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External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj stated Sunday that her first trip to Nepal after assuming charge in May has exceeded expectations.
“I am very content with the trip and it went beyond my expectations,” Swaraj told journalists at the Tribhuvan International Airport before leaving for New Delhi at the end of her three-day visit.
During her trip Swaraj co-chaired third meeting of the joint commission between both neighbours with her Nepali counterpart Mahendra Bahadur Pandey.
Swaraj’s trip also prepared the groundwork for the two-day trip to Nepal by Prime Minister Narendra Modi beginning August 3.
“We have prepared a 26-point agreement that will act as a roadmap for cooperation and ensure relations between both nations get strengthened in future,” she said.
The joint statement issued after conclusion of the commission’s meeting deals with reviewing, adjusting and updating the 1950 treaty of peace and friendship between the two neighbours “reflecting the current realities”.
Foreign secretaries of both countries were directed by the commission to start work on the issue and make recommendations.
Under provisions of the treaty Nepali citizens can avail lot of facilities in India which treat them on par with Indians.
The commission which was meeting after a gap of 23 years also directed the Nepal-India Boundary Working Group to commence field work at the earliest so that boundary disputes can be resolved.
The two sides agreed on greater collaboration to combat cross-border crimes and reiterated not to allow their territories to be used against the other.
Discussions also took place on setting up a deemed agriculture university, relaxation of rules to promote export of Nepali goods to India and construction of a cricket academy.
The entire gamut of Nepal-India relations including development of hydropower, signing of Power Trade Agreement, investment in infrastructure, defence cooperation were discussed by both sides.
But there was no mention of the treaties on extradition and mutual legal assistance---both of which New Delhi has been insisting on signing for many years and Nepal deferring.