KATHMANDU, Nov 24: Former Indian Ambassador to Nepal, Ranjit Rae has said that the upcoming visit of Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla to Nepal should focus on holding concrete discussions on all contentious issues between the two countries including the border dispute, Eminent Persons’ Group’s (EPG) report and issue about expediting mega-development projects that have failed to see implementation.
Foreign Secretary Shringla is arriving in Kathmandu on Thursday on a two-day official visit to Nepal at the invitation of his Nepali counterpart Bharat Raj Paudyal.
Addressing a webinar organized by the Asian Institute of Diplomacy and International Relations (AIDIA) in collaboration with Vivekananda Foundation on Monday, former Indian ambassador Rae said these issues should be discussed between the two sides during the Indian foreign secretary’s visit to Nepal so that they could be discussed further to reach a concrete decision in the upcoming Joint Commission (JC) meeting.
“Nepal has already amended the constitution after introducing a new political map. It is necessary to hold discussions on ways to move forward in this context,” he said. “It has already been two years since Nepal-India EPG prepared its report. But the report has yet to be received. India has to explain to Nepal why it is not receiving the report. Nepal has also raised the issue of reviewing the 1950 Treaty. It would be better to talk about this issue as well.”
Rae also mentioned that a number of mega projects that Nepal and India agreed earlier to implement have failed to see any progress. Stating that the Pancheshwar Multi-Purpose Project has failed to reach the implementation stage, Rae argued that the two meetings between two foreign secretaries should also discuss finalizing the Detailed Project Report (DPR) in order to implement the project at the earliest.
However, the Indian media have published reports that the foreign secretary’s visit won’t deal with any contentious issues. Quoting highly-placed government sources they said that the visit is likely to focus mainly on development partnership and connectivity.