Amid the continued tensions between India and Nepal, Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali is in New Delhi for the Joint Commission Meeting (JCM) with External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar. Nepal’s foreign minister has come with an important agenda to get a coronavirus pact to ensure an inoculation drive in Nepal.
Sources have told India Today TV that the thinking in Kathmandu is that the vaccines made in India would be best suited for people in Nepal and given similar climatic conditions, storage and transportation would be easier.
When asked about sourcing vaccines from China, the source said it is not going to be practical and cost-effective. “At the end of the day, we will have to look at India to help us in the vaccination program for Nepal.”
“We expect from India that vaccines would be available to us. What is suitable for India is suitable for Nepal. We hope for productive cooperation on this front,” said the officer.
Nepal has requested an initial 12 million doses of vaccines to inoculate the frontline workers. Kathmandu will later seek vaccines for the general public as well. Nepal is prepared to handle the first batch of vaccines that would come in. The source added that if India makes the vaccines available at affordable prices, it would “positively” impact bilateral relations.
The last meeting was held in August 2019. While all aspects of ties would be discussed, India ruled out a detailed discussion on the border issue since JCM was not the right forum for it.
During the weekly briefing on Thursday, Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said, “Our position on the boundary issue is well known. Let me say that the JCM and boundary talks are separate mechanisms.”
However, highly placed diplomatic sources of Nepal have also told India Today TV that the conversation largely would revolve around the coronavirus pandemic, vaccines, and every important bilateral aspect.
The officer also said while boundary questions and outstanding issues could come up, there is an FS-level mechanism for border talks.
However, sources have confirmed to India Today TV that there could be some forward movement on deciding to take the border talks forward by the foreign ministers of both countries.
“The Joint Commission is an important mechanism that provides the opportunity of reviewing at a high level the entire gamut of our bilateral partnership and providing political guidance to further enhance the special and unique ties that we enjoy. We look forward to constructive discussions on the numerous sectors that encompass our bilateral agenda,” Anurag Srivastava said.

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