Kashmir issue should be resolved through talks: Nepal

Kashmir issue should be resolved through talks: Nepal

File photo for representation

Nepal has said the Kashmir issue should be resolved through talks and it firmly believes that India has the acumen to resolve the matter peacefully.

Although Nepal, the current Chair of SAARC, has refrained from issuing an official statement on Kashmir, Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali responding to a question during a press conference on Monday said, “The Nepal government is in favor of regional peace and stability."

"The dispute should be resolved through talks and we firmly believe that the government of India has the acumen to resolve the dispute peacefully," he said.

Gyawali’s comment comes ahead of External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar's visit to Nepal on Wednesday to participate in the 5th meeting of the Nepal-India Joint Commission to review the overall state of bilateral relations.

The joint meeting will review the overall state of bilateral relations, and various areas of cooperation such as connectivity and economic partnership, trade and transit, power and water resources sectors, culture, education and other matters of mutual interest.

Jaishankar will co-chair the meeting along with his Nepalese counterpart Gyawali.

Views and opinions were divided into Kathmandu on whether the government should take a clear position on the Kashmir issue, the Kathmandu Post reported.

While some subscribe to India's position that revoking the special status of Jammu and Kashmir is its internal matter, others believe that Nepal should issue a statement given its role as chair of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), especially as the issue has the potential to spiral into a regional conflagration, the daily said.

"We are fully committed to regional peace and stability,” Gyawali said. “Any dispute or unrest in the South Asian region should be resolved through talks.”

Gyawali said the government was concerned about the plight of thousands of Nepalis living and working in Jammu and Kashmir.

“Our embassy in New Delhi is in touch with the government of India regarding the safety of Nepalis working in that region,” he said. Around 80,000 Nepalis are estimated to be living and working in various parts of Jammu and Kashmir," he said.

Apart from Kashmir, Gyawali also touched upon the upcoming Joint Commission meeting and the report of the Eminent Persons’ Group on Nepal-India relations.

“We are optimistic about the meeting,” he said. The entire gamut of bilateral issues is expected to be discussed at the meeting, including political relations, security, trade, commerce, and the status of India-funded projects in Nepal.

Gyawali also said that Nepal will make a request to India to officially receive the Eminent Persons’ Group report as soon as possible. The last meeting of the group had decided to submit the report first to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

A team of four members from each country prepared the report on the changing regional and global contexts but New Delhi is said to have reservations over some of its recommendations and thus, has been hesitant to receive it, the daily reported. 

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