Indo - Nepal Treaty to be updated

India has given in to Nepal’s long-standing demand for review of the 58-yearold bilateral Trade and Transit Treaty, which has a bearing on almost all aspects of ties between the two countries, saying it was important to carry forward the relationship between the neighbours. Foreign secretary Shiv Shankar Menon said that India was ready to “update” the treaty and that this had been conveyed to Nepal PM Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’.The foreign ministry also announced that Prachanda had invited PM Manmohan Singh on an official visit to Nepal and this was accepted by Singh. The date will be decided later but the visit is expected soon.The newly elected Maoists-led government in Nepal believes that the treaty is skewed in India’s favour. Prachanda had said after his arrival in India that he wanted all bilateral agreements reviewed. On whether India would accept any fundamental change in the treaty, Menon said, “Both sides should sit together to review... to reflect today’s realities. By updating, I am not limiting our options.” Menon also said that talks would be held between the home secretaries of the two countries to review the security situation. India believes that ISI has used Nepal as a base for carrying out anti-India activities. The water resources and commerce secretaries would also meet soon to discuss economic ties between the two countries. During Prachanda’s visit, the two sides reviewed in detail various water resources projects. Water resources minister Saifuddin Soz met his counterpart Bishnu Prasad Poudel. The two leaders discussed the devastating flood in Bihar caused by a breach in Kosi embankment in Nepal. The two sides agreed to the need for proper implementation of the 1954 Kosi agreement to prevent such situations.The two sides also agreed on a 3-tier joint mechanism for water management — joint rivers commission (JRC) at the level of ministers, joint committee on water resources at the secretary level and project level technical panels, eight of which would be formed soon.

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