India reaffirmed on Friday that the Nepali border conflict should be discussed and resolved bilaterally only. Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra spoke during a news conference ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s travel to Lumbini on Monday about the breadth of problems that could be covered during the meeting between PM Modi and his counterpart, Sher Bahadur Deuba. “In terms of border and boundary conversations between the two nations, as you are all aware, there are established bilateral processes in place between the two countries. In answer to a query about whether border concerns would be politicized, Kwatra replied, “We have always maintained that they are the best route ahead in discussing such issues, in a responsible manner, without any politicization of those matters.”
Talking about the cooperation on hydropower between the two countries, Kwatra highlighted India’s investments in hydropower projects in Nepal, as well as the trade-in electricity between the two countries. Answering another question on the timing of PM Modi’s visit, on the occasion of Buddha Purnima, Kwatra said, “I think Buddhism is a shared civilisational heritage of our two societies, of our two civilisations and indeed this visit, as I mentioned right in the beginning, is a celebration of that civilisational heritage.” “The entire scope and the landscape of the India-Nepal partnership is very wide and extensive. You can take any aspect of human economic endeavour and you will find a very robust partnership between India and Nepal in that area,” Kwatra said.
The Foreign Secretary also said that the talks in Nepal would be picked up from where they were left off in New Delhi last month. “The conversations between the two leaders, as I mentioned will be picked up from where they left off last month when PM Deuba visited here and would no doubt cover all elements of our bilateral engagement, whether it is development partnership, whether it is the assessment and stocktaking of how connectivity projects are doing, what more can be done to connect the two societies of South Asia and also aspects relating to hydropower cooperation,” Kwatra said.
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