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An Opportunity to repolish India-Nepal ties

Context

Nepal’s Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Debua is visiting India. This visit comes after four years and is the first for Mr. Debua abroad.

Relevance

GS-II: Bilateral, Regional and Global Groupings and Agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

Dimensions of the Article

  • Issues with India-Nepal ties
  • Complicated Geopolitics
  • Priorities for India and Nepal
  • A new Nepal
  • Way Forward

Issues with India-Nepal ties

  • Kalapani Border dispute.
  • India’s refusal to accept Rs 7 Cr. Demonetized monetary bills.
  • Unknown fate of the report submitted by the Eminent Person’s Group.
  • Mistrust between India and Nepal over plane hijacking 20 years ago which leads to pre-boarding security checks.

Complicated Geopolitics

  • Nepal wants to make the best use of its geographical location that is between India and China.
  • China sees Nepal as a pressurizing tactic over India and does not want Nepal to engage actively with the US.
  • US recently granted $500 Million grant to Nepal under the Millennium Challenge Corporation, which is being seen as a step to counter rising Chinese influence.
  • India does not want to see an outside power in Nepal which is clear from the fact where it offered alternatives to MCC.
  • China has made it clear the Nepal can engage with India exclusively.

Priorities for India and Nepal

  • Power Trade Agreement can be used to build trust with Nepal.
  • Buying power from Nepal would save India from the hefty investments, environmental damage and maintenance.
  • Trade and Transit agreements should be rethought where goods and payments can move through electronic platforms.
  • Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPPA) needs more attention from Nepal where they should pave for Indian investors.

A New Nepal

  • Mr. Debua needs to make his intentions of engagement with India clear.
  • However, India needs to accept the New Nepal where it will engage with both China and U.S to further its interests.

Way Forward

India and Nepal share a common history, cultural links and geographical proximity which should be leveraged to further their relationship. India needs to build trust among Nepal people where they must not see India as a bully. We can only hope to see the relationship of ‘Roti and Beti’ getting better with the steps in the right direction.

Source – The Hindu

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October 2022
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