No plans of sub-regional group between Nepal, China, Afghanistan, Pakistan, says Nepal foreign minister

WION New Delhi Jul 31, 2020, 11.22 PM(IST) Written By: Sidhant Sibal

Representatives of China, Pakistan, Nepal and Afghanistan during a video conference Photograph:( Twitter )

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During the virtual meet, China called for advancing the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and the Trans-Himalayan Connectivity Network and also said it supports the extension of CPEC to Afghanistan

Days after Foreign Ministers of four countries - three from South Asia- Nepal, Afghanistan, Pakistan and China met virtually to deal with COVID-19 crisis, Nepal foreign ministers have dismissed any idea of creating a subregional group involving the four countries. 

Nepal's foreign minister Pradeep Gyawali said, "Virtual conference of four countries was totally focused on the cooperation amid COVID-19. It will unnecessary and wrong to create any other type of coordination between those countries. Nepal, Pakistan, Afghanistan are a member of SAARC and China is an observer of the SAARC, we are already in single umbrella." 

"No possibility, desire or plan to create another sub-regional alliance or organisation comprising of those 4 countries. It was purely confined on cooperation on COVID pandemic," he added. 

During the virtual meet, China called for advancing the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and the Trans-Himalayan Connectivity Network and also said it supports the extension of CPEC to Afghanistan. 

The Nepali foreign minister mentioned about Kalapani, Lipulekh and Limpiyadhura issue saying his office has "time and again asked our Indian friends to formally start the diplomatic negotiation to settle these problems" but the "proposal was not responded timely".

He also called for revisiting of the Gurkha recruitment in Indian and British forces saying, "Gurkha recruitment is legacy of past. It was first window open for Nepali youths to go abroad" but "in the changing context some of its provisions" are not required and "we should start objective discussions...Tripartite agreement of 1947 has become redundant". 

The tripartite agreement was signed between India, UK and Nepal in 1947 on the rights of Gurkhas in military service. More than 30,000 Nepalese Gorkhas are currently serving in the Indian Army's seven Gorkha Rifle regiments. 

On India China tensions, the FM said, "how they manage their differences will definitely set the future of Asia, at least in this region" and while "after Wuhan summit, the partnership between India & China deepened but nowadays, there are tensions after the Galwan clashes. Though both countries are trying their best to de-escalate the tension, however challenge is there".