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Review of India-Nepal relations in the light of the current changing global scenario

india nepal relation
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India Nepal Relation

Recently, the situation became uncomfortable for India when Nepal objected to the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra after India inaugurated the Lipulekh-Dharachula route, calling it a one-sided activity. Nepal's Foreign Ministry claimed that the area east of the Mahakali River falls within the Nepal border. It is noted that Nepal officially released the new map, which considers the Kalapani, Limpiyadhura and Lipulekh (Lipulekh) of Uttarakhand as part of its sovereign territory. Certainly Nepal's response to this has taken India by surprise. Not only this, the Prime Minister of Nepal KP Sharma Oli has strained relations between the two countries by blaming India for the spread of corona virus in Nepal.
In fact, it is called 'Chinese magic' or Nepal's diplomatic trick that for the last few years, there has been a continuous effort to harass India. India sees all these efforts as Nepal's increasing proximity to China. In such a situation, the big question is whether the 'Chinese trick' is overshadowing the centuries-old relationship between India and Nepal? Or to assume that in recent times Nepal has become more ambitious and India is not fulfilling its aspirations.
In this article the background of India-Nepal historical relationship, the area of ​​cooperation between the two countries, the point of dispute between the two countries and the role of China in it and Nepal's importance to India will be discussed.

Background of Indo-Nepal relations-

india nepal relation

• Nepal is an important neighbor of India and due to the geographical, historical, cultural and economic relations that have been going on for centuries, it also has special importance in our foreign policy.

• India and Nepal share similar relationship in terms of Hinduism and Buddhism, it is noteworthy that Lumbini, the birthplace of Buddha, is in Nepal and his Nirvana place is located in Kushinagar India.

• The Indo-Nepal Peace and Friendship Treaty of 1950 is the basis of the special relationship that exists between the two countries.

India-Nepal peace and friendship treaty-

india nepal peace and freindship treaty
india nepal peace and freindship treaty

• It is a bilateral treaty between India and Nepal that aims to establish close strategic relations between the two South Asian neighbors.

• This treaty allows for the free movement of people and goods between the two countries and a closer relationship and cooperation between defense and foreign affairs.

• At the same time, this treaty also allows Nepal to purchase weapons from India.

• Through this treaty Nepal has been able to obtain many privileges by being a land-lock country.

• The open border of India-Nepal is a peculiarity of the relations between the two countries, which facilitates ease of movement of the people of both countries.

• The two countries share a common border of more than 1850 km, connecting the five states of India - Sikkim, West Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

• There is no major dispute between India and Nepal regarding the border. About 98% per cent of the border has been identified and agreed on its map, there is a dispute over some areas which are being resolved through negotiations.

Different areas of cooperation - Cultural and Religious Areas

india and nepal religious culture
india and nepal religious culture

• Nepal and India share a cultural history around the development of the world's two major religions — Hindu and Buddhism.

• Buddha was born in Lumbini, present-day Nepal. Later Buddha came to Bodh Gaya in the current Indian region in search of enlightenment, where he attained enlightenment. Mahatma Buddha and his followers from Bodh Gaya spread Buddhism to every corner of the world.

• Both India and Nepal have people who believe in Hinduism and Buddhism.

• The plan of the Ramayana Circuit symbolizes the strong cultural and religious ties between the two countries.

Social Area -

The open border of India-Nepal is a peculiarity of the relations between the two countries, which facilitates the movement of people of both countries.

• Livelihood as well as marriage and family relations are strong foundations between the citizens of both countries. This foundation has been named 'Roti-Beti ka Rishta'.

 Economic Zone-

India is Nepal's largest trading partner as well as the largest source of foreign investment.

• India also provides transit facility to Nepal for doing business with other countries. Nepal uses Kolkata port for its maritime trade.

• Indian companies are involved in various economic activities in Nepal. These companies have presence in Nepal in manufacturing, electricity, tourism and services sectors.

Infrastructure Development Area-

india and nepal Infrastructure Development Area
india and nepal Infrastructure Development Area

The Government of India provides development assistance from time to time, with a focus on building infrastructure at the ground level in Nepal.

• It includes issues like health, water resources, education, rural and community development in the infrastructure.

 Defense Cooperation Zone-

The bilateral defense cooperation includes the modernization of Nepal's military through equipment and training.

• The Indian Army also recruits youth from the mountainous regions of Nepal in the Gorkha regiments.

• India has been conducting joint military exercises with Nepal under the name 'Surya Kiran' every year since 2011.

 Disaster Management-

Nepal is often vulnerable to earthquakes, landslides and natural disasters such as avalanches, cloudbursts and floods. This is mainly due to geographical factors as Nepal is located in a naturally sensitive region.

• India has been providing technical and humanitarian assistance along with assistance of personnel in any such cases related to disaster.

 Communication Area-

* Nepal is a land bound country surrounded by India on three sides and Tibet on one side. *
• India-Nepal have initiated various connectivity programs to increase connectivity among its citizens and to promote economic growth and development.

• Recently an agreement was signed between the two governments to lay electric rail tracks to connect Raxaul in India to Kathmandu.

Points of contention -

• The reason for the recent dispute between India and Nepal is a road connecting Dharchula in Uttarakhand to Lipulekh Pass. Nepal claims that this area near Kalapani is part of Nepal and India has done road construction in this area without negotiating with Nepal.

• A new map of Nepal was officially released by Nepal, which considers Kalapani, Limpiyadhura and Lipulekh (Lipulekh) of Uttarakhand as part of its sovereign territory.

• Nepal has mentioned the Sugauli treaty in the year 1816 in this regard. According to Nepal's Foreign Ministry, all areas east of the Kali (Mahakali) River, including Limpiyadhura), Kalapani (Kalapani) and Lipulekh (Lipulekh), under the Sugauli Treaty (year 1816), are an integral part of Nepal.

The Treaty of Sugauli was signed by Nepal and British India in the year 1816 after the Anglo-Nepalese War. It is worth mentioning that the Mahakali river is defined as the western border of Nepal in the Sugauli Treaty.

According to the Government of Nepal, after the partition of Jammu and Kashmir last year, the differences in the new maps published by the Government of India were clear that India has been manipulated by these maps.

Does India also have a role in a deteriorating relationship?

• On November, 2019, India published a new map which shows Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh as a union territory. In this map, Kalapani is also shown as Indian territory. This map gave new life to the old disputes between India and Nepal.

• Nepal also expressed displeasure over objectionable remarks made about Nepali women in Indian films.

• Nepal joined the One Belt, One Road project of China in the year 2017, but India was pressuring Nepal not to participate in this project. Nepal did not like this pressure by India and this incident established the image of 'Big Brother' of India.

The bitterness in relations between the two countries came when the Nepali constitution came into existence in September 2015. However, the Nepali Constitution was not welcomed by India in the way Nepal had hoped.

• Similarly, the human rights council forum was rigorously used to influence political changes in Nepal by Indian representation in Geneva in November 2015, while India has never been openly commenting on Nepal's internal issues before. Went.

• India's approach was to give Madhesis the right to citizenship in Nepal. Among them, lakhs of Madhesis launched a massive movement for citizenship in 2015. There is an allegation by the Government of Nepal that the Government of India, in support of the Madhesis, had laid siege to Nepal at that time.

China's influence on Nepal-

• Significantly, the influence of China is continuously increasing in South Asia. China's presence has increased everywhere in Nepal, Sri Lanka, Pakistan or Bangladesh. All these countries have joined the Belt and Road Initiative Project of China. But India is not in favor of this project.

• After the increasing interference of China in Nepal, there has been no warmth in the relations between India and Nepal for some time. China has taken full advantage of this and strengthened its position in Nepal.

• Chinese language Mandarin has also been made compulsory in many schools in Nepal. The government of China is also ready to bear the expenses of the salary of teachers teaching this language in Nepal.

• China is working on such infrastructure construction projects in Nepal which incur heavy expenditure.

Importance of Nepal for India-

• The importance of Nepal is even more due to the fact that Nepal was one of their early foreign tours in view of the 'first neighborhood policy' after PM Modi came to power. Whereas last time India had any bilateral talks with Nepal in 1997.

• The present government has also entered into several important agreements with the Government of Nepal. Several bilateral agreements have been agreed, including agriculture, railway relations and inland waterway development.

• These include the construction of a strategic railway link between Raxaul and Kathmandu in Bihar to facilitate people-to-people contact and large-scale movement of goods. Apart from this, laying of oil pipeline between Motihari to Amelakhganj in Nepal has also been agreed recently.

• The southern region of Nepal is adjacent to the northern border of India. The bread-daughter relationship is believed to be between India and Nepal. The Madhesi community of Nepal has a cultural and ethnic relationship with Bihar and East-Uttar Pradesh.

• There has never been any special ban on traffic from the borders of the two countries. Social and economic exchange goes on without any deadlock. The Indo-Nepal border is open and no passport or visa is required for transit. This example in many ways reflects the proximity of Indo-Nepal.

Road ahead-

• The Government of Nepal has clarified that it is committed to achieve a diplomatic solution to border issues based on historical treaties, documents, facts and maps, keeping in mind the feeling of close and friendly relations between the two countries.

• India also needs to review its foreign policy. India has to make its policy towards Nepal visionary. As China's influence in Nepal is increasing, India will have to consider strategic profit and loss before demonstrating economic power in its neighborhood.

• Nepal is treating India and China as an independent merchant and India is losing its shine in front of Chinese investment. Therefore, India needs to introduce diplomatic understanding.

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