- Charactarised by H & C ties, close P2P ties facilitated by open borders.
- SD Muni—Roti-beti ka rishta.
- Shyam Saran— “More than exemplary interstate rel”
Critical nature Of Relationship
- Shyam Saran (How India Sees the World)—Calls I-N rel as “Relationship of Paradox”
- Paradox of affinity coexisting with hostility.
- Dense P2P ties but recurrent tensions in G2G rel.
- Co-ex of Deep attachment to India & deep fear of domination by India.
- Economic interdependence
- Social constructivism
- Communication approach
Imp of Nepal
- Geo Economics—HEP, Trade & investment
- Geo-strategic—Buffer b/w 2 Asian giants
- Geo-Poltiical– Modi—Nepal is centrepiece of “N-1st” policy, Integrated S.A, SAARC, UNSC reforms, BBIN, BIMSTEC
Issues in India’s Policy
- SD Muni—India’s Nepal Policy is a subset of India’s China policy
- Constantino Xavier —Some in India still look at 21st century Nepal through a 19th century colonial prism–as a buffer state with limited sovereignty
- Shyam Saran—
- Episodic & crisis-driven and not backed by human & material resources that our neighbours deserve.
- Nepal’s dependence for transit makes it feel -‘India-locked’
- Too focused on political shadow play, little attention to cultivating constituencies with +ve sentiments towards India— Indian Army pensioners, Madhesis etc
- Nationalistic sentiments + China card
- Constantino Xavier—Nepal is embracing a policy of strategic diversification to reduce its dependence on India & enhance its non-aligned autonomy.
- C Rajamohan—Present FP of Nepal is about weakening “special rel” with India & building more co-op with China.
- Manjeev s. puri—Glbl spread Nepal’s options beyond India + Geo also stands to change, with Chinese potential to bore through Himalayas
- Dinesh Bhattarai (How to be friends in deed)–Rel are Dominated by frustrations of past more than opp of future.
Tightening Sino-Nepal strategic embrace
Why Nepal is tilting towards China?
- SD Muni— China’s determination of strategic push in S.A & India’s flip-flop approach towards neighbours
- C. Rajamohan—China’s dramatic rise in 21st century makes it a far more compelling partner for Kathmandu.
Xi’s visit (oct 2019)
- Trans-Himalayan connectivity
- Legal ass treaty
- China became largest foreign investor
- Nepal signed a Transit protocol with China which gives Nepal access to 4 sea ports & 3 land ports in China
Why India is failing?
- C. Rajamohan—
- Not bcz of over-reliance on geopolitics, but due to neglect of geoeconomics
- Communist dominance over Nepal’s politics
- Bcz of strategic errors in dealing with Nepal
- Delhi’s much-vaunted “special rel” with Kathmandu is part of the problem
- S D Muni— As Rel r deeply intertwined by geo, civilisational bonds, the strain could not have been sustained for long.
- C. Rajamohan-“A more equal friendship”
- Alleged loss of Indian “hegemony” over Nepal is based on questionable assumptions.
- India’s hegemony in Nepal is over-stated. It was very limited & always constrained by Nepal’s domestic politics.
Way forward w.r.t China factor
- C Raja Mohan– “A more equal friendship”
- Rather than object to Kathmandu’s China ties, Delhi must focus on how to advance India’s relations with Nepal.
- Harsh V. Pant—
- No point lamenting Chinese presence. Instead, India shd provide an alternative narrative for I-N ties
Way Forward for India-Nepal relations
- SD Muni— India’s Nepal policy needs caution & not Grandstanding
- Rakesh Sood—Rewriting the fundamentals—Need a fundamental reset in I-N rel—Need for India to be a generous partner
- C. Raja Mohan— Nepal first policy based on ‘sovereign equality’ & strict non-interference in domestic affairs + Mutual respect is the key
- Amb. Manjeev S. Puri— Update the prism by incorporating realities of a changing India & a changing Nepal.
- Shyam Saran— Convince Nepal that they are ‘India Open’, not India-locked + Cultivate constituencies with +ve sentiments towards India.
- PM Modi—India will continue to remain a steadfast partner of Nepal’s vision of “Samriddha Nepal, sukhi Nepali”
- PM Oli—Nepal wants “equality based friendship” with India
Recently Nepal published new map depicting Kalapani, Limpiyadhura & Lipulekh as part of its territory.
Is this reflects a serious problem? Yes
- C Raja Mohan— It is “merely a symptom of structural changes unfolding in the external & internal context of bilateral rel.”
- Jayant Prasad— More easily solvable, if there is political good will & statecraft exercised on both sides.
1950 Treaty of Friendship
- It has become symbol of Indian hegemony in Nepal.
- Its security value for India has long been hollowed out.
- It is a political millstone around India’s neck that Delhi is unwilling to shed for the fear of losing the “special rel”.
- Revise, replace, or discard 1950 treaty & negotiate a new set of mutually satisfactory arrangements.
Shyam Saran—Renegotiate all the treaties with Nepal to allay it’s apprehensions & dissatisfaction