KATHMANDU, Aug 19: Minister for Foreign Affairs Pradeep Kumar Gyawali on Monday said that Nepal is closely following the evolving situation in Indian-controlled Kashmir after India abrogated Articles 370 and 35A of its constitution earlier this month.
The Indian government's decision to scrap the two articles ended a special status given to turbulent Jammu and Kashmir region, which has been remaining as a disputed territory between India and Pakistan for decades.
"We have been closely following the developments in Kashmir. This is purely a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan. We believe that there should be a dialogue to resolve the issue," he said. Gwayali said that Nepal wants to see peace and stability in South Asian region.
The foreign minister said that all Nepali nationals in Kashmir are safe despite unrest there.
"Nepali Embassy in New Delhi is in touch with those Nepali nationals residing in Kashmir," he said. In another context, Foreign Minister Gyawali informed that the 5th Joint Commission meeting between Nepal and India will focus on five major areas namely connectivity and economic partnership, trade and transit, power and water resources sectors, culture, education and other matters of mutual interest.
"During the meeting, the two sides will review the implementation status of the bilateral agreements and projects agreed between the two head of the governments in the past," Gyawali said.
During the meeting, the two sides will also discuss the prolonged delay on the part of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in receiving the joint report prepared by the Eminent Persons Group (EPG) which was formed earlier to recommend measures to improve Nepal-India relations.
Among other issues, the two sides will discuss the stalled South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation process.
The two-day meeting is scheduled to be held in Kathmandu on August 21 and 22. Minister Gyawali and his Indian counterpart Subrahmanyam Jaishankar will co-chair the meeting, leading their respective delegations.
The meeting will review the overall state of bilateral relations, and various areas of cooperation such as connectivity and economic partnership, trade and transit, power and water resources sectors, culture, education and other matters of mutual interest, according to Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA).
The commission was established in June 1987. Its meetings are held alternately in Nepal and India. The last meeting of the Joint Commission was held in New Delhi in October 2016.
Apart from taking part in the meeting, India's External Affairs Minister will call on President Bidya Devi Bhandari and Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli, according to a press release issued by MoFA.
Minister Gyawali will host a dinner in honor of his Indian counterpart. Jaishankar is scheduled to arrive in Kathmandu on August 21 and return home the next day.