India, Nepal restore normalcy in relations

New Delhi

Nepal on Friday requested India for early supply of coronavirus vaccines, as the two countries held a comprehensive review of all aspects of bilateral ties including border management, connectivity and trade, in the first high-level engagement between the two sides after relations nosedived following a 2020 boundary row.

In the sixth India-Nepal Joint Commission Meeting (JCM), co-chaired by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his Nepalese counterpart Pradeep Kumar Gyawali, the two sides also discussed cooperation in a range of areas, including power, oil and gas, water resources, capacity building and tourism among others, an official statement said.

Ties between India and Nepal came under severe strain after Nepal last year published a new political map that showed the three Indian territories - Limpiyadhura, Kalapani and Lipulekh - as part of Nepal.

Nepalese diplomatic sources said Gyawali raised the boundary row with Jaishankar during the one-on-one interaction. In the statement, the MEA mentioned border management among several areas of cooperation that the two sides discussed during the talks.

In an address at a think-tank, Gyawali said both sides have agreed to resolve the boundary question through talks, and added despite differences in one area, there was momentum in the overall engagement. Noting "buil­d­ing and nurturing trust" is absolutely essential for health and harmony of relations between neighbours, he said: "In this spirit, we desire to start the conversation with a view to resolving the question of boundary alignment in the remaining segments."

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