He is also visiting Manang to inaugurate a monastery recently reconstructed with India’s assistance. He is also scheduled to address a virtual program on Nepal-India friendly relations.
The Indian Foreign Secretary Shringla is scheduled to return to New Delhi on Friday.