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Nepal pitches for SAARC revival, offers to play role of mediator between India and Pakistan

The push for India-Pakistan talk came despite New Delhi’s well-stated position that it will not sit for any discussion with Islamabad until the neighbouring country stops sponsoring terror on its soil

Published: 25th January 2020 10:23 AM  |   Last Updated: 25th January 2020 02:53 PM   |  A+A-

Nepal's Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali. (File | AFP)

Nepal's Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali. (File | AFP)

By Express News Service

Nepal is eager to hand over the chairmanship of SAARC to Pakistan so that Islamabad can resolve its issues with New Delhi, Nepalese Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali said on Friday.

The push for India-Pakistan talk came despite New Delhi’s well-stated position that it will not sit for any discussion with Islamabad until the neighbouring country stops sponsoring terror on its soil.  

Extending an invitation to PM Narendra Modi for the first Sagarmatha Sambaad to be held in April, Kathmandu also said New Delhi can resolve land boundary issues like it had done with Bangladesh.

“Nepal is ready and eager to handover the SAARC Chairmanship to Pakistan. India and Pakistan can sort out their differences through negotiations, keeping in mind the challenges facing the region,” Gyawali said, assuring India that Nepalese soil would not be used against any neighbour.

SAARC summits are usually held biennially and hosted by member states in alphabetical order. The member state hosting the summit assumes the Chair of the Association.

“Nepal strongly believes in regionalism and multilateralism. So, we all know there are problem but no problem is immune that cannot be solved through negotiations or discussions,” Gyawali said at a press briefing on Sagarmatha Sambaad in Kathmandu.

“If India can resolve land boundary issue with Bangladesh, why not Nepal? There should be no unresolved baggage being carried forward as there is an increased level of understanding between the leaders of the two countries,” Gyawali said.

Nepal had raised objection to a new map released by India in November last year claiming Limpiyadhura, Lipulek and Kalapani areas shown as Indian territories lie within its borders. New Delhi had released the map to account for the new UTs of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.

“We have invited Prime Minister Narendra Modi and are awaiting the confirmation. Leaders of all SAARC countries, including Pakistan PM Imran Khan, have been invited and Nepal would be happy to host all the regional leaders so that they can have discussions amongst themselves on the challenges facing the region,” Gyawali said.

The Sambaad looks to forge a common consensus among countries on the impending climate crisis and encourage political leaders to mobilise political willpower to tackle the menace, he added. 

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