India-Nepal to hold oversight mechanism meeting next week

In the backdrop of the recent tiffs between India and Nepal, where the latter recently passed a new map of the country claiming parts of India, taking relations between the two nations to a new low, the nations are now going to have a high-level diplomatic engagement Next week. The meeting is being seen as a positive development after the border row took relations to a new low.

The scheduled oversight mechanism meeting is being termed as part of regular interaction between the two countries to review ongoing bilateral economic and development projects which meet periodically, the sources said. The Indian Ambassador in Kathmandu Vinay Mohan Kwatra will head the Indian side while Nepal’s Foreign Secretary Shanker Das Bairagi will be leading the Nepali team during the talks which will be on 17th of August.

The Nepal-India Oversight Mechanism was set up after the State Visit to India by then Prime Minister of Nepal Pushp Kamal Dahal in September 2016. The idea was to regularly oversee the implementation of bilateral developmental projects and ensure their timely complementation. This will be the eighth such meeting in the last 4 years since the mechanism was established.

The dialogue is also being seen as an attempt to break the ice by both sides following the recent boundary tiff.

Nepal has recently revised its map showing some of the traditionally held Indian Territory under its own. In a cautious reaction to this spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, Anurag Shrivastava had said that India’s position on this issue is clear. “This artificial enlargement of claims is not based on historical facts or evidence and is not tenable. It is also violative of our current understanding to hold talks on outstanding boundary issues,” he stated.

Earlier on 20th May, the Nepali government had released a revised map that included parts of Indian Territory along the borders in Uttrakhand. India refused to accept the map and the external affairs ministry released a statement saying “such artificial enlargement of territorial claims will not be accepted by India”. Terming the hurriedly made Nepali map an infringement in India’s sovereignty the ministry stated that “we urge the Government of Nepal to refrain from such unjustified cartographic assertion and respect India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. We hope that the Nepalese leadership will create a positive atmosphere for diplomatic dialogue to resolve the outstanding boundary issues.”