India-Nepal to set up mechanism to resolve border issues

India-Nepal to set up mechanism to resolve border issues

Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon with Nepal Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal, at his residence in Katmandu on Saturday. AP

India and Nepal on Saturday agreed to set up a high-level bilateral mechanism to resolve the border issues between the two neighbours.

The move to set up the bilateral mechanism was decided after the visiting Indian Foreign Secretary Shivshanker Menon had a meeting with the new Nepalese Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal during which they also reflected on the current political situation in the country.

Menon, making his second visit to Nepal in the last four months, also extended an invitation to the Prime Minister to visit India, dates for which are being worked out.

By setting up a bilateral mechanism on border issues, the two countries hope to take out the sting from a campaign being run by the former ruling Maoists party, which has alleged that India has encroached upon Nepalese territories in Dang district.

After the 45 minute meeting with the Prime Minister, Menon said they had discussed bilateral cooperation, including border issues and the and current political situation in the country.

Rajan Bhattarai, the Prime Minister's Foreign Affairs Advisor told reporters that the Foreign Secretary had come to extend formal invitation to Prime Minister Nepal for an visit to New Delhi from Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. He said the date of the visit is still being worked out.

The meeting also discussed ways to expedite the agreements and understandings reached between the two countries during the recent past, particularly during visits to India by former Prime Ministers Prachanda and Girija Prasad Koirala, he said.

He said the talks were positive and all gamut of Indo-Nepal relations were covered.
Ahead of Menon's visit, Foreign Minister Sujata Koirala stressed that the new the CPN-UML led coalition government wanted to strengthen bilateral relations and underlined the key role of India in its landmark peace process.

"We need India's cooperation and support to move the peace process forward," the Foreign Minister said.

"Nepal government wants to strengthen bilateral relations with neighbouring countries, especially India," the 55-year-old daughter of former premier and Nepali Congress patriarch Girija Prasad Koirala said.

On his arrival in capital on a two-day visit, Menon said: "We have cordial relations with Nepal and I am here to have bilateral talks with Nepalese officials".

"I am happy to be in Kathmandu for the second time," Menon told mediapersons.
Meanwhile, at least six persons were arrested while they were trying to show black flag to Menon as he came out of the airport this morning, the police said. Those arrested were the members of the Revolutionary Left Wing (RLW), a Maoist breakaway faction and the Unified Nepal National Front, both lesser known anti-India groups. according to the police.

Menon is scheduled to meet President Ram Baran Yadav and Nepali Congress president Koirala, Maoists supremo Prachanda and CPN-UML chairman Jhalanath Khanal, according to sources.

He will also hold bilateral talks with his Nepalese counterpart Gyan Chandra Acharya tomorrow. Menon is scheduled to visit the world famous Pashupatinath temple tomorrow before he ends his official tour to Nepal.

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