Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s talks with his Nepalese counterpart Sher Bahadur Deuba in Lumbini, Nepal on May 16 will have a comprehensive agenda to further expand cooperation in multiple areas, including hydropower and connectivity, the Minister of Foreign Affairs said on Friday. Foreign Affairs Vinay Mohan Kwatra.
Asked whether the border dispute between the two sides will feature in the talks, he said India had always maintained that the existing bilateral mechanisms were the best way forward to deliberate on the issues, adding that they should be discussed in a “responsible” way. without their ”politicization”.
Modi pays a one-day visit to Lumbini on the occasion of Buddha Purnima. This will be the prime minister’s fifth visit to Nepal since 2014.
In Lumbini, the Prime Minister will visit the sacred Mayadevi Temple and deliver a speech at a Buddha Jayanti event organized by the Lumbini Development Trust.
Modi and Deuba, who visited India last month, will hold in-depth discussions.
“To have a return visit in such close succession is a reflection of the closeness of our high-level exchanges as well as the upward trajectory of our mutually beneficial partnership,” Kwatra said.
The foreign minister said Modi and Deuba will build on their productive conversation in Delhi last month to further expand common understanding and cooperation in multiple areas including hydropower development and connectivity. .
He said the visit will “reaffirm” India’s commitment to ties with Nepal and demonstrate the priority New Delhi attaches to the neighborhood.
“I have a feeling that the conversation between the two leaders will have a full agenda and will cover the full scope of the discussion,” Kwatra said. The foreign minister said the “scope and landscape” of the India-Nepal partnership was “very wide and extensive”.
”Conversations between the two leaders will pick up where they left off last month when Prime Minister Deuba visited here and will no doubt cover all elements of our bilateral engagement, be it a development partnership, an assessment and review of how the connectivity projects are doing, what more can be done to connect the two South Asian societies and also the aspects related to cooperation, trade and investment in hydropower,” Kwatra said.
Asked about the report of the Eminent Persons Group (EPG), he said it had not yet been submitted. “The government will take it into consideration once it is submitted.” The EPG was constituted to examine various aspects of Indo-Nepalese relations, including to examine the 1950 Treaty of Friendship between the two countries. On the border dispute, Kwatra said there are established bilateral mechanisms to resolve these issues.
“Regarding the border discussions between the two countries, as you all know, there are established bilateral mechanisms that exist between them,” he said.
”We have always argued that they are the best way forward to discuss these issues, to discuss responsibly without really politicizing these issues. This is a subject that will essentially be within the framework of these established bilateral mechanisms,” he added.
Ties between the two countries came under strain after Kathmandu released a new political map in 2020 which showed three Indian territories – Limpiyadhura, Kalapani and Lipulekh – forming part of Nepal.
For its part, India reacted strongly, calling it a “unilateral act” and warned Kathmandu that such an “artificial enlargement” of territorial claims would not be acceptable to it.
Nepal shares a border of more than 1,850 km with five Indian states: Sikkim, West Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
Kwatra said Modi would start the tour with a “darshan” (visit) to the famous Mayadevi temple which sits in the very heart of Lumbini.
The temple is known to be the birthplace of Lord Buddha.
The Prime Minister had donated a young Bodhi tree from Bodh Gaya to this temple during his visit to Nepal in 2014.
Modi will then visit the monastic area adjacent to Lumbini where he will participate in the foundation laying ceremony for the construction of a center for Buddhist culture and heritage.
Landlocked Nepal is heavily dependent on India for transporting goods and services.
Nepal’s access to the sea is through India, and it imports a predominant proportion of its needs from and through India.
The Indo-Nepal Peace and Friendship Treaty of 1950 constitutes the foundation of the privileged relations between the two countries.
(This story has not been edited by the Devdiscourse team and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)