India’s relations with its Himalayan neighbor has stood by the ravages of time in spite of all the odds, be it the change of guard under its newly formed democracy, a smooth execution of bilateral trade or India’s acknowledgment of the KP Oli led Leftist government that came to power.
But what really caught the media buzz was the recent visit of the Nepalese Premier Khadga Prasad Oli to India, forecasting novel ties between the two next door neighbors.
The new Premier of Nepal’s Left-leaning government seems far too promising as this is his first foreign trip ever since he became Premier.
At present Nepal runs a coalition government under KP Oli’s CPN-UML and Prachanda’s CPN(Maoist center).
It wasn’t long back when KP Oli held India responsible for the economic blockade that cost Nepal huge loss, followed by his ouster in 2015 only to become China’s close ally.
Speculations were rife in the Indian political circles that Oli may snub off India and embrace China post his emphatic victory in 2017.
However, Oli decided to hold the golden tradition of Nepalese leaders to choose India as the first foreign destination since assuming power.
KP Oli’s giant leap of faith towards India designates that he is ready to bury the hatchet and start the clean slate.
The whole Indo-Nepal relations suffered a backlash when the Nepalese constitution was framed under the newly established federal republic, when India felt that the drafted constitution deprived the Madhesis ( inhabitants of the foothills of Nepal bordering India) of their political rights.
KP Oli is famous for his flamboyance and statesmanship and presenting his views articulately.
Madhesis have ethnic similarities with people of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar sharing borders with India, who form 25 % of Nepal’s population. This ethnic minority community launched an agitation in 2015 over the demarcation of the Terai region where they reside as a separate province in the majority.
They felt that the separation was a means to divide them from their political rights especially in a region where they formed the majority. New Delhi also extended its support to the Madhesis by blocking all the checkpoints on transit routes to and from Nepal, which are a prime source of trade between the two nations.
This blockade triggered a humanitarian crisis ceasing exchange of goods between Nepal and India, stoking anti-India sentiments within the Himalayan nation.
The souring of ties was a vantage point for China which cajoled the Oli government into signing a slew of transit deals with Beijing.
the Indian diplomats gathered in a meeting over forging close cultural, religious and ethnic ties with each other by signing a horde of deals on infrastructure projects on power, irrigation, hydroelectric, rail and roads, bridges.
India really needs to get its act together to cement its ties with its Himalayan neighbor and offer Nepal a preferential trade status to improve the bilateral relations.
India seriously needs to put all the pending projects with Nepal back en rigor.
Here are the inherent views of some Indians who consider Nepal as India’s great partner-
Parth Sharma from Delhi feels Nepal is a great tourist destination attracting a lot of natural beauty and also feels that free trade is the prime right of bilateral relations between the two countries. He also feels proud of sportsmen Jeetu Rai from Nepal( naturalized Indian) winning gold medals for India.
Parth opines that Modi government’s move to aid Nepal during 2015 earthquakes was commendable, which is in accordance with India’s foreign policy. He finds momos the traditional cuisine of Nepal mouth watering.
Parth also welcomes Modi’s decision to double India’s aid to Nepal by 650 crores to rebuild their infrastructure of roads and railways.
He also appreciates digital India and skills India initiative taken by the Modi government.
Even though the Chinese influence of Nepal is increasing in India, Parth feels that if India’s stance to provide employment opportunities and infrastructural support to Nepal can help India have an edge over China.
Laxmi Singh, Child activist and founder of Pinaki, feels Nepal is synonymous with Monisha Koirala, an Indian actress of Nepalese origin.
She feels that India and Nepal should follow the Indo-Nepal friendship and peace treaty signed in 1950 in true spirit, enabling a free trade exchange between the two nations, as Nepalese people can easily accommodate to the Indian social and climatic conditions.
She feels Nepalese are very hard-working and holds the sportsperson Jeetu Rai, who is winning accolades for India, in high regards and totally deserving the achievement he receives.
Laxmi feels that India’s decision to aid Nepal during the earthquake was a humanitarian move even though Nepal felt India was interfering its policies. She loves momos and finds them a delectable. She would love to visit Nepal which is culturally intrinsic part of India and enjoy its picturesque landscape.
Laxmi also believes that Modi’s doubling of aid to Nepal will help in rebuilding its relations with it. She feels India should bear caution over Nepal’s proximity towards China, being its closed neighbor, and should refrain from playing second fiddle to China.
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