Nepal former PM advice Deuba to raise flooding issue with India

KATHMANDU (The Kathmandu Post/ANN) - Deuba is visiting India just days after floods caused by torrential monsoon rains wreaked havoc across the Tarai region

Former prime ministers have advised Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba to raise contemporary issues, including inundation problems in the Tarai region, during his high-level meetings in New Delhi.

PM Deuba, who is embarking on a five-day state visit to India on August 23, on Friday invited former prime ministers to seek suggestions on the agenda for his visit to India.

Khilraj Regmi, former chairman of the Council of Ministers, who oversaw the second Constituent Assembly elections in 2013, and former prime ministers Lokendra Bahadur Chand, Jhalanath Khanal and Pushpa Kamal Dahal held discussions with PM Deuba. Former prime ministers KP Sharma Oli and Baburam Bhattarai did not attend the meeting.

PM Deuba is visiting India just days after floods caused by torrential monsoon rains wreaked havoc across the Tarai region, leaving at least 135 dead. Around five million people have been affected by one of the worst floods in the country in many years.

Concerns have been raised from different quarters that infrastructure, roads and embankments built by India on its side of the border caused massive flooding in several districts in the Tarai region.

According to sources, the former prime ministers hence advised PM Deuba to make the inundation issue one of his major talking points during his meetings in the Indian capital.

After landing in New Delhi on August 23, PM Deuba is scheduled to hold a bilateral meeting with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi on August 24. Several Indian ministers are scheduled to call on PM Deuba the same day.

Former prime minister Khanal suggested that Deuba also raise the issue of “unequal treaties” and talk about making the Eminent Persons Group (EPG) more active.

The EPG, which has four members each from both sides, is tasked with reviewing bilateral relations and treaties, including the 1950 Peace and Friendship Treaty, between Nepal and India and recommending changes in the changed context.

This is Deuba’s first foreign visit after becoming the prime minister in June and fourth as the prime minister in the last two decades.

Earlier officials had said Deuba would focus on the implementation of the past pacts and agreements rather than new deals during his India visit.

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