Bhagat Singh Koshiyari, the coordinator of the Eminent Persons’ Group, India briefs the media on the first meeting of the EPG from Nepal and India at Hotel Annapurna, Durbar Marg in Kathmandu Tuesday.(Dipesh Shrestha/Republica)
Starts formal discussion on 1950 treaty, next meeting in Delhi
KATHMANDU, July 6: The first meeting of the Eminent Persons' Group (EPG) from Nepal and India concluded in Kathmandu on Tuesday starting a formal discussion on the 'Peace and Friendship Treaty of 1950' between the two countries.
The EPG has decided to revise all the bilateral agreements and arrangements between the two countries starting with the 1950 treaty. The EPG has decided to hold its second meeting in New Delhi after three months and meet regularly every three months.
"After the formation the EPG, we have asked the Government of Nepal and all the ministries to provide us all the documents of bilateral treaties, agreements and arrangements with India. We have a huge pile of documents. Starting with the grand old treaty of 1950, we will go through all the agreements and arrangements," said Nepal EPG Chair Bhekh Bahadur Thapa in the press conference organized on Tuesday.
"Many people ask about the 1950 treaty but there are very few people, who can provide details about the treaty. There were no formal discussions about the treaty in the past at the government level. The EPG is assigned to revise the treaty also. We need a serious discussion on it by preparing a concrete concept paper," said Indian EPG Chair Bhagat Singh Koshiyari.
This is the first time in 69 years of their bilateral relations that the two countries have formally started discussing necessary measures to replace, update, or scrap bilateral treaties, including the Peace and Friendship Treaty of 1950.
The Indian side of the Eminent Persons' Group, formed in February, is led by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party leader Bhagat Singh Koshiyari, and includes former Indian ambassador to Nepal Jayant Prasad, Prof Mahendra P Lama and Prof BC Upreti. Likewise, the Nepali EPG, formed in January, is led by former minister and ambassador Bhekh Bahadur Thapa and includes former ambassador Nilamber Acharya, former secretary and chief commissioner of the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority Surya Nath Upadhyaya and CPN-UML lawmaker Rajan Bhattarai.
An agreement on establishing the EPG was reached in 2011 and the two countries agreed to prepare its terms of reference in 2014, when Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj was in Kathmandu to attend a meeting of the Nepal-India Joint Commission.