Focus: GS-II International Relations

Why in news?

With his decision to push through a Constitutional amendment to change Nepal’s official map to include parts of Indian territory that have been in dispute, Nepal Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli has rekindled worries of “nationalist politics” that translates in Nepal to an “anti-India” stance.

A Supporter in the Past

  • In 1996 Mr. Oli split from his own party in order to support the Nepal-India agreement over the Mahakali river water sharing treaty.
  • He cooperated with Indian authorities to pursue wanted criminals who had crossed over the open border between India and Nepal.

What Changed?

  • The promulgation of the Nepali Constitution, one that India felt was unfair to Madhesis living in the south and unrepresentative of India’s interests in the country, seems to mark a drastic change in the relationship between India and Nepal.
  • The blockade at the India-Nepal border resulted in supplies into landlocked Nepal being stopped for months. This adversely affected the India-Nepal relations.
  • An eight-point transit and transport facilitation agreement Mr. Oli signed with Beijing in March 2016, that gave Nepal access to dry ports and rail links from China for the first time may have tilted Nepal towards a stronger relationship with China.
  • The release of India’s new political map of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh has been the latest flashpoint in the relations.

Oli Concerns

  • For PM Oli, this anti-India stance based on nationalistic plank seems to be a legacy building exercise in the Nepali political landscape.
  • The growing discord against Mr. Oli’s leadership within his own party has resulted in Mr. Oli taking a hard stance towards India in an effort to deflect attention from domestic affairs.
  • Mr. Oli has been running an anti-India poll plank during recent elections.

‘Strategic autonomy’

  • India has also hardened its position with Mr. Oli.
  • Despite the agreement in 2014 over Foreign Secretaries meeting on the Kalapani and Susta disputes, no meeting on the disputes has been held in six years.
  • The Nepal PM, wooed by the U.S. and China due to its strategic location, has been insisting on more strategic autonomy in the region and moving away from its traditionally strong relation with India.

Click Here to read more about the Kalapani Row

-Source: The Hindu

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