Kathmandu Current Affairs

9th meeting of EPG on Indo-Nepal relations concludes in Kathmandu

The ninth and final meeting of Eminent Persons Group (EPG) on India-Nepal relations concluded in Kathmandu, capital city of Nepal. During this two day meeting, representatives from India and Nepal deliberated up on various bilateral issues including 1950 Peace and Friendship treaty, trade, transit and border.

Key Facts

During the last meeting, EPG successfully prepared joint report which will be submitted to Prime Ministers of both the countries. It has agreed to update all the bilateral treaties and agreements reached in past between India and Nepal in line with the present reality of the two countries.

EPG members from India included Bhagat Singh Koshyari, Mahendra P Lama, Jayanta Prasad and B C Upreti and from Nepal included Bhekh Bahadur Thapa, Nilambar Acharya, Suryanath Upadhyay and Rajan Bhattarai. Members from India include Bhagat Singh Koshyari, Mahendra P Lama, Jayanta Prasad and B C Upreti

Background

The EPG was formed in January 2016 by Governments of Nepal and India for reviewing the entire gamut of Nepal-India relations and update bilateral agreements and treaties. It is a joint mechanism consisting experts and intellectuals from India and Nepal. There are four members each from Nepalese and Indian sides in the group.

It is mandated to review various aspects of the bilateral relations including Nepal-India Friendship Treaty 1950 and provide suggestion on ways to reshape bilateral between the two countries. During earlier meetings of EPG, Nepali side had presented facts regarding need to review Nepal-India Peace and Friendship Treaty of 1950 so as to update is as required by time and situation.

1950 India-Nepal Treaty of Peace and Friendship

The treaty is a bilateral pact between India and Nepal aimed at establishing close strategic relationship between two South Asian neighbors. It was inked on July 31, 1950 at Kathmandu by then Prime Minister of Nepal Mohan Shamsher Jang Bahadur Rana and then Indian ambassador to Nepal Chadreshwar Narayan Singh.

The treaty has 10 articles. It permits free movement of people and goods between two countries and close relationship and collaboration on matters of defence and foreign affairs. It envisages for eternal peace and friendship between two nations and recognizes and respect complete sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of each other.

According to Articles 6 and 7 of the treaty, the two countries agree to grant, on reciprocal basis, to citizens of one country in territories of other, same privileges in matter of residence, ownership of property, participation in trade and commerce, movement and other privileges of similar nature.

This enables the Nepali and Indian nationals to move freely across border without passport or visa, live and work in either country and own property or do trade or business in either country. There is a significant number of Nepalis (in millions) living, owning property and working or doing business in India as beneficial aspect of treaty for Nepal. Similarly, many Indians live, own property and do business in Nepal.

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Kathmandu-Varanasi-Kathmandu bus service flagged off

Nepal and India on 5 March 2015 launched a direct bus service linking cultural cities Kathmandu and Varanasi.

Kathmandu-Varanasi-Kathmandu bus service was launched under the ambit of Motor Vehicle Agreement between India and Nepal signed during 18th SAARC Summit.

Key facts

  • Kathmandu-Varanasi-Kathmandu bus service seeks to promote religious tourism and people-to-people contact between both countries by connecting the two religious cities.
  • This bus service will connect Kathmandu’s Pashupatinath Temple with Varanasi’s Kashi Vishwanath Temple as both shrines are considered important pilgrimage sites by Shiva worshippers all around the world
  • Route of bus service- It will take the Bhairahawa-Gorakhpur route and cover about 600 km distance in 12 hours.

This is the second direct bus service between Nepal and India after the one linking Kathmandu and New Delhi.

Earlier in November 2014 during the 18th SAARC Summit Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Nepal’s Prime Minister Sushil Koirala had jointly launched the direct bus service between Kathmandu and the New Delhi.

Nepal and India are also planning to establish a direct bus service to link Kathmandu and Patna in future.

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