In Pitch For SAARC Summit, Nepal Gives Example of Trump-Kim Meet
A file photo of Sushma Swaraj with  Foreign Affairs Minister of Nepal Pradeep Kumar Gyawali on sidelines of the Raisina Dialogue.
A file photo of Sushma Swaraj with Foreign Affairs Minister of Nepal Pradeep Kumar Gyawali on sidelines of the Raisina Dialogue.(Photo Courtesy: Twitter/Raveesh Kumar)

In Pitch For SAARC Summit, Nepal Gives Example of Trump-Kim Meet

Nepal on Friday, 11 January, strongly pitched for convening at the South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit, saying differences should be resolved through dialogue and the grouping should collectively deal with terrorism and other key challenges facing the region.

Citing last year's historic talks between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore, Nepal Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali said dialogue was the only way to address differences.

Also Read : ‘PM Modi Won’t Attend SAARC Meet’: Sushma Rejects Pak’s Invitation

"If US President Trump and North Korea's Kim can meet, then why not (leaders of) other countries," he asked during an interaction with a group of foreign policy experts and reporters.

Difficult to Proceed with the Summit: India

It is Pakistan’s turn to host the summit. However, India, citing Pakistan’s continued support to cross-border terrorism, has maintained that it is difficult to proceed with the summit.

Also Read : Terrorism Single Largest Threat to Peace in S Asia: India to SAARC

The 2016 SAARC summit was to be held in Islamabad. But after a deadly terrorist attack on an Indian Army camp in Jammu and Kashmir that year, India expressed its inability to participate in it.

Also Read : At UNGA, Pak Accuses India of Being Obstacle to SAARC Cooperation

The summit was called off after Bangladesh, Bhutan and Afghanistan also declined to participate in the meet. Maldives and Sri Lanka are the seventh and eighth members of the grouping.

“There is no alternative to sitting together and mitigating differences. The problems we (the region) are facing cannot be resolved alone. We need to put collective efforts to deal with various key challenges like climate change and terrorism.”
Pradeep Kumar Gyawali, Nepal Foreign Minister

The Nepalese foreign minister, who held bilateral talks with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Thursday, 10 January, said his country has been raising the issue of the SAARC summit with India.

Also Read : Nepal Foreign Minister calls for revitalizing Saarc

"I am hopeful the summit will be held soon," Gyawali said.

SAARC summits are usually held biennially, hosted by a member state in alphabetical order. The member state hosting the summit assumes the chair of the Association.

Last SAARC summit was held in 2014
The last SAARC summit, in 2014 was held in Kathmandu, which was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Nepal Wants Old Indian Currency Notes Worth Rs 7 Crore Replaced

The Nepalese foreign minister also said he has requested the Indian government to replace Rs 7 crore worth of old Indian currency notes with new ones.

Following demonetisation in India, people in Nepal deposited the old notes in banks in Nepal. Indian currency is extensively used by Nepalese people and businesses.

Also Read : Three-Year-old is SAARC’s Youngest Incompatible Kidney Recipient 

Last month, the Nepal government had asked its citizens to refrain from keeping or carrying Indian bank notes higher than Rs 100 denomination.

'Unfair to Compare Nepal’s Relationship with India to That of China’

On Nepal’s ties with China, Gyawali said Nepal has very close ties with India and it will be unfair to compare his country’s relationship with India to that of China.

"We have a wonderful relationship with India. I do not want to compare it with our ties with China. We have a good relationship with China and I do not want to compare it with India," he said.

Also Read : Pakistan Seeks Bigger SAARC to Counter India’s Influence

The minister also said the Eminent Persons' Group (EPG) on Nepal-India relations was finalising its report that covered all aspects of bilateral ties, and asserted that there was no difference of opinion between the two sides on the issue.

The EPG was formed in January 2016 with a mandate to review various aspects of bilateral relations, including the Nepal-India Friendship Treaty 1950.

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