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International Relations

Nepal is a neutral country and can play a mediating role between India and Pakistan if necessary, a powerful government source said here on Saturday, delinking concerns about terrorism from the question of revival of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).

“Dialogue is a must in resolving differences and if necessary Nepal can mediate as we are independent, peace loving, friendly and neutral in the region. We love truth and facts and can be instrumental in finding a better solution,” said the highly placed source while interacting with a group of visiting Indian journalists here. He also urged India and Pakistan to invest in direct channels of communication.

Potential of SAARC

In this context, he reposed faith on the potential of the SAARC in addressing regional issues arguing that it would be better for the region to revive the SAARC, and in every meeting with India, Nepal has raised this issue. “There is no relation between SAARC and terrorism. Terrorism is a universal threat but we maintain there is no relationship between terrorism and the (future of ) SAARC,” he said. The regional group has been stuck without the summit level meeting as India continues to blame Pakistan for promoting cross-border terrorism.

Kalapani issue

The Nepal government source also pointed out the need for dialogue between India and Nepal to deal with the border dispute in the Kalapani region in Uttarakhand. “We believe that together we can resolve any problem on the basis of facts, evidences, truth and address the issues that truth indicates,” said the official declaring that Nepal had “the courage to accept the truth.”

The official’s comments further added to the sentiments expressed by Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali who hinted to a group of visiting Indian journalists here on Friday that the example of India-Bangladesh border resolution could be attempted to firm up India-Nepal border as well.

The official also expressed concern about the future of the Nepali-speaking citizens of Assam who were left out of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in the State. He argued that the Nepali speaking people of Assam had been living in the region for more than a century and Kathmandu considered them to be Indian nationals.

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