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Posted at: Jan 11, 2019, 5:07 PM; last updated: Jan 11, 2019, 10:44 PM (IST)

Make sure there’s no DeMo-like crisis again, Nepal urges India

Bats for SAARC, says ‘if Trump, Kim can talk, why not others’
Make sure there’s no DeMo-like crisis again, Nepal urges India
Nepalese foreign minister Pradeep Gyawali. Tribune photo

Smita Sharma 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 11

Nepal has sought an assurance from India that if in future another round of demonetisation happens, the Indian currency in circulation in the Himalayan nation will not be stopped from exchanges. This is a key apprehension stemming from recent reports that India would stop printing the new 2,000-rupee notes.

Nepal stopped use of the new Indian 200, 500- and 2000-rupee notes in December 2018. Nepalese foreign minister Pradeep Gyawali raised the issue in his meeting with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Thursday. “We are saying to Indian banks that in future there should be no problems. We want an assurance from the Indian side,” said Gyawali on Friday. 

Nepal faced a crisis with demonetisation announced in 2016, as 7 crore Indian old rupee notes in its banking system and an unaccounted sum in individual possession are yet to be exchanged. The Oli government is pressing for a resolution “The Nepal Rastra Bank has sent a communication to the Reserve Bank of India. The matter is being examined by authorities in the RBI,” said Raveesh Kumar, MEA (Ministry of External Affairs) spokesperson, on Friday.

Speaking to media, Gyawali also batted strongly for revival of the SAARC summit to be hosted by Islamabad, which was derailed following the India led boycott in 2016 in wake of the Uri terror strikes. Nepal is the current Chair of the SAARC and has been advocating regional dialogue.

“There are problems for which the summit was postponed. But there is no alternative but to sit together and mitigate the differences, seek alternatives for mutual cooperation. Problems we are facing now cannot be addressed alone even if they are big countries. Terrorism cannot be fought alone. Poverty cannot be tackled single handedly. Collective efforts are needed,” said Gyawali.  

He further cited US reach out to North Korea to make a case for SAARC resumption. “We need broader regional cooperation.We are requesting all members to sit together and talk. If Trump and Kim can sit together in Singapore to resolve differences, then why not us? In every forum we talk about it,” the minister added. However Indian official position remains the same that the situation has not improved sufficiently and cross border terrorism continues.

Asked about ties with Beijing, Gyawali welcomed the Wuhan informal summit and stressed that Nepal has wonderful relations with both India and China which must not be compared as they have their own characteristics, features and backgrounds. Nepal also hopes that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will soon find time to accept a finalised report of the Eminent Persons Group on bilateral ties, which has been pending since July 2018 .The delay has led to speculation of the report being a sticking point in ties with Gyawali insisting that it was finalised with ‘unanimity’. 

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