No plans of sub-regional group with China, Afghanistan and Pakistan, says Nepal Foreign Minister

Nepal Foreign minister Pradeep Gyawali said, "Virtual conference of four countries was totally focused on the cooperation amidst the COVID-19."

No plans of sub-regional group with China, Afghanistan and Pakistan, says Nepal Foreign Minister
(Image courtesy: Twitter)

New Delhi: Days after Foreign Ministers of four countries Nepal, Afghanistan, Pakistan and China met virtually to deal with COVID-19 crisis, Nepal foreign minister has dismissed any idea of creating a subregional group involving the four countries. 

Nepal Foreign minister Pradeep Gyawali said, "Virtual conference of four countries was totally focused on the cooperation amidst the COVID-19. It is unnecessary and wrong to create any other type of coordination between those countries. Nepal, Pakistan, Afghanistan are members of SAARC and China is an observer of the SAARC, we are already in a single umbrella." 

Gyawali rejected the idea of any plan to create a sub-regional alliance. "There is no possibility, desire or plan to create another sub-regional alliance or organisation comprising of those four countries. It was purely confined on cooperation on COVID-19 pandemic," he said.

During the virtual meet, China called for advancing the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and the Trans-Himalayan Connectivity Network and also said it supports the extension of CPEC to Afghanistan. 

The Nepalese foreign minister mentioned about Kalapani, Lipulekh and Limpiyadhura issue saying his office has "time and again asked our Indian friends to formally start the diplomatic negotiation to settle these problems" but the "proposal was not responded to in a timely manner".

He also called for revisiting of the Gurkha recruitment in Indian and British Forces saying, "Gurkha recruitment is legacy of past. It was the first window open for Nepalese youths to go abroad but in the changing context some of its provisions" are not required and "we should start objective discussions...Tripartite agreement of 1947 has become redundant". 

The tripartite agreement was signed between India, UK and Nepal in 1947 on the rights of Gurkhas in military service. More than 30,000 Nepalese Gorkhas are currently serving in the Indian Army's seven Gorkha Rifle regiments. 

On India-China tensions, the FM said, "How they manage their differences will definitely set the future of Asia, at least in this region. After Wuhan summit, the partnership between India and China deepened but nowadays, there are tensions after the Galwan clash. Though both countries are trying their best to de-escalate the tension, however it is challenging."