Review of India Nepal Relations in the Last 6 Months, 9 October 2018
Dr Sreeradha Datta, Centre Head & Senior Fellow, Neighbourhood Studies, VIF

There have been several high level meetings between India and Nepal in the past six months since Nepal’s PM Oli assumed office in Kathmandu in February this year. These include three visits and a fourth one coming possibly in November by Indian PM Modi, displaying a real seriousness in his promise to work closely with Nepal. Although PM Oli has been to India just once, Indian outreach has been exceptional with Indian External Affairs Minister went to meet Oli even before the oath taking ceremony. In the course of these interactions, a number of new agreements have been signed with India attempting to address all major concerns of Nepal.

The BIMSTEC Summit for which PM Modi had recently visited Kathmandu, was successful and seemed to have generated warmth and camaraderie within the members. It certainly appeared India was able to recover the lost grounds in the Himalayan neighbour. But the last minute decision by Nepal to not join the military exercise in Pune seemed confounding, especially when three of their officers were already in Pune, and that sent a jarring message that Nepal may still have some reservations on certain aspects of the BIMSTEC initiative. Also, Nepal’s recent decision to restore the Burhi Gandaki project to China, is not sending the right signals to India. It appears that India is unable to address the vagaries that haunt this bilateral tie.

The Vivekananda International Foundation organized a Brainstorming Session on ‘India-Nepal Relations - Oli's Six Months: A Review’ on 9 October, 2018. The speakers of the round table included Dr Arvind Gupta, Director, VIF, Lt Gen Ravi Sawhney, C D Sahay, Amb Satish Chandra, Amb Rajiv Sikri, Amb Ashok K Kantha, RNP Singh, Amb D P Srivastava, Dr Sreeradha Datta, Maj Gen P K Mallick, Lt Gen Gautam Banerjee, Nihar R Nayak, Constantino Xavier and Prof S D Muni.
The participants discussed the above issues at length and underlined the importance of strong government to government relationship, and effective channels of bureaucracy between India and Nepal.

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