Interaction with a Nepalese Business and Trade Delegation
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Leading a twelve-member business and trade delegation from Nepal, Mr. Bhanu Bhakta Dhakal, the Chief Whip of CPN-UML (the second largest political party in Nepal’s consensus government) visited the Vivekananda International Foundation on 22 Feb 2016 for an interaction on the broader dynamics of Indo-Nepal relations against the backdrop of Nepal’s recent political crisis. The delegation, part of the visiting Nepalese Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s entourage, comprised, among other elected representatives, Chief whips of other political parties and Mr. Sushil Gyawali and Mr. Radesh Pant, both Chief Executive Officers of Nepal’s Reconstruction Authority and Investment Board respectively.

General NC Vij, former Chief of the Indian Army and the present Director, VIF, right at the start of the interaction, expressed satisfaction over the lifting of blockade by the Madhesi on the Indo-Nepal border as also the pace of progress in bilateral relations triggered by oli's Visit to india. The Nepalese delegation gave a long overview of the constitution making process. They further underlined that while the present Constitution of Nepal may still have lacunae, it was the best they could have arrived at under the present circumstances. Nepal being a diverse country, it is difficult to accommodate aspirations of all segments of the society. However, with talks still continuing with the agitating Madeshi, differences will be further narrowed down. The ensuing interaction broadly focused on the economic dimensions of the relationship, with members of the VIF faculty underlining the need for an integrated development model for the region to which Nepal can play a significant role. While specific projects in infrastructure, especially those related to hydro-power, transport, tourism etc., were discussed, a major focus of the interaction lay on interlocking the relationship through such projects. The VIF faculty further underscored that in the race for development if India races ahead while the smaller neighbours fall behind, it will be detrimental to India’s security interests. Hence, it is imperative to take the neighbours along the path of development. The interaction also briefly touched on Nepal’s evolving foreign policy. While the Nepalese delegation said they are open to maintaining good neighbourly relations with both China and India, they also reiterated that bonds that hold India-Nepal together are irreplaceable. The interaction concluded on a positive note with both sides agreeing on the need to continue the dialogue process in order to take the bilateral relationship on a positive trajectory. With General Vij moderating the discussions, Amb Rajiv Sikri, Amb TCA Rangachari, Amb Tariq Karim, and Ms. Satwant Khanalia, the last a representative of the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, among others, participated in what could be described as a highly illuminating and productive interactive session.

Event Date 
February 22, 2016
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