NEW DELHI: While India mentioned border management only in passing in its statement on the joint commission meeting between foreign minister S Jaishankar and his counterpart Pradeep Gyawali, Nepal categorically stated in its own readout that the meeting discussed the “boundary matter” and expressed commitment to early completion of boundary work in the remaining segments.
The remaining segments include the disputed Kalapani and Susta areas that Kathmandu wants addressed through talks between the foreign secretaries.
India had said ahead of the talks that the boundary and JCM were separate mechanisms. Official sources said issues related to the border would be addressed through appropriate mechanisms. Gyawali though had come prepared to take up issue with PM KP Oli having already declared in the National Assembly that discussions during the visit would be centred around border issue which saw Nepal last year publishing a new political map.
India listed border management as one of the areas of cooperation discussed along with connectivity, economy and trade, power, oil and gas, water resources, political and security issues, development partnership, tourism, culture, education and capacity building. Nepal requested for early provision of Covid-19 vaccines. As per Nepal, India assured that the requirements of Nepal would be a priority after the domestic rollout of vaccines. Both sides also exchanged views on international, regional and sub-regional cooperation. Nepal, the Indian government said, expressed support for India’s permanent membership of an expanded UN Security Council to reflect the changed balance of power.
Discussions were also held on expediting joint hydropower projects, including the proposed Pancheshwar multipurpose project, which have numerous benefits for people of both countries.