The first meeting of the Eminent Persons Group on India-Nepal relations began here with both sides pledging to take bilateral relations to a new height, making necessary amends to past treaties and agreements, respecting each other’s sensitivities.
Setting the tone of the meeting, Nepal’s Deputy Prime Minister Kamal Thapa, who is also in charge of Foreign Affairs, said the treaties and agreements of the earlier time guiding the bilateral relations should be reviewed “to deal with the needs of the present time”, a clear hint that Nepal would press for an amendment to the 1950 treaty of peace and friendship with India.
“The global order and situation, including Nepal and India’s standing in the world today is different compared to that in 1950,” he said. Bhagat Singh Kosiary, a senior BJP leader and co-chair of the EPG said that no matter which party ruled India , it has always wanted peace, stability and progress in Nepal, as ‘Nepal and India’s blood group is the same. “Our blood group is the same, and our gotra is the same.”
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Kosiary said, “ I do not want to talk smaller things like Roti-beti ka rista’ between the two sides. “I talk about our eternal relation between the two sides,” Pointing towards Nilambar Acharya, a fellow EPG member from Nepal, Kosiary said , “my right over Pashupatinath is the same as Acharya’s. And his right over Kedarnath is the same as mine. “But problems will start if Indians want the same right over Singha durbar (central secretariat in Kathmandu) as Nepalese , and if Nepalese want the same right over Raisina Hill as Indians”, he said.
EPG Nepal Chair Bhekh Bahadur Thapa said the exercise is meant to give new height to the bilateral relations that the two countries deserve. “Our objective is to take the relations to a new height, to update and enhance it,” he said, adding, “Each of us in the EPG is a colleague, not a counterpart, as we are working together for a shared goal and destination.”
The EPG is meeting at a time when the bilateral relations have nosedived over the months ,something that Deputy Prime Minister Thapa said, is only natural.