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India-Nepal to hold oversight mechanism meeting on 17th August

The scheduled oversight mechanism meeting is being termed as part of regular interaction between the two countries to review ongoing bilateral economic and development projects which meet periodically, the sources said. The Indian Ambassador in Kathmandu Vinay Mohan Kwatra will head the Indian side while Nepal’s Foreign Secretary Shanker Das Bairagi will be leading the Nepali team during the talks which will be on 17th of August.  

The Nepal-India Oversight Mechanism was set up after the State Visit to India by then Prime Minister of Nepal Pushp Kamal Dahal in September 2016.  The idea was to regularly oversee the implementation of bilateral developmental projects and ensure their timely complementation. This will be the eighth such meeting in the last 4 years since the mechanism was established.

The dialogue is also being seen as an attempt to break the ice by both sides following the recent boundary tiff.

Nepal has recently revised its map showing some of the traditionally held Indian Territory under its own. In a cautious reaction to this spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, Anurag   vastava had said that India’s position on this issue is clear. “This artificial enlargement of claims is not based on historical facts or evidence and is not tenable. It is also violative of our current understanding to hold talks on outstanding boundary issues,” he stated.

Earlier on 20th May, the Nepali government had released a revised map that included parts of Indian Territory along the borders in Uttrakhand. India refused to accept the map and the external affairs ministry released a statement saying “such artificial enlargement of territorial claims will not be accepted by India”. Terming the hurriedly made Nepali map an infringement in India’s sovereignty the ministry stated that “we urge the Government of Nepal to refrain from such unjustified cartographic assertion and respect India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. We hope that the Nepalese leadership will create a positive atmosphere for diplomatic dialogue to resolve the outstanding boundary issues.”

India and Nepal have several bilateral institutional dialogue mechanisms, including the India-Nepal Joint Commission co-chaired by External Affairs Minister of India and Foreign Minister of Nepal. The Fifth Joint Commission Meeting was held in August last year in Kathmandu.

The most recent highest political level talk between Indian and Nepal was on 10 April this year when a telephone Conversation happened between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Nepali counterpart K P Sharma Oli.
Over the talk, the two leaders shared views on the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and the challenges it poses to the health and safety of citizens of both countries and the region. They discussed the steps taken in their respective countries to tackle the pandemic. During the conversation, PM Modi had reiterated India’s commitment for ensuring all possible support and assistance for Nepal’s efforts in fighting this global pandemic.

The Seventh Meeting of Nepal-India Oversight Mechanism was held in Kathmandu in July Last year. The meeting had reviewed the status of implementation of all ongoing bilateral projects between Nepal and India in the areas of cross-border rails, petroleum pipelines, roads, integrated check posts, bridges, energy, irrigation, inundation, agriculture, post-earthquake reconstruction, among others. 

 

– Abhishek Jha 

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