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India-Nepal Talks

  • 12 Aug 2020
  • 3 min read

Why in News

The ambassadors of India and Nepal are likely to meet in Kathmandu (Nepal) to review projects funded by the Indian government.

  • The meeting is likely to take place via videoconference in view of the Covid-19 pandemic situation.

Key Points

  • This meeting will be a part of India- Nepal Joint Oversight Mechanism.
    • The mechanism was established in 2016 to review ongoing bilateral economic and development projects.
  • The government of India has allocated Rs. 800 crore in budget 2020-21 for projects in Nepal.
    • These projects include building roads in the Terai region, helping Nepal in its post-earthquake (2015) reconstruction work, building railway lines, a police training academy, a polytechnic college, an oil pipeline and border check posts.
    • Recently, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between India and Nepal for the construction of a sanitation facility at the Pashupatinath Temple, Kathmandu.
  • This meeting is important in light of recent tensions between India and Nepal.
    • In 2017, 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.
    • In 2019, a new political map of India, made after the bifurcation of the state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) into the Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh, showed Kalapani, Lipulekh and Limpiyadhura as part of Pithoragarh district in Uttarakhand state.
      • India and Nepal have border disputes over Kalapani - Limpiyadhura - Lipulekh trijunction between India-Nepal and China and Susta area (West Champaran district, Bihar).
    • Nepal objected strongly against this map and opinionated that the issue should be resolved through negotiations.
    • Further, the inauguration of a road up to Lipulekh Pass (for Kailash Mansarovar Yatra) by the Indian government on the border with China sparked more protests from Nepal.
    • In retaliation, Nepal released a new map that includes all the disputed territories claimed by India.

Way Forward

  • India and Nepal should together strive towards clearing the tensions between the two countries which have historically shared close ties. Nepal’s growing affinity with China can also pose a security concern for India amidst the India-China conflicts.
  • As India has adopted a Neighbourhood First Policy, it must work more proactively with Nepal in terms of people to people engagement, bureaucratic engagement as well as political interactions.
  • In this context, the Gujral Doctrine which helped in resolving India-Bangladesh dispute can be of much help.

Source: IE

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