NEW DELHI: Nepal's ambassador to India Shankar Prasad Sharma on Wednesday said talks are underway between India and Nepal over the recruitment process of Gorkhas under India's Agnipath scheme.
This remark comes after Nepal recently stopped the recruitment of Gorkhas under the Agnipath scheme. "Nepal has stopped for a while. They are negotiating and talking with the different political parties. They will come and decide (on the issue) very soon," the Nepalese envoy told ANI in response to a question about the Agnipath scheme.
Nepal ambassador indicated that the tripartite agreement between India, Nepal and UK could be a sticking point as the implication of the law is unknown under the Agnipath scheme. "When 75 per cent of the people basically de-mobilised, what could be the implication to the society," he said. The envoy also highlighted how the upcoming general election could also prove to be a deciding factor as the final decision could have a wider implication on the polls. "I guess so. Now is election time in Nepal. All political parties are in discussions and they will come up with the decision soon," he said but remained positive on the possible way out of the issue.
The Nepal envoy also praised age-old ties between India and Nepal, citing the link of hundreds of Gorkha serving in the Indian Army. "Gorkha link is very strong. More than a hundred thousand people get pensions every year. About 32,000 Gorkhas are currently serving in the Indian Army. Plus, when if you see some of the settlements that have been seen by the Nepal people in India, the Gorkha Regiment and the Gorkha people, their share is very high. So I think there is a strong link between Gorkhas so I am sure some amicable solution will come between the two countries," he told ANI.
This emergence of this issue comes against the backdrop of Indian Army chief Gen. Manoj Pandey's visit to Nepal. During his visit, the Indian Army chief will meet senior officials and its counterpart and Agnipath issues is likely to feature in the talks. "I think there is a visit, for example, the commander-in-chief of the Indian Army is going to visit Nepal and there has been a discussion going on so I think it will be more clear in days to come," Nepal Ambassador told ANI.
On the status of Indo-Nepal border talks, the envoy said, "There are two issues. One is a boundary issue that has been there for the last several years. We call it no man's land because of the repair of pillars. That will be seen by the boundary working group." The other issue, he said, "as the government had is saying that it will be initiated soon the dialogue of secretary level. So we are hoping that it will happen soon."