India-Nepal: High level meeting to review bilateral projects; border issues likely to discuss

NEW DELHI: Amid strained ties over several issues, On Monday, India and Nepal will hold talks under their “oversight mechanism”. This meeting will be to analyze the ongoing projects invested in Nepal which are funded by New Delhi in the Himalayan region. After ties were hit by a border row, this will mark as the first major bilateral meeting between the two sides.

According to official reports, India and Nepal will hold a review mechanism dialogue today via video conferencing to take stock of the ongoing economic and development projects of the Indian government in Nepal.

Launched in 2016, the joint oversight mechanism reviews progress in bilateral projects.

The meeting will be held between Indian Ambassador to Nepal Vinay Mohan Kwatra and Nepal’s Foreign Secretary Shanker Das Bairagi.

Notably, the meeting is being seen by some quarters in Kathmandu as a positive step since the border row took relations to an incipient low.

A person, who is aware of the developments, said “The mechanism will only focus on the implementation of India-funded projects in Nepal. However, it could help break the logjam in relations.” 

The meeting has come two days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to his Nepali counterpart KP Oli for the first time since the map controversy.

As per sources, it was a courtesy call by KP Oli to extend his greeting to India on the 74th Independence Day. The Nepali PM had also discussed the COVID-19 pandemic in India during the 10-minute long telephonic conversation.

In July last year, the mechanism reviewed the implementation of projects, during its seventh meeting, in such cross-border rail links, petroleum pipelines, roads, bridges, integrated border check posts, energy, irrigation, and post-earthquake reconstruction.

The two countries have also engaged in a war of words recently over the origins of Lord Ram and Gautam Buddha. The issue of political maps by both nations was also a major reason between increasing tensions among them.

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