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Repairing The Complex India-Nepal Relationship


Recent visit of Prime Minister of Nepal, Mr. Sher Bahadur Debua brings an opportunity to repair the India-Nepal Relationship and restore it back to its heights.


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

Dimensions of the Article

  • Positive Outcomes of the Visit
  • China’s growing role
  • Managing Differences
  • Boundary Disputes
  • Way Forward

Positive Outcomes of the Visit

  •  Operationalization of 35km cross border rail link from Jayanagar (Bihar) to Kurtha (Nepal).
  • Two further phases will extend it to Bijalpura and Bardibas.
  • Konkan Railway Corporation will provide the necessary technical support initially.
  • 90 km long 132 kV double circuit transmission line connecting Tila (Solukhumbu) to Mirchaiya (Siraha) close to the Indian border.
  • there are a dozen hydroelectric projects planned in the Solu corridor for which the Nepal Electricity Authority has concluded PPAs of 325 MW
  • Agreements providing technical cooperation in the railway sector, Nepal’s induction into the International Solar Alliance, and between Indian Oil Corporation and Nepal Oil Corporation on ensuring regular supplies of petroleum products were also signed.
  • The joint vision statement on power sector cooperation recognises the opportunities for joint development power generation projects together with cross border transmission linkages and coordination between the national grids.
  • Together with the Pancheshwar project the Milennium Challenge Corporation provides welcome synergy to the4 hydroelectric potential of Nepal.

China’s growing role

  • Till Nepal was monarchy China’s interest was limited to the Tibetan refugees.
  • Now China’s attention has shifted to political parties and institutions like the Armed Forces.
  • Nepal is an important element in China’s growing footprint in South Asia.
  • In 2016, Agreement on Transit Transportation got Nepal access to four sea ports and three land ports of China.
  • A military grant was preceded by the visit of Chinese Defence Minister and later followed by a $32 Million Defence Grant.
  • China has overtaken India as the largest source of FDI in Nepal.
  • Annual Development Assistance has been hiked by China up to $120 Million.
  • China is also engaged with airport expansion in Pokhara and Lumbini.
  • India needs to up its own game and reach out to Nepal to find resolutions.

Managing Differences

  • Cultural, Historic and people to people connect can no longer be invoked by keeping aside the issues.
  • Treaty of Peace and Friendship must be revised so as to ally the fears pf imposition of it by India on Nepal.
  • Two Foreign Ministers must acknowledge publicly the 2016 report of the Empowered Person’s Group in order to proceed with the resolution and joint statement on the treaty.
  • Demonetization is another irritant which must be addressed by India based on mutual satisfaction.
  • Boundary Disputes in the Kalapani and Susta Region must be resolved amicably and any political leverage on the same should not be sought by Nepal.

Way Forward

Need of today is that rhetoric on territorial nationalism shall be avoided and groundwork for dialogue must be laid. Track 2 and 1.5 Diplomacy can help in this regard. India’s commitment to its Neighbourhood Policy must augur well for Nepal and mutually Nepal should be able to grow sustainably with India’s help.

Source – The Hindu

May 2024