Territorial Issues did not got space in Sixth Nepal-India Joint Commission
Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali had raised a voice about territorial Issues between two neighbors.
Kathmandu, 16 January: The sixth edition of the India-Nepal Joint Commission was held in-person in New Delhi on January 15, with the Indian side being led by External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and the Nepalese delegation headed by Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali. The meeting marks a significant improvement in relations between the two countries which, last year, inched towards rock bottom following territorial claims and other areas of discussion.
S Jaishanker spoke first on the joint session, on the speech he recalled last year's fifth session on Kathmandu, and in this two years, time period both the foreign affairs of both countries have developed a high level of mutual understanding. But, on the session, he didn't enter the territorial discussion rather talk about the connectivity, economy and trade, power, oil and gas, water resources, and other projects.
And, on the press release by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs statement following Friday’s meeting, “The Joint Commission comprehensively reviewed all aspects of multifaceted cooperation between the two countries and explored ways to further strengthen the traditionally close and friendly ties.” The statement added: “Both sides discussed several areas of cooperation including in the areas of connectivity, economy, and trade, power, oil and gas, water resources, political and security issues, border management, development partnership, tourism, culture, education, and capacity building.”
The MEA statement noted progress on connectivity initiatives, including a new India-Nepal rail link and proposals for other railway projects, as well as infrastructure development to smoothen cross-border movement such as new integrated check posts.
India to take two more cultural heritage projects in Nepal, namely, the Pashupatinath Riverfront Development and the Bhandarkhal Garden Restoration in Patan Durbar, with grant assistance.
But, this press release also India have not mentioned anything on the territorial issue that has arisen since 2019 on Kalapani and Susta.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Pradeep Kumar Gyawali while addressing the ICWA opened the floor by entering into the issues of territorial issues. The Hindu reports, “We started the demarcation and mapping of the boundary since 1981. At that time, the Joint Technical Committee was founded which had tenure till 2007. It produced 182 strip maps which depict the border... but for various reasons [work on] two segments — Susta and Kalapani — were not completed. If we talk of the overall boundary between Nepal and India, it is a smaller segment. However, it is an unfinished work and that’s why we are talking of the need and urgency of finalizing and finishing those segments as well,” said Minister Gyawali, addressing a gathering at the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA).
This is the first time that the Foreign Minister of Nepal has presented the dispute on the boundary front from the Indian capital since the issue erupted in November 2019 prompting Nepal to unveil a new political map that showed the Kalapani-Lipulekh-Limpiyadhura region of Pithoragarh district as part of the country’s sovereign territory. He also said to include the Kalapani region in the updated map that its claim is based on the Treaty of Sugauli of 1816.
However, the press release by the Government of Nepal Ministry of Foreign Affairs has included that, “ 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.”
The press release has also stated, “ India’s support in availing Covid-19 vaccines, the Indian side assured that the requirements of Nepal would be in priority consideration after the roll-out of vaccines.” Though the Indian side has not yet confirmed and has only stated Nepal's request for early provision of vaccine have been noted on their press release.