Kathmandu/New Delhi, Oct 26 (IANS) The fourth meeting of the Nepal-India Joint Commission began in New Delhi on Wednesday, setting the tone for the minister-level meeting scheduled for Thursday.
At the Joint Commission talks, Foreign Secretaries Shankar Das Bairagi and S. Jaishankar are leading the Nepali and Indian delegations. The Nepal-India ministerial level meeting is expected to focus on implementing the past agreements and accords signed between the two countries.
The Joint Commission, the highest level bilateral mechanism between Nepal and India that is mandated to review entire gamut of relations between the two countries, directs relevant officials to resolve the pending issues and chart out the future course of the ties.
The meeting will focus on securing agreements on select points, and will seek understanding on those issues that require more time to settle. The agreed issues will be pushed for early implementation so that India-funded projects in Nepal will see tangible progress in near future.
“The meeting will make a comprehensive review of the bilateral ties,” said Foreign Minister Mahat ahead of his India visit, adding that those issues and agendas agreed in recent high-level visits between Nepal and India will be put for implementation.
The Joint Commission was first formed in 1987. Its third and last meeting was held in Kathmandu in July 2014 after a hiatus of 23 years. The meeting will review progress on issues that featured during the last Joint Commission meeting two years ago and other high-level exchanges between the two sides.
Sushma Swaraj is leading the Indian side at the ministerial level meeting comprising secretaries from various ministries.
Minister Prakash Sharan Mahat said that bilateral matters like roads, cross-border connectivity (railways, roads and bridges), water resources, inundation, security matters, boundary adjustments, completing the detailed project of much touted Pancheshwor Development Authority that is executing 4,800 mw hydropower in Nepal are some key agendas.
According to Mahat, issues like construction of integrated checkposts on Nepal-India border, power trade, implementation of Mahakali Treaty, connecting roads, construction of cross-border petroleum pipeline, compensation for various victims affected by inundation, trade, transit and fixing the modality of Indian reconstruction aid to Nepal.
On boundary issues, Nepal and India will seek some changes on design of pillars located in river areas though the both sides have achieved progress in installing the boundary pillars.
“The meeting will review the progress made by the technical level in installation of boundary pillars and clearing the no-man’s land,” said Mahat.
Nepal will also call for the construction of the Sunkoshi Diversion, splitting from Sapta Koshi Multi Purpose Project.