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India assures Nepal of availing COVID-19 vaccines



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By Modnath Dhakal
Kathmandu, Jan. 16: India has assured Nepal of its support in availing COVID-19 vaccines.
In the sixth meeting of Nepal-India Joint Commission held in New Delhi, India on Friday, India assured that the requirements of Nepal would be in priority consideration after the roll-out of vaccines, said Embassy of Nepal in New Delhi in its statement.
The JC appreciated the close coordination between the two sides in facing the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic while Nepal thanked India for its support of essential medicines and medical equipment.
The meeting discussed the boundary matter and expressed the commitment to early completion of the boundary works in the remaining segments.
“It also discussed the review of the Peace and Friendship Treaty of 1950, submission of the report of the Eminent Persons Group, and air entry routes,” said the embassy.
Talking on the boundary issue, Minister for Foreign Affairs Pradeep Kumar Gyawali said that Nepal desired to start the discussion on boundary issue with India.

Nepal wants boundary discussion with India
“We desire to start conversation with a view to resolving the question of boundary alignment in the remaining segments,” he said during a talk at the Indian Council of World Affairs (Sapru House) on Friday.
In a speech sent to media by the Embassy in New Dehli, Minister Gyawali said that of the 1,800 km long international boundary that Nepal and India share, work remains to be completed in some kilometres.
Stating that both sides have agreed to resolve the boundary question through talks and the two neighbours have also shown wisdom that despite the differences in one area, the momentum of our overall engagements is continued, he said, “We are also mindful that we should not let any outstanding issue between us be there forever and become irritant in an otherwise friendly relationship.”
In his speech delivered among the distinguished diplomats, intellectuals and media persons, he reminded India of the report of the Eminent Persons Group (EPG) on Nepal India Relations.
“We created an Eminent Persons’ Group in 2016 and mandated them to review the entire spectrum of Nepal-India relations and recommend measures to upgrade them in the changed context. The EPG has done its work and our job is to receive their report and implement it,” he stated.

Bilateral treaties were discussed
Likewise, the Joint Commission deliberated on the progress in the discussions held between the two sides to review the bilateral treaties on trade, transit and rail services.
Both sides agreed for an early conclusion of the review of Treaty of Trade, Treaty of Transit and the amendments to Rail Services Agreement with a view to further strengthen cooperation in these fields, read the statement.
Progress in operationalisation of connectivity through inland waterways was also discussed.
Minister Gyawali participated in the meeting with a high-level delegation including Foreign Secretary, Health Secretary, Nepal’s Ambassador to India and other government officials. Indian delegation was led by its Minister for External Affairs S. Jaishankar.
Minister Gyawali and his Indian counterpart S. Jaishankar also held a meeting. Foreign secretary of Nepal and Ambassador to India were present in the meeting, Nepali embassy said in a tweet.
The meeting reviewed the entire spectrum of bilateral relations that included the important areas of Covid-19 vaccine, boundary and border management, connectivity and economic cooperation, trade and transit, power and water resources, and culture and education.
The meeting also agreed to further speed up the implementation of the ongoing and planned bilateral projects such as the new Integrated Check Posts/Inland Container Depot, including at Dodhara-Chadani, remaining cross border railways, roads, and transmission lines.
It agreed to expedite the work for 400 Kv Butwal-Gorakhpur cross-border transmission line.

Early DPR of Pancheshwar
Likewise, reiterating the importance of Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project and taking note of the positive discussion at the recent bilateral meeting of the Secretary-level delegations held in New Delhi, the Joint Commission agreed for early finalisation of the project DPR.
The Nepal-India Joint Commission was established in 1987 with a view to review and further strengthen all aspects of bilateral relations.
Minister Gyawali will return to Kathmandu on Saturday.  

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