Ahead of Nepalese Prime Minister K P Oli’s maiden visit to India next month, the government has proposed formation of a four-member Eminent Persons’ Group (EPG) to review the existing bilateral agreements with India including the strategic Peace and Friendship Treaty of 1950.
The government has proposed names of four persons to form the EPG, during the cabinet meeting yesterday though no formal decision was taken to this effect, minister for Information and Communication Sherdhan Rai said.
Former finance minister and former Nepalese Ambassador to India Bhesh Bahadur Thapa, former chief of the Commission for Investigation Authority Suyra Nath Upadhyaya, former UN assistant secretary general Kul Chandra Gautam and CPN-UML lawmaker Rajan Bhattarai, were names proposed to be included in the EPG.
The next cabinet meeting will take a formal decision in this regard, said Rai.
The 1950 India-Nepal Treaty of Peace and Friendship allows free movement of people and goods between the two nations and a close relationship and collaboration on matters of defense and foreign policy.
The proposal to form the EPG comes as the government prepares for the prime minister’s visit to India scheduled for the second week of February.
Oli’s maiden visit to India comes amid great unease in bilateral relations, owing to months-long blockade of the land-locked country enforced by Indian-origin Madhesi people who are protesting Nepal’s new constitution.
The Third Joint Commission Meeting of Nepal and India that was held here in July 2014 had decided to set up the EPG with four members from each side at the request of Nepal.
The decision was also endorsed during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Nepal last year.
It is learnt that India has already formed a four member EPG.
The EPG will be authorised to look into the entire gamut of Nepal-India relations.
It will get two years to come up with a comprehensive report on anything that needs to be amended in all bilateral treaties.