Nepal in dilemma on whether to amend or replace 1950 treaty with India

| Updated: Aug 03, 2017 19:42 IST

Kathmandu [Nepal], August 3 (ANI): Nepal is in dilemma whether to amend the Peace and Friendship Treaty signed in 1950 with India or replace the treaty with a new one. The Nepali side of the Eminent Persons' Group (EPG), formed to review treaties and relations between Nepal and India has held four meetings and hours-long deliberations in the last one year and sought their view for making recommendations whether Nepal-India 1950 Peace and Friendship Treaty should be abrogated, amended or replaced with a new one, the Kathmandu Post reported. The EPG has four members each from Nepal and India.The Nepali side of the EPG on Wednesday organised a consultation session with former diplomats, officials and members of the business community among others and sought their view on the treaty. Rajan Bhattarari, an EPG member, read out the provisions of the treaty and called for suggestions from participants whether Nepal should seek an amendment or make a pitch for replacing the treaty with a new one. Historically, the 1950 Treaty has been one of the most contentious issues in Nepal-India relations, with critics often arguing that the treaty boxes Nepal as India's subservient neighbour. And the concern stems also from Article 5, which reads: "The government of Nepal shall be free to import, from or through the territory of India, arms, ammunition or warlike material and equipment necessary for the security of Nepal and the procedure for giving effect to this arrangement shall be worked out by the two governments acting in consultation". Though the Nepali leadership has put "inequality" as the main reason for seeking a review, New Delhi refuses to buy what it often calls "popular Nepali gripe." But the Indian side also at times has raised the "inequality" issue, saying Nepal does not give "equal treatment to Indian citizens". Article 6 of the treaty reads: "Each government undertakes, in token of the neighbourly friendship between India and Nepal, to give to the nationals of the other, in its territory, national treatment with regard to participation in industrial and economic development of such territory and to the grant of concessions and contracts relating to such development.""The India-Nepal treaty is unequal in its treatment of Indian citizens in Nepal, which India has never complained about," Jayant Prasad, former Indian ambassador to Nepal said.(ANI)