Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla met with his Nepali counterpart Bharat Paudyal in Kathmandu in what he described as a “productive” meeting. The FS also had a one-on-one meeting with Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and called on foreign minister Pradeep Gyawali.
The visit assumes significance as it is the first diplomatic step towards a thaw in five months after Nepal passed its new map. The map was rejected by India as “unjustified cartographic assertion” as it included three Indian territories of Limpiyadhura, Kalapani and Lipulekh.
The press release by the Indian side said that in the meeting between the foreign secretaries, “they also discussed the boundary matters and exchanged views on completing the boundary work in the remaining segments.”
Sources later said the importance of respecting each other’s sensitivities was noted. Both sides felt that they should focus on the positives of the wide-ranging relationship.
News 18 has learnt that there was some level of all-round remorse expressed over the passage of the new map in June and it was conveyed that it was compelled due to domestic politics.
Talks between the two foreign secretaries covered the entire gamut of issues that span bilateral relations, according to sources. Both sides took stock of the various projects and other activities underway, and identified measures to expedite them.
Discussions took place on specific measures that could be taken to finalise key projects at the earliest, including the Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project, as well as launch new economic initiatives.
The need to resume people to people contacts, including commencement of an air travel bubble between India and Nepal, was discussed. This, as Nepal has blocked its side of the border to Indians due to the COVID 19 situation. India took no such measures towards the Nepali population moving freely through transits as usual.
Meanwhile, the foreign secretaries also handed over 2,000 vials of Remdesivir injections as part of India’s continued support to Nepal in its efforts to combat COVID 19.
During his meeting with the foreign minister, the foreign secretary conveyed an invitation from EAM S Jaishankar to the Foreign Minister of Nepal to visit India for the next round of the Joint Commission meeting.