Visit by a Nepalese Delegation
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A five-member delegation from Nepal, led by Abdul Razzak, Member of Parliament (Nepali Congress Party) and comprising Dr Jagat Bahadur Pathak, Dr C B Pun, Gopi Prasad and Hira KC as members of the delegation, visited the Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF) on 29 Apr 2016 for a discussion on India-Nepal relations in the present context. It may be recalled that bilateral ties between India and Nepal have been on a roller coaster in recent times, especially since the breakout of protests by Madhesi people in the lower regions of Nepal. The interaction, held at the VIF, broadly intended to think out a common positive agenda for the future course in bilateral relationship.

The interaction got off to an interesting start after Director VIF’s welcome remarks, with the hon’ble Member of Parliament from Nepal urging India to introspect as to why anti-India sentiments are gaining ground in Nepal despite the fact that New Delhi has always stood by its Himalayan neighbour during its many crises the past.

While the M.P. from Nepal pointedly referred to India’s misplaced policies towards a strategically important neighbour, he also hinted at the possibility of such sentiments being fanned by elements inimical to India’s interests in Nepal. The role of Kathmandu-based elitist media, some political parties and NGOs came in for specific mention in this context. While the issue was discussed threadbare during the interactive session, there were a few significant takeaways for the participants.

First and foremost, the interaction underlined that Nepal’s internal developments do affect Indian states in the border regions, and to that extent, it is perfectly legitimate for India to nudge Nepal politically whenever Nepal’s internal dynamics overlap India’s security interests, an obvious reference to the Constitution-making process currently underway in Nepal. While the growing negativism in India-Nepal relationship can be stymied effectively through better management of public perceptions, the political and strategic dimensions of the relationship need to be handled in the background through quite diplomacy.

Nepal should be wary of Madhesi problem taking a secessionist route, if not handled with enough sensitivity. The Madhesi problem is Nepal’s own making and it should stay away from externalizing it. India-Nepal relationship is largely based on people to people relationship as such no stone should be left unturned in order to further build on this component, even as the two countries remain politically engaged while improving connectivity and utilizing all channels of communication. Nepal can hugely benefit from India’s economic spinoffs provided both countries agree to a positive agenda for development. While as part of the interaction a broad range of common issues were discussed, the frankness with which the two engaging sides expressed their views greatly reinforced the feeling that India and Nepal are almost like conjoined twins, their destinies inter-linked. They need to leave behind their past rancour and move forward with a positive outlook, most participants felt. Maj Gen Ashok Mehta, Brig Rahul K. Bhonsle and Dr. Smruti Pattanaik, among others, formed the VIF panel of interlocutors that interacted with the visiting delegation from Nepal.

Event Date 
April 29, 2016
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