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Exactly one year after the border dispute, the door of Nepal-India dialogue is opening

19 Kartik, Kathmandu:- It has been exactly one year since the border dispute between Nepal and India. In the first week of November last year, a dispute arose between the two countries after India issued a new map covering the Nepalese territory of Kalapani, Lipulek and Limpiyadhura.

As soon as India released the political map, Nepal  sent at least three diplomatic notes to India proposing talks  , but India was not ready for talks. Taking a step further, Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated the road to Mansarovar via Lipulekh.

After India ignored efforts to resolve the issue through dialogue, Nepal issued a new map of Kalapani, Lipulek and Limpiyadhura and amended the constitution on the basis of consensus.

For a year, there was no dialogue between Nepal and India. Not only border issues but also meetings of other important bilateral mechanisms were stopped. But exactly one year after the dispute, the door to dialogue on bilateral relations has opened. Today, Indian Army Chief Manoj Mukunda Narwane is coming on a three-day visit to Nepal.

The visit, though a regular one, was halted due to tensions between the two countries. Although Kovid-19 was partially due to border dispute, the visit was delayed.

During his visit to Nepal, his meeting with Prime Minister KP Oli is considered very important. Although there is no concrete dialogue with the commander-in-chief on bilateral issues, including the border, it can play an important role in building trust. Even if the commander-in-chief does not have a mandate to negotiate on the border dispute, it may be to support the political level.

On the eve of the Army Chief's visit to Nepal, Indian Intelligence Agency Chief Samant Kumar Goyal visited Nepal. Despite comments from various angles regarding the visit, he was on a visit to Nepal as a special envoy of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He had brought Modi's message on border issues and has gone to New Delhi with Prime Minister Oli's message. Therefore, Narwane is likely to bring Modi's message again. So this visit is very important.

These visits have ended the lack of communication between the two countries. Not only that, these two visits are sure to open other doors of dialogue between the two countries. With the army chief's visit, there are indications that other bilateral visits will also open.

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 meeting of the Joint Working Group on Border Disputes between Nepal and India  is being prepared immediately after the visit of General Narwane Apart from Susta and Kalapani, the mechanism has been set up to resolve other technical issues at the border. It is preparing to hold a virtual meeting.

After that, the Foreign Ministers of Nepal and India are also preparing to hold a meeting of the Joint Commission. The meeting will review all the bilateral issues, resolve the issues and give instructions to move ahead with the implementation. Foreign Minister Pradip Kumar Gyawali will visit India for the meeting.

Apart from this, talks between the two countries on completing the DPR of the long-stalled Pancheshwor Multipurpose Project are also likely to move forward. Some of its technical issues need to be addressed by the political leadership itself. If the long-standing dispute between the two countries is resolved, it will create an atmosphere of trust.

On the other hand, the new Foreign Secretary of India has not visited Nepal yet. Regarding the appointment of a new Foreign Secretary in Nepal, there is a strong possibility that the Foreign Secretaries of both the countries will visit each other's countries.

In the past one year, there has been a very bitter relationship between the two countries. In the meantime, India did not want to hold talks with Nepal, but the latest signals are very positive. All these developments can be expected to create a positive environment for talks on border disputes between the two countries.

As India has recently moved its relations with its neighbors in a new direction, it is unlikely that India will back down from the dialogue. Nepal has been proposing talks at all levels to resolve all contentious issues. There are many issues between the two countries, including the report of the elite group, on which a broad dialogue is needed at the highest political level.

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