Topic : India’s relationship with neighbourhood countries
Qn. “ There is a strong fear in Nepal that Nepal is an ‘India-locked’ country. Do you think this fear is justified ?Explain the factors and dynamics that impact upon the India Nepal relationship” (250 words)
Why this Question ?
The question has been asked in the background of changing nature of the relationship between India and Nepal.Relationship between India and Nepal have never been on a even keel since the election of Mr. Oli as the Nepali Prime Minister. Since then various disputes have kept both India and Nepal at loggerheads with each other.
The first part of the question requires bringing out the apprehensions in the minds of the Nepalese about the perception of dominance of India over Nepal.
the second part of the question has to state the determinants of the Indo Nepal relationship.
Since it is a 250 word answer, an apt introduction to the question could be to the length of about 40-50 words.
The introduction can revolve around the historical aspects of relationship between India and Nepal and can point to recent issues that have strained the relationship between the two nations.
The introduction for the question could be:
Nepal enjoys a special relationship with India due to the shared history,culture and trade between the nations. The realtionship between the two nations was further cemented with the signing of the Indo-Nepal treaty of friendship in the year 1950. Open borders between the nations and the use of common currency signify the extent to which the two nations are related to one another. Certain issues in the recent past have caused strain in the relationship between India and Nepal.
Nepali fears of Indian Dominance:
Nepal being a mountainous nation finds itself surrounded by India on all three sides. This gives a sense of insecurity to the smaller nations of geographical dominance by the larger neighbour. Since the boundaries are not fenced, there is a difference in perception about where the boundaries lie. Recent Kalapani issues is an example in this regard.
2. Indian Economic blockade
In 2015, the Indian government had imposed an economic blockade on Nepal on account of the new constitution not taking the interest of Madeshis into consideration. This blockade crippled the economy of Nepal and even essential supplies of cooking gas and fuel was not supplied to Nepal. This heightened the insecurities in the minds of the Nepalis about the Indian bullying attitude.
3. Rising Nepali nationalism
Assertion of Nepali identity has become a recent electoral topic in the recent Nepal elections. With each party convincing the voters that they are more anti India than the other party, a general environment of anger in the minds of the Nepalese against the Indian government seems to have been built up. Even school curriculum in Nepal has topics about the economic blockade imposed by India against Nepal in 1969. This creates a new young generation of Nepalese who are disenchanted against India.
4. India’s unequal hydro diplomacy
Inspite of the huge potential for Hydro electricity that lies untapped in Nepal, the implementation of projects by Indian authorities is very slow. Increasing interest shown by Chinese companies have led to cancellation of projects that were earlier signed with India. In addition to that Nepalese allege that Indian projects are located downstream and it would only serve the purpose of controlling the floods in India and not to truly generate power for the development of Nepal. This criticism does not appear to be excessive or unwarranted.
Factors that determine Indo-Nepali Relationship :-
- Role of China
- Competitive nature of politics in Nepal
- Connectivity to Ports
- Security and stability of Nepal
Nepal should realize that China’s embrace has always been of benefit only to China. Recent news reports have pointed out to Chinese claim on villages located on the China-Nepal border. Chinese interest in Nepal has always been to strategically place itself in the vicinity of India. Indo- Nepal realtionship has always been a realtionship between the people of both nations. The Roti-Beti-Vyavahar phrase of the Indian
Defense Minister is the real tribute to the nature of the Indo Nepal relationship and it is in the benefit of both India and Nepal to resolve these irritants amicably respecting each other’s territorial sovereignty and with India being the larger neighbour has to go an extra mile in providing concessions to Nepal.