NEW DELHI: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his Nepalese counterpart Pradeep Kumar Gyawali on Friday held a comprehensive review of all aspects of bilateral relations and explored ways to further strengthen cooperation in key areas of connectivity, trade and energy — in the first high-level engagement between the two nations since the border row led to a slide in relations last year. They also co-chaired the Indo-Nepal joint commission with a focus on vaccine cooperation and connectivity projects.
“The Joint Commission comprehensively reviewed all aspects of multifaceted cooperation between the two countries. Both sides discussed several areas of cooperation including in the areas of connectivity, economy and trade, power, oil and gas, water resources, political and security issues, border management, development partnership, tourism, culture, education and capacity building.
The significant and concrete progress made since the last meeting of the Joint Commission in taking forward several bilateral initiatives was acknowledged,” a Ministry of External Affairs statement said.
The JCM was attended by foreign secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla and his Nepalese counterpart Bharat Raj Paudyal.
The Nepalese foreign minister, who is on a three-day visit to India, is the first senior minister from the Himalayan nation to visit India after ties between the two countries soured due to the border dispute. Gyawali, speaking at an event after the talks, said the boundary issue was discussed during the meeting and urged for an early solution to the problem.
On Thursday, India had said the boundary issue would not come up till the political crisis in the neighbouring country is resolved. According to the MEA statement, the close cooperation between the two sides in combating Covid-19 pandemic in the region was noted. Nepal congratulated India on the “remarkable success” in the production of Covishield and Covaxin vaccines in India and requested for early provision of vaccines to Nepal.