Kathmandu requests early provision of vaccines
Nepal on Friday requested the early provision of Covid-19 vaccines by India even as Nepalese foreign minister Pradeep Gyawali raised an ongoing border row during a one-on-one meeting with his counterpart S Jaishankar to push for an early resolution.
Gyawali, in India with a delegation that includes Nepal’s foreign and health secretaries, co-chaired a meeting of the bilateral joint commission with Jaishankar and reviewed all aspects of cooperation, ranging from connectivity and trade to water resources and border management.
Both sides have worked closely to combat the pandemic, and the Nepalese side lauded India on its success in the production of Covishield and Covaxin vaccines and “requested for early provision of vaccines to Nepal”, the external affairs ministry said.
Nepal is looking to India to provide vaccines as grant assistance for the first phase of its vaccination programme, which requires 12 million doses to cover 20% of its population.
During his one-on-one meeting with Jaishankar, Gyawali raised the border row that took ties to a low last year, people familiar with the discussions said. Gyawali pressed for speedy steps, including meetings of bilateral mechanisms that handle the boundary issue, to facilitate a resolution.
There was no official word from both sides on these discussions, though Gyawali referred to the border issue during a speech at the Indian Council of World Affairs. He said both sides have shown wisdom by continuing overall engagements despite differences on this issue. “We are also mindful that we should not let any outstanding issue...become [an] irritant in an otherwise friendly relationship,” he said. The row erupted after Nepal PM KP Sharma Oli issued a new map that included Kalapani, Limpiyadhura and Lipulekh, which are part of Indian territory. The map was published in response to India’s opening of a road to Lipulekh, located on the border with China.