Monday, December 18, 2006

India ready to revise 1950 pact : Mukherjee

Visiting Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee Sunday gave positive indications that India was willing to settle the longstanding issues related with the Mahakali treaty, 1950 treaty and Nepal-India border treaty through consultations besides expressing his government's support to Nepal's ongoing peace process."I was the one to have initialed the Mahakali treaty, there were some problems and the process was little disturbed and thus it did not get the needed concern,"Mukherjee said adding the Detailed Project Report (DPR) has to be prepared by the joint technical team before working further.
"We are waiting for a nod from the Nepalese side,"Mukherjee, who is the first Indian minister to have visited Nepal following the April uprising, told a hastily organised press conference here today. The Mahakali treaty signed between Nepal and India in 1996 to jointly harness the waters of the Mahakali River in west Nepal based on mutual equality could not carry out the stipulated works due to differences over the location where the powerhouse should be constructed.Although it was initially agreed that the DPR on the Pancheswore project to be constructed under the Mahakali treaty would be prepared within six months from the date of signing the treaty, the two sides have failed to work out the DPR even after a decade.Regarding the 1950 treaty of peace and friendship between Nepal and India, Mukherjee said that he did not have any discussions with the Nepalese leaders about revising the treaty but added, "We are prepared to revise the treaty if and when the Nepalese side approaches.
"To a query on when the two countries would finally have a border treaty in place, Mukherjee said, "Talks are going on regarding the treaty, but I cannot state the exact date when it will be signed."He said that the big strides taken to consolidate peace and democracy in Nepal in the aftermath of the April movement had amply proved that the Nepalese have taken their destiny in their hands and were capable of facing the future challenges.

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