India, Nepal agree to review 1950 Friendship Treaty

Last Updated: Saturday, August 22, 2009 - 18:49

New Delhi: India and Nepal on Saturday agreed
to review the 59-year old bilateral Treaty of Peace and
Friendship which has been the subject of much criticism in the
Himalayan state.

The Foreign Secretaries of the two countries will
"discuss and review" the 1950 treaty and "other bilateral
agreements with a view to further strengthening the bilateral
relationship", it was announced in a joint statement issued at
the conclusion of five-day official visit of Nepalese Prime
Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal.
Under the 1950 Treaty, India has immense influence on
Nepal`s affairs, including defence and security matters, which
some sections of the society feel amounts to encroachment of
its sovereignty and want a review.

The Treaty, which has been a symbol of unique
relations between the two neighbours, provides for an open
border between the two nations and equal rights to their
citizens in each other`s country.

The two sides expressed satisfaction at the progress
made in the preparation of boundary strip-maps, with Nepal
agreeing to take necessary steps to facilitate their early
signing.

Nepal, who held talks with his counterpart Manmohan
Singh, assured New Delhi that it will not allow its territory
to be used for any activity against India.

During the visit, a revised trade treaty and an
agreement to control unauthorised trade, particularly from a
third country, were initialed.

An MoU was also signed regarding continuation of
Indian assistance for the Goitre control programme in Nepal.

It was also agreed that the Bilateral Consultative
Group on Security Issues and the Home Secretaries of the two
countries will meet within two months to enhance cooperation
to effectively address all issues concerning security,
including cross-border crime.

For implementing an effective and integrated border
management system, development of border infrastructure along
the India-Nepal border will be undertaken immediately.
India conveyed that construction of two Integrated
Check Posts (ICPs) at Birgunj-Raxaul and Biratnagar-Jogbani at
an estimated cost of Indian Rs.200 crores will commence soon.

India and Nepal are also working on a Bilateral
Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement which would be
concluded and signed at an early date, the statement said.

With regard to Kosi river, whose embankment breached
last year causing devastating floods in Bihar, the two sides
stressed the need for constant "vigil" to avoid the recurrence
of such incidents.

To improve rail connectivity, two cross-border links,
including Jogbani-Biratnagar link, would be constructed with
Indian assistance at an estimated cost of Indian Rs.680 crore

In hydro power sector, both sides agreed to work for
increased involvement of India, at both public and private
sector level, to harness Nepal’s hydro power potential.

Both sides also agreed to expedite progress on the
Sapta Koshi High Dam, Sunkoshi Diversion Project and the
Naumure Project as per bilateral discussions.

Bureau Report



First Published: Saturday, August 22, 2009 - 18:49

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