22:05 GMT08 March 2021
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    A Highly placed source in the Nepal government told Sputnik that Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj had promised prompt acceptance of a report submitted by an 8-member Eminent Persons’ Group (EPG) on Nepal-India Relations when she met Nepal’s Prime Minister K.P. Oli in New York in September, but failed to keep her word.

    The government of Nepal is reportedly disappointed over what it describes as India's "dilly-dallying approach" in reviewing the 7-decade-old Peace and Friendship Treaty which Kathmandu considers "unequal", as it infringes upon the country's sovereignty. An official in the Nepalese government told Sputnik that India is yet to acknowledge the report prepared by the Eminent Persons Group (EPG) appointed by the two countries to make recommendations on making suitable amendments to the treaty. 

    READ MORE: Nepal Appoints Ambassador to India After One Year Hiatus

    "India is unwilling to receive the EPG report even five months after the EPG team finalized the report. Sushma Swaraj vowed to receive the report as early as possible when she met our PM KP Oli in New York in September. They have not received yet", a source in the Nepalese government told Sputnik.

    Sources added that the report was finalized in July this year and that the group, comprising four members from each side, sought an appointment with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to formally submit the report. 

    After the Indian PM accepts the report, it is to be submitted to Nepalese Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli. The report comprises suggestions that are non-binding and it is up to the two governments to implement the suggestions. 

    The panel was formed after Indian Prime Minister Modi and Nepalese Prime Minister Oli met in 2016. 

    Earlier in 2014, Modi had assured the Nepalese Constituent Assembly that India would review the terms of the 1950 Friendship Treaty.

    READ MORE: India, Nepal Mull Cross Border LPG, LNG Pipeline

    "In Nepal, people want to see amendments in 1950 Peace and Friendship Treaty. Many feel that it has infringed upon Nepal's sovereignty and freedom of choice. It has become a big issue since its signing back in the 1950s. The treaty was signed at the time of exit of Rana oligarchy in Nepal. Hence, the last Rana PM Mohan Sumsher ratified the treaty with the hope that it would help him retain power", Santosh Ghimire, senior journalist with the Kathmandu-based Republica told Sputnik. 

    However, as India is looking at general elections in April-May next year, Nepali officials are not very hopeful that Narendra Modi will accept the report at this juncture.


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