Nepal is all set to host a major summit Sagarmatha Sambad. What is interesting is that the country has invited all SAARC leaders including PM Modi for the event. Speaking to our diplomatic correspondent Sidhant Sibal in Kathmandu, Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali on SAARC said that the grouping cant be replaced by BIMSTEC and both groupings are complementary to each other.

Question: How do you see the relationship?Gyawali: Nepal and India enjoy an excellent bilateral relationship which is characterized by an open border, enhanced level of people to people contact, sharing of a common culture, religion and shared values. We are trying to take the relationship to near heights, that it can incorporate the new aspect of the development and economic partnership so that people of both countries can be benefitted.

Question: You plan to host the Sagarmatha Sambad. Can you give us the details of the project?Gyawali: We are hosting the Sagarmatha Sambad, which means the Everest dialogue, in April. It will be a permanent forum aiming to bring together scientists, academia and civil society to discuss and explore the ways and ideas of common concern that we are facing now. The theme will be climate change, mountains and future of humanity in which we will discuss the adverse impact of climate change. We will discuss the ecological link between the mountains and the oceans and explore new ways on how we can address this alarming challenge because it is posing a serious threat to not just the mountainous country but the small island states as well.

Question: Who all will you be inviting?Gyawali: We have invited all the SAARC member nations and the nations of the Hindu Kush Himalayan region including Myanmar. We have also invited small island nations, some European friends, some Latin American friends, some friends from Africa as well, keeping in mind that the summit will be focused on the ecological link between mountains and oceans, we have invited many heads of the states, academia, scientist, researchers, and private sector.

Question: On the Kalapana border issue, have you engaged with the Indian side?Gyawali: We are in close contact, and we hope that very soon the foreign secretaries which will settle the unresolved issue. We are optimistic that via the diplomatic discussions, based on historical evidence, maps, treaties, we can solve it. We would not like to carry on the baggage of history and focus on the future.

Question: Do you think SAARC can be replaced by BIMSTEC?Gyawali: No, I don’t think so, because SAARC has its own history, strength and perspective. It cannot be and should not be replaced by some other mechanism. Both BIMSTEC and SAARC move together and we should not look at it as exclusive. They can be complementary and though we all know that there are some problems and misunderstandings, we are optimistic that member nations can avail of new ways to mitigate the differences and revive regional cooperation. Without strong regional cooperation, we cannot address the common problems we are facing.

Question: Cross border terror, the big challenge?Gyawali: Terrorism is a common challenge to global humanity and it is not a threat to just a particular country and one should have an unconditional stance towards it. All forms and the manifestation of terrorism should be condemned. It should be resisted, it should be protested and there should be no ifs and buts. Equally important is to explore new areas of cooperation because such it adds value to our struggle against terrorism.

Courtesy : DNA

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