Kathmandu: There is no issue between Nepal and India that cannot be resolved through dialogue, Nepalese Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali said on Friday, underlining that the two countries are “friends and not competitors”.

Speaking at an interaction programme organised by Nepal-India Friendship Association in Kathmandu, Gyawali said there is a need to resolve all the outstanding issues between the two countries through mutual discussion and dialogue.

He underlined the need to resolve the outstanding issues between Nepal and India that were left by history and other unresolved issues, including the border problem through the means of dialogue.

It is not very difficult to resolve these issues if we can move forward by maintaining mutual trust and forging a political understanding, he pointed out.

“As Nepal and India are two friends and not competitors, it is not difficult to resolve problems existing between the friends through dialogue,” minister Gywawli said.

India-Nepal bilateral ties came under strain after Defence Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated a 80-km-long strategically crucial road connecting the Lipulekh pass with Dharchula in Uttarakhand on May 8 last year.

Nepal reacted sharply to the inauguration of the road, claiming that it passed through the Nepalese territory. India rejected the claim, asserting that the road lies completely within its territory.

Days later, Nepal came out with a new map showing Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura as its territories.

After Nepal released the map, India reacted sharply, calling it a “unilateral act” and cautioning Kathmandu that such “artificial enlargement” of territorial claims will not be acceptable to it. India said that Nepal’s action violated an understanding reached between the two countries to resolve the boundary issues through talks.

Early this month, Nepal and India agreed to conduct a joint study of the ongoing construction activities carried by the Indian side along the Indo-Nepal border in Darchula district.

Gyawali said Nepal and India are moving forward by joining hands in their fight against COVID-19.

“India has helped Nepal in our effort to control the spread of the coronavirus by availing vaccines,” he said.

“Nepal and India are collaborating so that the virus would not spread through our open borders. As there is an 1,800-km-long open border between the two countries we can control the spread of the virus only through cooperation,” he said.

Nepal on Friday reported four more COVID-19 related fatalities, pushing the death toll to 3,070. The country also recorded 836 new cases, taking the overall infection tally to 282,890 with 5,008 active cases.

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