A Pragmatic Approach For Better India-Nepal Ties
The Prime Ministers of Nepal and India have demonstrated that a pragmatic approach and mutual sensitivity can re-energise bilateral relations despite enormous obstacles to Nepal’s democracy, governance, and stability as well as what appear to be unresolvable bilateral irritants.
- Historical Background: India and Nepal have a long-standing, close-knit relationship. Nepal remained independent and sovereign and was never formally colonised by any outside force. India and Nepal have close cultural, religious, and interpersonal links and a shared open border. An important turning point in their relationship, which serves as the foundation of their bilateral relationship, was the signing of the Treaty of Peace and Friendship in 1950.
- Economic Cooperation: India is Nepal’s main economic partner and a significant source of investment and development aid. The South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) and the two nations have a bilateral trade agreement. Commodities like gasoline, machinery, electronics, autos, agricultural items, and more are traded between India and Nepal. In addition, India has helped Nepal improve its infrastructure, including its roads, bridges, and hydroelectric projects.
- Cultural and People-to-People Bonds: Religious and cultural relations between India and Nepal are quite strong. Both nations have a large Hindu population, and there are many religious and cultural interactions between them. For purposes of employment, education, tourism, and religious travel, people from the two nations frequently travel to one another.
- Challenges and tensions: Despite their generally cordial relations, India and Nepal have occasionally encountered difficulties and tensions. Border disputes, transit rights, and disagreements over Nepal’s new constitution have all come up in recent years. These problems have occasionally caused tension in the partnership. However, both nations have constantly emphasised the value of communication and amicable dispute settlement.
Points to Ponder:
- Challenges to Nepal’s democracy and government: The passage admits the nation’s democracy, government, and stability confront formidable obstacles. These difficulties can make the bilateral relationship with India more difficult.
- A pragmatic approach and mutual sensitivity: These are highlighted in the paragraph as ways to rekindle bilateral ties between Nepal and India. Both nations are urged to handle their problems realistically and take into account one another’s worries.
- The first bilateral visit: Prime Minister Prachanda’s trip to India is noteworthy because it demonstrates his readiness to interact with India despite being in a precarious situation at home. It demonstrates political bravery and a commitment to grasping chances to create a better future.
- Bilateral irritant management: Prachanda deserves praise for his pragmatic approach to this problem. He made the decision to concentrate on finding answers and looking into prospects for cooperation rather than giving in to political pressures or requests to adopt a harsh stance.
- Indian Prime Minister’s Sensitivity: The Indian Prime Minister received praise for his sensitivity during Prachanda’s visit. He told Prachanda that disagreements over the border issue would be settled amicably without putting too much weight on any one side’s official account.
- Priorities for economic integration: The passage emphasises how crucial it is for India and Nepal to integrate economically. The expansion of infrastructure, river transit, creative tourism routes, and improved connectivity are top goals. Hydropower projects to provide energy to Bangladesh and India are also high on the list.
- Power sector collaboration: There is a new level of power sector collaboration, which includes the transmission route across India from Nepal to Bangladesh. Within a 10-year period, the goal is to double the amount of power exported from Nepal to India to 10,000 MW.
- Enhancing digital financial connectivity: The text cites the signing of an MoU between the Nepal Clearing House Ltd. and the National Payments Corporation of India to allow cross-border digital payments. In addition, India pledged to supply Nepal with satellite services for a variety of uses, fostering regional collaboration in the space industry.
- Depoliticizing collaboration and combating corruption: The passage emphasises how important it is for Nepal to depoliticize its relations with India, especially when it comes to cooperation on water resources. It also urges Nepal to fight rampant corruption and improve the country’s democracy and administration.
- impression and ownership: According to the passage, India needs to address Nepal’s impression that its foreign policy is no longer a top priority. It is recommended that parties from all sides of Nepal’s political spectrum receive recognition, equity, and ownership for significant advancements rather than just the current administration.
- Potential advantages for Nepal: Despite criticism from Nepal’s opposition parties, the text implies that India may go above and beyond to satisfy Nepal’s requirements and aspirations if development and collaboration are consistently prioritised. It emphasises the likelihood that Nepal might gain from Indian assistance in a number of sectors and experience increased prosperity.