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Nepal-India EPG working to ready first report by March

Kathmandu, Oct 7 (UNI) The first report of the Eminent Persons Group on Nepal-India relations is likely to take shape by March, said a member of the panel ahead of the fifth meeting of the EPG that begins in Kathmandu today.

Formed to submit its suggestions to both the governments on bilateral relations in the changed regional and global contexts, the fifth meeting will touch upon several pressing issues between Nepal and India, the member said. The meeting will discuss matters related to various treaties, water resources, security, socio-economic and cultural relations, transport and transit facilities, connectivity, investments, infrastructure, economic cooperation, people-to-people contact, security and the open border, The Kathmandu Post reported today.

The Indian side is said to be prepared to present its views on the open border and to seek Nepal’s position on how to manage the porous border as a long-term solution.

The first meeting of the EPG, which has a two-year tenure, took place in July last year. A Nepali member on the panel, Rajan Bhattarai said the group has already identified the agenda which includes the 1950 Treaty of Peace and Friendship.

The Nepali side has offered some alternatives to some articles of the treaty that it deems “unequal”. In the previous meetings, the Indian side had asked Nepal for reasons to revise the treaty.

Prof BC Uprety from the Indian side will present issues related to the open border, how India perceives it and some suggestions on managing it.

According to sources, the Indian side will present four alternatives—keeping the border open, regulated, semi-regulated and closed. India has been raising the issue of infiltrations and illegal and criminal activities through the border.

The Nepali side will also present the country’s position. Some kind of regulation of the border has been deemed necessary but the Nepali side will study India’s views before offering solutions, sources said.

Bhattarai said the EPG hopes to come up with its report within the given time-frame.