Bilateral talks resume between India, Nepal

Deputy Prime Minister and foreign minister of Nepal, Kamal Thapa and Indian external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj have held talks in New Delhi, signalling a reinstitution of bilateral engagement. Relations between the two countries had spoiled after Nepal implemented a new controversial constitution in October, which resulted in a border blockade for up to five months and a crisis in Nepal. The meeting between the two leaders was held on Friday and both agreed to bring all bilateral mechanisms back on track, including the foreign ministerial level and joint commission, and resolving all the differences. It was the first top political meeting after Nepal abruptly recalled ambassador Deep Kumar Upadhyay from the Indian capital and cancelled President Bidhya Devi Bhandari’s visit scheduled in early May.
“The meeting focused on resuming bilateral engagement in all fronts, including political, diplomatic, security and trade and investment sectors,” a foreign ministry source privy to the talks told The Himalayan Times.
When asked about accusations that India tried to overturn Prime Minister KP Oli’s government in Nepal, Thapa said facts were misrepresented and claimed that ambassador’s recall was aimed at building “better ties with India”.
During the meeting, the two countries agreed to start the meeting of Eminent Persons Group (EPG) on reviewing bilateral treaties early next month. The two sides also agreed to hold a joint military exercise in Nepal, later in the year.
Before meeting Swaraj, Thapa also spoke at Press Club of India in New Delhi and addressed a talks programme at Observer Research Foundation. He will attend the maiden convocation ceremony of South Asian University in New Delhi today.

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