General Studies Paper 2 (International Relations)
Question:- 2. ‘India and Nepal have had close ties since ancient times.’ Discuss the character of the bilateral ties in the current times. Also, enumerate the challenges that hinder further progress of the bilateral ties. Answer in 250 words (15 marks)
Jun 23, 2022
Answer:-

INTRODUCTION:

As close neighbors, India and Nepal share unique ties of friendship and cooperation characterized by an open border and deep-rooted people-to-people contacts of kinship and culture. There has been a long tradition of free movement of people across the border. The India-Nepal Treaty of Peace and Friendship of 1950 forms the bedrock of the special relations that exist between India and Nepal. The following are the areas of cooperation:

1. Defence Cooperation- India has been assisting the Nepal Army (NA) in its modernisation by
supplying equipment and providing training. Assistance during disasters, joint military exercises,
adventure activities and bilateral visits are other aspects of India’s defence cooperation with
Nepal.

2. Connectivity and development partnership- India has been assisting Nepal in the areas of infrastructure, health, water resources, education and rural & community development.

3. Water resources cooperation- A large number of small and large rivers flow from Nepal to India
and constitute an important part of the Ganges river basins. These rivers have the potential to
become maior sources of irrigation and power for Nepal and India.

4. Economic
5. Education
6. Culture

In recent years, India’s relations with Nepal have witnessed some “lows’. The relationship between the two took a nosedive in 2015, with India first getting blamed for interfering in the Constitution drafting process and then for an
“unofficial blockade” that generated widespread resentment against India.

LINKAGE POINT: The major challenges that hinder the progress of bilateral ties between India and Nepal are discussed as follows:

1. Border disputes: India and Nepal share about an 1800 Km long border. In 2019, Nepal released
a new political map claiming Kalapani, Limpiyadhura and Lipulekh of Uttarakhand and the area of Susta (West Champaran district, Bihar) as part of Nepal’s territory.

2. Flooding of rivers: Nepal’s three biggest river systems- Kosi, Gandaki and Karnali-originate in
the high mountain glaciers, flow through the country and then enter India through the state of
Bihar. During the monsoon season, these river systems often get flooded due to heavy
rains/landslides in Nepal which create floods in India’s most flood-prone state–Bihar.

3. 3. Anti- India sentiment: Anti-India Sentiment in Nepal is largely politically motivated as it is
wrongly perceived as India’s backing to Monarchy. The widening gap in understanding each
other’s concerns has helped feed Nepali nationalism and create a dense cloud of distrust and
suspicion between the two countries. The gap widened after India chose to impose an economic
blockade in response to Nepal’s sovereign decision to promulgate a democratic constitution.
4.
China factor
Increasing Chinese presence in Nepal is one of the major concerns for India. In2017, Nepal signed up to
China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which sought to create highways, airports and other infrastructure
in the country. BRI was rejected by India and this move of Nepal was seen as an inclination towards
China. Nepal has been slowly fallen prey to China’s inroad debt trap policy.
5.3. Anti- India sentiment: Anti-India Sentiment in Nepal is largely politically motivated as it is
wrongly perceived as India’s backing to Monarchy. The widening gap in understanding each
other’s concerns has helped feed Nepali nationalism and create a dense cloud of distrust and
suspicion between the two countries. The gap widened after India chose to impose an economic
blockade in response to Nepal’s sovereign decision to promulgate a democratic constitution.
4. China factor
Increasing Chinese presence in Nepal is one of the major concerns for India. In2017, Nepal signed up to
China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which sought to create highways, airports and other infrastructure
in the country. BRI was rejected by India and this move of Nepal was seen as an inclination towards
China. Nepal has been slowly fallen prey to China’s inroad debt trap policy.

5.Open borders : The issue of open borders has also been a point of debate in Nepal in recent years- Nepalese people argue that India is benefiting more from it than Nepal.
It has an open border with India which leads to problems such as illegal migrants, counterfeit
currency entry, drug and human trafficking.

6. Madhesis Issue
Madhesis share extensive cross-border ethnic and linguistic links with India. India’s involvement
in Nepali politics and the upsurge in Madhesi have deep roots in history and unless resolved.
Madhesis protest and India’s blockade soured the relations for the worst.

CONCLUSION:
Lately, the government has remodeled the project as West Seti and Seti River (SR-6), a joint
storage project, with the capacity to generate 1,200 megawatts of electricity.
This storage or reservoir will fill up during the monsoon season and the water will be drawn to
generate power during peak hours each day in the dry season. Its success is expected to restore India’s image in Nepal and give it weightage in future
considerations for hydropower projects, when competition is bound to be tough. West Seti,
therefore, has the potential to be a defining model for Nepal India’s power relations in future.