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No boundary talks during Nepal Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali`s visit as India sends out subtle message

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New Delhi: In a subtle message ahead of the Nepal Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali’s visit to India for the India-Nepal Joint Commission Meeting (JCM) on Friday, Delhi has made it clear that boundary issues will not be discussed.

Gyawali arrived in the national capital on Thursday on a three-day visit during which he will co-chair the JCM with External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar and is expected to discuss COVID-19-related cooperation while reviewing the entire gamut of bilateral relations.

The Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava, when asked if boundary issues will be discussed, said, “Our position on the boundary issue is well known. Let me say that the JCM and boundary talks are separate mechanisms.”

This is the first high-level visit from Kathmandu in over a year and comes in the backdrop of India-Nepal row over the new map issued by the KP Sharma Oli government. The new Nepali map showed Indian territories of Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura as Nepali territories drawing the ire of New Delhi which dismissed the “Unjustified Cartographic Assertion”.

Pointing out the agenda of the meet, Srivastava said, “The Joint Commission is an important mechanism that provides the opportunity of reviewing at a high level the entire gamut of our bilateral partnership and providing political guidance to further enhance the special and unique ties that we enjoy.”

He added, “We look forward to constructive discussions on the numerous sectors that encompass our bilateral agenda.” Procurement of COVID-19 vaccine is expected to be high on the agenda, with Kathmandu keen to get 20 per cent or around 12 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine from India.

The high-level visit comes even as in 2020 saw three high-level visits from India to Nepal. These include the visit of India’s intelligence chief, followed by the Indian Army Chief MM Naravane, and then by the visit of India’s Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla.

As per news agency PTI, the Nepalese foreign ministry has said the sixth joint commission meeting on Friday “will discuss the whole gamut of Nepal-India bilateral relations, including trade, transit, energy, boundary, COVID-19 cooperation, infrastructure, connectivity, investment, agriculture, tourism, culture, among others”.

During his visit, Foreign Minister Gyawali will also meet with the high-level dignitaries of India, the statement said. Gyawali is being accompanied by Nepalese Foreign Secretary Bharat Raj Poudyal and Secretary at the Ministry of Health and Population Laxmi Aryal, according to Nepalese officials.

with additional inputs from news agency PTI

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