Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Amid LAC tensions, Nepal FM calls 1947 pact on Gurkha soldiers ‘redundant’, says it needs ‘discussions’

Nepal has called for a revision of the 1947 tripartite agreement on Gurkha soldiers claiming it has become redundant and urged the United Kingdom and India to discuss the issue.

In a virtual discussion ‘Foreign Policy of Nepal in changing Geopolitical context’ organised by the Nepal Institute of International Relations on Friday, Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali called on Britain and India — the two other signatories of 1947 tripartite agreement on Gurkhas to start discussions.

“Gorkha recruitment is a legacy of the past. It has various aspects. It opened the window for Nepali youths to go abroad. It created a lot of jobs in the society in the past but in the present context, some provisions in the agreement are questionable. So we should start discussions on its various objectionable aspects,” Gyawali said.

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“The 1947 tripartite agreement has become redundant,” he added.

He said that Nepal Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli had raised the issue during his meeting with the Theresa May when she was the British Prime Minister.

“During his official visit to the UK last year, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli had formally raised the question about the tripartite agreement and the bilateral deal with the UK and India. So let’s start from that point and we will gradually cover from this issue because it has multi-faceted aspects,” Gyawali added.

The 1947 tripartite agreement signed between Nepal,India and Britain assures that all perks, remuneration, facilities and pension schemes for Nepalis serving in the British and Indian Armies will be equal to those of British and Indian nationals. However, the Gurkha veterans have alleged the agreement to be discriminatory against them.

During the discussion, Gyawali also said that the manner in which partnership between China and India will move and the way they manage their differences will set the future of Asia and the region.

“The rise of China and aspiring rise of India as well, how they engage with themselves, how their partnership will move on and how they manage their differences will definitely set the future of Asia, at least in this region,” Gyawali said.

Referring to Eastern Ladakh, he said India and China were trying their best to reduce tensions but the challenge is there.

“After the Wuhan summit, the partnership between India and China was deepened but nowadays, there are tensions after the Galwan valley clash. Though both countries are trying their best to de-escalate the tension, however, the challenge is there,” he added.

Speaking on the row with India following Nepal publishing a new map containing Indian territories of Kalapani, Lipulekh and Limpiyadhura, Gyawali said discussions were not being held due to conditions created by coronavirus.

“We tried to formally restart diplomatic negotiations and engagements but then COVID-19 pandemic broke out and everything got halted. Amid the pandemic, India published its 8th edition of political map back in November 2019. It comprised Nepal’s territory of Kalapani, Lipulekh and Limpiyadhura. Definitely, Nepal opposed it through political statement and diplomatic notes,” he said.

“We, time and again, asked our Indian friends to formally start the diplomatic negotiation to settle these problems. We proposed the possible dates as well but our proposal was not responded timely.

“India responded by saying that the negotiation will be started only after COVID-19. However, we saw close engagements amid the COVID pandemic between India and China, India and Australia, India and the US and many more. Hence, we had no choice but to publish the map including the regions which are an integral part according to the Sugauli Treaty. To make it legitimate, we amended the constitution with unanimity,” he claimed.

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