India, Nepal agree to review 1950 Friendship Treaty
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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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