How To Be A Pal – on India Nepal Relations

Source– The post is based on the article “How To Be A Pal” published in “The Times of India ” on 2nd June 2023.

Syllabus: GS Paper 2 – India and its neighbourhood

News: Nepal PM Prachanda visited India for the first time, during his present tenure.

During Prachanda’s visit, several agreements were signed, including a transit treaty, bilateral digital payments, and a long-term understanding on power trade, which are positive steps.

However, India needs to consider the changing dynamics of their relations and transform its approach towards Nepal.

What are the changing dynamics that need to be considered in India Nepal Relations?

Changing equation: Over time, the dynamics of the India-China-Nepal equation have undergone significant changes, with strained India-China ties and Chinese incursions.

Strategic battleground: Nepal is becoming a battleground for the US and China. US has entered in the Nepal’s political discourse by around the $500 million US grant. On the other hand, China is pushing for faster implementation of Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Awareness of power rivalry: The ongoing Ukraine conflict has made Nepal cautious about not becoming a bone of contention between major powers.

Therefore, Nepal will naturally try to maintain close relations with both India and China.

What should be India’s approach towards Nepal?

Soft approach: The unresolved bilateral border issue should be addressed through diplomatic discussions rather than exacerbating tensions. For example, 2015 blockade reversed the goodwill generated by India, before that.

Economic cooperation: India should expedite pending projects in Nepal and follow a needs-based development model.

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