Nepal soil will not be ‘misused’ against neighbors: FM

Alaturka Amerika ABD Haberleri

By Adil Ahmad

NEW DELHI (AA) – Nepal's Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali said Friday that his country will not be "misused" against any neighboring country.

“We never compare our relations with our friends. We have ensured that our soil will not be misused for the illegitimate interests of any neighboring countries and we look at our location as an opportunity because being located between the two largest markets [India, China] of the globe, speaks volume,” Gyawali said in response to a question about ties on India and China at an event organized at the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA) in New Delhi.

“It provides us to be benefited by the fastest economic growth of our neighboring countries. That is why we are strengthening our relations with neighboring countries but we never compare our relations,” he said.

Gyawali arrived Thursday in New Delhi for an official visit as the first senior leader from Nepal to visit India since ties between the two countries suffered last year because of border issues.

Asked about the issuance of a new political map by Nepal, he said it "was a consequence."

“It was a consequence because prior to that, the eighth edition of the political map of India was published,” he said.

During an address to ICWA, he said Nepal and India have shown wisdom despite differences in one area.

“While both sides have agreed to resolve the boundary question through talks, we have also shown wisdom that despite the difference in one area, the momentum of our overall engagement is continued,” he said. “We are also mindful that we should not let any outstanding issue between us and be there forever and become irritant in an otherwise friendly relationship.”

“Our foreign policy priority begins at our borders,'' he said. “Talking about India, our intention is to strengthen the foundation of our relations, to expand and consolidate it, and to bring the relations to the next level. Our objective is clear and unambiguous.”

Earlier, Gyawali held talks with counterpart S. Jaishankar and they co-chaired the sixth meeting of the India-Nepal Joint Commission.

A statement by India’s Ministry of External Affairs said a joint commission “comprehensively reviewed all aspects of multifaceted cooperation between the two countries and explored ways to further strengthen the traditionally close and friendly ties”.

The commission emphasized the need to "facilitate cross border movement of people and goods” and said, "India conveyed that it would undertake two more cultural heritage projects in Nepal, with grant assistance."

"The close cooperation between the two sides in combating the Covid-19 pandemic in the region was noted. Nepal congratulated India on the remarkable success in production of Covishield and Covaxin vaccines in India and requested an early provision of vaccines to Nepal," it added.