Nepal and India agree to continue discussion on bilateral issues as PM Oli holds telephone conversation with his Indian counterpart

Published On: August 16, 2020 08:20 AM NPT By: Santosh Ghimire  | @journonepali

Oli appreciates Modi’s ‘renewed priority’ to the neighborhood as spelt out in his today’s Independence Day address

KATHMANDU, Aug 16: Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi held a telephone conversation earlier on Saturday afternoon.

During the 15-minute long conversation, Prime Minister Oli extended hearty congratulations to Indian Prime Minister Modi and people of India on the occasion of the 74th Independence Day of India. Prime Minister Oli also expressed best wishes for the continued progress and prosperity of the people of India

On the occasion, Oli appreciated Modi’s ‘renewed priority’ to the neighborhood as spelt out in his today’s Independence Day address. He said that Nepal looked forward to meaningful bilateral cooperation, read a statement released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA).

The two Prime Ministers also agreed to continue discussions on bilateral matters in the future. Although the two prime ministers, according to sources, did not specifically talk about the border issue, foreign policy observers in Kathmandu have termed the agreement between the two countries to continue discussion on bilateral issues as positive development. They hope that this could pave way for a meaningful dialogue between the two countries in the near future. 

This is the first conversation between the two prime ministers after Nepal endorsed a new political map that includes Kalapani, Lipu Lekh and Limpiyadhura currently being administered by India. While maintaining that these territories historically belonged to Nepal, Kathmandu has sought a dialogue with New Delhi to resolve this decade-long issue once and for all. Indian side so far has not positively responded to Nepal’s call for dialogue, according to government officials.

The development comes two days before the scheduled talks between Nepal and India to assess the progress made on the India-funded development projects in Nepal. The 'scheduled oversight mechanism' meeting will be represented by Foreign Secretary Shanker Das Bairagi from Nepal and Indian Ambassador to Nepal Vinay Mohan Kwatra from India. 

During the telephone conversation, the two executive heads also exchanged views on the latest efforts in the fight against COVID-19 and agreed to work together in this area. While underlining the need for early development of anti-COVID vaccine, Prime Minister Oli expressed hope that scientists around the world, including in India, would be able to develop it that will contribute to control and prevent the disease from spreading further.

Oli also congratulated Modi on India’s election to a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council and expressed best wishes for the successful discharge of this important responsibility.

Indian PM Modi, on the other hand, thanked Oli for his telephone call and recalled the civilizational and cultural links that India and Nepal share, according to the Ministry of External Affairs of India.

“The leaders expressed mutual solidarity in the context of the efforts being made to minimise the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in both countries. The Prime Minister offered India’s continued support to Nepal in this regard.”

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