Interaction with H.E. Mr. Deep Kumar Upadhyay, Nepal’s Ambassador to India
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Ahead of Nepalese President Ms Bidya Devi Bhandari’s scheduled visit to India later this month, the Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF) hosted H.E. Mr. Deep Kumar Upadhyay, Nepal’s Ambassador to India, for an interaction on ‘India-Nepal Relations: The Way forward’ on 07 April 2017.

Encompassing a broad range of bilateral issues, inter alia, economic cooperation, cooperation in hydro energy, river management, disaster management, improving physical connectivity and managing people’s perceptions about each other, the interaction kicked off with General NC Vij, Director, VIF, reiterating that destinies of India and Nepal are interlinked in many ways. It is pertinent to note here that India and Nepal not only have contagious border but also sharestrong civilizational and socio-cultural links from ages that led to a unique and special relationship between them. The uniqueness of their relationship is further underscored by the fact that both countries allow their citizens to visit each other’s country without passports and visas and also confer on a reciprocal basis the honorary rank of General on each other’s Army Chief. Bilateral ties however have been on a swing since September 2015 when groups in Nepal’s Madesh region protesting against their new constitution blocked key border trading points. While the visit undertaken by the Indian President Shri Pranab Mukherjee to Nepal last yearhas since led to an improvement in the overall bilateral atmosphere, further surge in the bilateral ties is expected after the visit of Nepalese President Ms Bidya Devi Bhandari to India, the Director expressed his optimism in his opening remarks.

H.E. Deep Kumar Upadhyay reiterated Nepal’s commitment for a strong and peaceful relationship with India. He stressed that regular exchanges at the highest level are crucial to resolving key differences between the two countries while adding differences exist mostly at the level of perceptions. While he touched on a number of bilateral issues in his presentation, two things stand out: his focus on reducing Nepal’s trade deficit with India and reviving stalled hydropower projects, especially Pancheshwar multipurpose project, Arun III, Karnali Chisapani and Upper Karnali, among others. Besides discussing cross-border power transmission lines and cost-benefit analysis of hydropower projects, Nepal’s Ambassador also underscored the importance of six-laning of transport corridors, especially on the Indian side of the border. The lingering Chinese shadow on the bilateral relationship between India and Nepal, anti-Indian sentiments in parts of Nepal, military to military relations and security cooperation between India and Nepal, and influences of internal political developments on the bilateral relationship, among other issues, figured prominently during the interactive session. The Indian interlocutors stressed, among other things, on Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN) joining a regional hub of connectivity for an integrated development of the region.

Finally, Amb Kanwal Sibal, Mr. KM Singh and Mr. RNP Singh, among others, engaged the Nepalese Ambassador in a thorough, free and frank exchange of views.

Event Date: 
April 7, 2017