The group is in the final stage for preparing a single report from their respective draft reports.
Ahead of wrapping up the seventh meeting on Sunday in Kathmandu, Nepal co-ordinator Bhekh Bahadur Thapa and India co-ordinator Bhagat Singh Koshiyari expressed the view, at a press conference, that the group was working to table a report that would take bilateral ties between the two countries to a new high.
Thapa and Koshiyari said the EPG report will be positive for both the countries.
The EPG is mandated to suggest a new blue print in Nepal-India ties on various facets of the bilateral relations in the changed global and regional context.
Stating that the foundation to make the bilateral relations more friendly and timely continues to stand, Thapa said the issues from the 1950 treaty to the current border-related concerns were addressed and a positive report on this would come out within a few months.
“We have already exchanged preliminary draft of the reports prepared by both sides,” said Thapa. The final version will come up in the next meeting to be held within a month in New Delhi.
If the group fails to come up with one joint report, it would mean that it would fail consensus on disputed issues, including replacing the 1950 Peace and Friendship Treaty.
EPG India co-ordinator Koshiyari was confident no side would be disappointed with the EPG report.
He said various issues, including the 1950 treaty, trade, environment and hydropower, were covered. “More clarity would be added to the existing treaties between the two countries,” he said.
Welcoming the appointment of KP Oli as the prime minister of Nepal, Koshiyari said, “It is a matter of satisfaction and happiness for us.” He appreciated the matured choice taken by the Nepali people in the recently concluded elections.
“The participation of people in the elections and the results showcase their keenness towards democracy,” Koshiyari said adding, “When we started the EPG, Oli was the PM and now we are going to complete our term and again Oli is the PM which is matter of the happiness to us.”
At an event in Kathmandu on Friday, Indian EPG member Mahendra P Lama claimed that after the recent 2015 blockade, the relationship between the two countries had soured. “The feeling of ultra-nationalism has risen among Nepalis against India while India has become wary of Chinese influence. The landmark victory of the pro-nationalists in the recent elections in Nepal is largely considered to be an outcome of this hostility.”
Lama said efforts are on to mend the ties. “Both countries have historically deep cultural and social (roti-beti) relationship. So they cannot afford to be hostile to each other. Both countries complement each other’s growth and prosperity,” he said.
However, with the changing geo-political dynamics, the terms of engagement need to change that ensures mutual trust, respect and confidence on each other, said the EPG member.
“The two countries need to move forward with an approach of integrated co-operation that creates a win-win situation for both, and honest efforts from both sides is the need of the day,” Lama said.