India, Nepal security talks begin in Kathmandu

By Sudeshna Sarkar, IANS,

Kathmandu : Nepal’s new Maoist-led government began its first bilateral interaction with India Thursday at a senior level, with security talks kicking off here ahead of Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai’s proposed visit to New Delhi.

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Led by India’s joint secretary in the home ministry, K.K. Mittal, the visiting delegation held talks with Mittal’s counterpart, Sudhir Shah and senior Nepali officials, at Radisson Hotel.

The talks took place after a gap of four years, and the agenda is expected to include clamping down on cross-border crimes like smuggling, trafficking and the transport of fake Indian currency to Indian cities via the open border.

Two years ago, when home secretary-level talks were held in Kathmandu, India’s G.K. Pillai had put major emphasis on combating the growing trade in fake Indian currency that has its origin in Pakistani cities Karachi and Islamabad.

The two-day talks will be followed by meetings between the two home secretaries ahead of Bhattarai’s visit to India once he returns from the 66th UN General Assembly in New York.

Though India has pledged to build a training academy for Nepal Police in Panauti and a police training centre in Bharatpur, progress has been slow due to disagreements on the employment of Indian firms for the projects.

India has also agreed to boost the capacity-building of police, armed police, customs officials and district administration officials.

(Sudeshna Sarkar can be contacted at [email protected] )