[op-ed snap] The Nepal reset


Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: Suggestions for improving the relationship between India and Nepal.


Recent visit of the Nepali PM(K.P. Sharma Oli)

  1. The visit signals an important recalibration of bilateral ties
  2. The visit gives hope that the rupture in ties over India’s reservations about Nepal’s new constitution is being repaired

Improvement in the Indo-Nepalese relationship

  1. Mr. Oli put aside the anti-India rhetoric of his election campaign, and came to India on his first post-election visit abroad seeking ‘friendship first, and friendship second and third’
  2. Indian PM also promised support on development projects that meet “Nepal’s priorities
  3. The reset is long overdue, and should be accompanied by a transformation in the tenor of the relationship

Some issues need to be addressed

  1. Nepsl has been too susceptible to conspiracy theories about Indian meddling,
  2. while India and its diplomats in the Nepal embassy have sometimes lent credence to the theories by adopting a patronising attitude

How to further improve the bilateral relationship?

  1. A first step to the reset would be the completion of the ongoing process of updating the 1950 Treaty of Peace and Friendship
  2. Nepal would acknowledge that its citizens have benefited from the ease of employment and residence in India that the treaty provides

What should be done?

  1. India must recognise that Nepal’s aspirational young population is also looking beyond the open Indian border for opportunities,
  2. and Mr. Oli’s desire to turn his “land-locked” country into a “land-linked” country with a merchant navy must be considered positively
  3. From now on deliverables, such as road and railway links, power projects and post-earthquake reconstruction commitments should determine the success of the partnership
    (not just the announcement of new initiatives)
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Nepal
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