KATHMANDU, June 14: Nepal and the UK have agreed to continue discussions to resolve various issues raised by former Gurkha veterans including pay parity.
A joint communiqué issued after the conclusion of the visit of Prime Minister KP Oli stated that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) of the UK and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) of Nepal acknowledged the long and distinguished service of Gurkhas in the British Army. “The two sides recognized Gurkhas as a vital link in strengthening the bilateral relationship. Going forward, both sides agreed to continue the discussion on Gurkha matters,” it said.
Agitating Gurkha veterans, who have demanded Nepal and the UK government form a high-level dialogue team to resolve their demand for pay parity and pension as per the report submitted by Technical Committee earlier this year, have termed this “inadequate”. “Although this seems to have recognized our demands, this is not adequate. We want both the governments to form a high-level dialogue team at the earliest and address our demands in line with the recommendations made by the Technical Committee,” said General Secretary of Gurkhas Joint Satyagraha Struggle Committee (FGJSSC)-Nepal-UK S B Ghising.
According to the joint statement, both sides discussed the shared objective to strengthen the trade and investment relationship between Britain and Nepal, in line with Nepal's “Prosperous Nepal, Happy Nepali” agenda. “… Nepal agreed to seek to improve still further the environment for inward investment and the UK will provide support to encourage potential investors to invest in Nepal,” it said.
To help deliver this, both sides noted the progress made in negotiations on a Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement and agreed with the aim of it entering into force by 2020. Going forward, the UK welcomed Nepal's desire to obtain a sovereign rating working with UK financial institutions.