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India, Nepal holds maiden EPG meeting in Kathmandu

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Kathmandu : The first two-day meeting of the Eminent Persons Group on Nepal-India Relations (EPG-NIR) began today in Kathmandu.

The meeting would finalise the body’s agenda, time frame, code for its members, as well as working procedures.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Kamal Thapa inaugurated the opening session this morning and later exclusive close-door discussion by its eight members- four members each from Nepal and India will be held, reports the Himalayan Times.

The Nepali EPG members include former foreign minister Bhekh Bahadur Thapa, former chief commissioner of the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority Surya Nath Upadhyay, former law minister Nilamber Acharya and CPN-UML lawmaker Rajan Bhattarai.

The Indian side includes lawmaker and senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Bhagat Singh Koshyari, former vice-chancellor of Sikkim University Mahendra Lama, former Indian ambassador to Nepal Jayant Prasad and VIF senior fellow B.C. Upreti.

A joint report containing recommendations for both the governments on improving bilateral relations in the changed context will be made by the body.

According to reports the body has been given two years to come up with a comprehensive report on anything that needs to be updated, adjusted or amended in all exiting bilateral treaties, agreements, understandings, including the Peace and Friendship Treaty of 1950.

The formation of EPG was decided upon Nepal’s proposal during the third Nepal-India Joint Commission meeting in July 2014.

It was finally given shape after both countries announced names of EPG members during Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli’s visit to India this February.(ANI)

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