Nepal wants to talk about border dispute with India’s Shringla. But, is he interested?

File: Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla

Kathmandu, November 25

As Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla is coming to Nepal on an official visit this Thursday and Friday, Nepal is preparing to raise various issues of mutual concerns including the border dispute triggered by the publication of new political maps by both the countries.

However, it seems the Indian government is not interested to discuss that issue in detail.

Sources in Nepal’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs say wide-ranging issues will appear during a bilateral meeting chaired by Shringla and his Nepali counterpart Bharat Raj Paudyal later this week. “Of course, the border issue will not be missed,” an official says.

But, apparently, the Indian side is interested to limit this visit into a courtesy only. It is evident in the uniform interpretation of the visit as it appeared in major broadsheet dailies of New Delhi in the past few days. Most of the papers said the border dispute is not on Shringla’s priority list.

Some of the papers even claim India has already told Nepal to consider this visit as an opportunity to raise crucial issues such as the border as it will be Shringla’s first visit to Nepal.

In the past year, Nepal formally requested India to discuss and settle the border dispute, which India consistently ignored.

“As far as I understand, India will not raise the border issue. If Nepal raises it, India will say ‘let’s talk about it separately.’ Or, it can remain silent,” an Indian diplomat who is in close contact with the Indian Ministry of External Affairs says.

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