India-Nepal Relations

The relationship between the two countries is bound by history, geography, economic cooperation, sociocultural ties and people-to-people relations. As close neighbours, India and Nepal share a unique relationship of friendship and cooperation characterized by open borders and deep-rooted people-to-people contacts of kinship and culture.

Recent Developments:
  • China opened biggest border trading post based on Nepali’s request in the wake of essential commodities crisis due to blockade on Indian border by Madhesis
  • China to supply fuel and essential commodities in wake of Indian blockade
  • India had pledged $1 billion of reconstruction aid, of which 40 per cent was grant and the balance in the form of soft loans. This was in addition to the $1 billion assistance announced during Mr. Modi’s visit, bringing India’s total commitment to $2 billion over the next five years. 
  • Pokhra-New Delhi direct bus service launched
  • USD 750 million dollars for post-earthquake reconstruction projects in Nepal
  • MoU for Upgradation and Improvement of Road Infrastructure in Terai Area of Nepal
Nepal PM visit to India
Nepal’s Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli paid his first state visit to India. In accordance with tradition, Mr. Oli made India his first destination abroad after becoming Prime Minister in October 2015. India and Nepal signed seven agreements on issues like housing, health, education, cultural heritage etc.
Significance of this visit:
In August 2015, Nepal adopted new constitution since then there is continuous blocked at the indo-Nepal border by Madhesi. Nepal-India tensions spiked last year with the promulgation of a constitution that was perceived as
non-inclusive of ethnic Madhesi and Tharu groups.
  • The Nepal government accused India for imposing the blockade that led to a severe humanitarian crisis in Nepal. The Nepali government alleged that the Indian government had encouraged the blockade to apply leverage on Kathmandu to pursue constitutional reform.
  • India refuted those allegations, stressing that the border tensions were caused by the Madhesi parties and were the outcome of internal protests in Nepal. India also accused Nepal of stoking ‘anti-India’ sentiment and has been irritated about Nepal’s attempt to use the ‘China card’.
  • Nepal PM visit in such circumstance had provided opportunity to both sides to minimize misunderstanding. During the visit India conveyed that Kathmandu should urgently resolve the issue to create a sense of “security and harmony” in the Terai region and ensure “uninterrupted commerce.”
  • Peace and stability in Nepal is vital for India’s economic development and security. Prolonged conflict in Nepal will have spillover effect especially in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh that share open border with Nepal.
  • Anti-India feeling in Nepal may provide opportunity for china to exploit the volatile situation.
Why Nepal is important for India?
  • Strategic importance: Nepal is a buffer state between India and china.
  • Internal security: Nepal shares a long open border with India. There is alleged link between Naxalits and Maoist in Nepal.
  • Socio-economic development of bordering states especially Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.
  • To counter terrorist activities close to border areas: Many hard core terrorists had been apprehended in Nepal close to India’s border.
In your opinion, which country has strategic advantage in Nepal – India or China? Critically examine. (200 Words)
India has a definitive advantage in Nepal compared to China. The kind of relief work India has done in wake of devastating earthquake and with the zeal India has responded shows that India really cares about Nepal wellbeing and it has a strong connect with Nepal. There are many reasons for this strategic advantage:
  1. Open borders: India has a long open border with Nepal which is open for the people of both countries without any Visa. This is emphasized by 1950 Treaty of Peace and Friendship. There are lot of Nepalese and Indians working in each other countries respectively. On the other hand China has Himalayas in between the two countries which act as a natural barrier to any advantage.
  2. Army: Indian army has lot of Nepalese citizens working and there is a regiment which serves in India but comes from Nepal i.e. Gorkha rifles. It means much more as hundreds upon thousands of Ghales, Gurungs, Thapas and Ranas from this region regularly join its ranks with cheer. These people have fought many wars for India with courage. Even today, Nepal receives the largest number of training slots in Indian military institutions. China again lacks this connect with Nepal.
  3. Culture: Culturally also both the countries connect well and have a strong bond due to Buddhism. Also there are temples in Nepal which people from India visit and same stands for Nepal. food habits, language, religion (Hinduism & Buddhism) join the two countries; Indian cinema & music is highly popular in Nepal. Matrimony across border is common feature.
  4. Diplomatic engagements: both India & Nepal have meted out special treatments to each other; General of each army is honorary General in other army; max slots are reserved for Nepal in Indian military training institutions; Nepal has always duly attended to concerns from India.
Definitely Indo-Nepal relationship is a strong one; however the growing Sino-Nepal engagements should force India to enhance its efforts to reach out to Nepal.



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