India and Nepal Ties in Recent Times

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India and Nepal resolved certain issues that had cropped up between historically two strongly bonding nations when Prime Minister of Nepal K P Sharma Oli visited India.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also acknowledged that Nepal-India ties had suffered problems after promulgation of the Constitution in Nepal. The problems were however, the thing of past after two PMs sat and talked over the issues.

Indo-Nepal ties

Both the Prime Ministers jointly inaugurated Mujaffarpur (India)-Dhalkebar (Nepal) transmission system. Also members of Nepali and Indian delegations signed and exchanged seven agreements for partnership and progress.

New template since May 2014

When PM Modi arrived in Nepal on two day visit on 3rd August 2014 it marked a new beginning of India's ties with Nepal. It was the first bilateral trip by an Indian PM to Nepal in last 17 years.

PM Modi got the rare honour to address Nepal's Constituent Assembly and he held talks with his Nepalese counterpart Sushil Koirala and met other leaders too.

The high point of the visit was when PM united Nepalese man Jeet Bahadur with his family. PM Modi had met a child Jeet Bahadur in helpless condition and had paid for his education and other expenses. He also had helped Jeet Bahadur locate his lost family.

Numerous agreements were signed for major border infrastructure projects to usher in prosperity for people living on both sides of border. Numerous projects were also undertaken to increase connectivity between two nations.

The then PM of Nepal Mr. Sushil Koirala had graced PM Modi's swearing-in ceremony too on May 26, 2014.

Powerful friends of Nepal - India and China

Geo-politically Nepal is situated at a very crucial point acting like a cushion between India and China. Both the nations try to act like at times ‘big brother' at times ‘elder brother' for the tiny Himalayan nation.

During the UPA governments the ties between India and Nepal were not paid much attention and that ensured China's influence on Nepal increased considerably.

Nepal's problems like absolute poverty, Maoist insurgency, royal family succession and move to democracy have ensured that Nepal has always leaned towards India for long term solutions of its problems.

Nepal always has greater cultural similarities with India and its Gurkha regiment continues to serve in Indian army. Also India continues to train Nepalese soldiers and keeps supplying arms to Nepal.

Also both the nations share an open border which means Nepal is very crucial to India.

Nepal Earthquake

On 25th April 2015 Nepal was hit by a 7.9 magnitude earthquake. The earthquake caused massive damage and injuries. Proactive Indian PM didn't miss the opportunity and rushed relief to Nepal on war footing.

The help India extended at the time of earthquake ensured that Nepal realised that it is central to India and that it has a special place in India's thinking.

Indian defence services carried on relief and rescue operations for many days and also are actively involved in restoration work that are going on in Nepal.

Indian domestic airline carrier SpiceJet accommodated as many requests as possible free of charge from accredited NGOs and relief organistions taking emergency supplies to Nepal. Air India also carried relief material free of charge on priority basis to Nepal on its flights to Kathmandu leaving both from Delhi and Kolkata.

India pledged $250 million to Nepal to rebuild the nation after the earthquake.

Turmoil in India-Nepal ties as China makes its moves

There have been distractors especially Maoists who have tried their best to sour India and Nepal ties. Many say that the relationship between Nepal and India is semi-colonial. Also many talk about India treating Nepal as bonded market. Certain people leave no opportunity to talk about how water treaties help India more than Nepal.

The ties between India and Nepal hit a low when India chastised Nepal's government for adopting new constitution in a hurry and not meeting aspirations of all communities.

India also called back its ambassador to Nepal Mr. Ranjit Rae for a day long consultations to figure out how to tackle blockades and violence at the border areas.

Indian transporters lodged their vocal complaints about issues that they are facing due to unrest at the border areas. India not wanting to use force asked three political forces in Nepal to resolve the issue.

Nepal on the other hand was offended by the way in which it was admonished by the Indian government. Nepal found it hard to digest the treatment meted out to it despite PM Modi's personal involvement in improving ties with Nepal and also generous help that India offered during the earthquake.

As Nepal and India ties soured China not to miss the opportunity opened its border with Nepal along Tibet. The anti-India sentiments in Nepal following political uncertainty gave China and opportunity to offer financial assistance for drafting Nepalese constitution. Also China became Nepal's biggest foreign investor when it funded a .6 billion hydropower project.

Misunderstanding cleared

All the misunderstandings were cleared between India and Nepal when Nepalese PM Mr. K P Sharma Oli paid a visit to India. Both the PMs addressed a joint press conference in New Delhi.

PM Modi while addressing press conference called the day as a significant day for historic Nepal-India ties. PM Modi also added that,

"After a struggle of decades, making and promulgation of the Constitution are significant achievements. But, its success depends on consensus and dialogues. I believe, following these principles, via political dialogues with all sides, you will be able to satisfactorily resolve all issues over the Constitution and lead Nepal toward the path of progress and stability."

PM Oli too echoed PM Modi's views and said that,

"Our relations are beyond governments and beyond formal tales. We are linked by history, culture and geography. For Nepal, the relationship with India is important. We are proud of impressive development of India and we want to reap benefits from this."

Subramanian Swamy's role in India-Nepal ties

While India and Nepal ties are back on track it is interesting to note that PM Modi has been using veteran BJP leader Subramanian Swamy to interact with Nepalese PM Mr. Oli and Maoist leader Prachanda.

PM Modi had send Mr. Swamy to Nepal just ahead of PM Oli's India visit. Mr. Swamy was sent as special emissary for talks to Nepal. One reason for problems between two nations as quoted by Kathmandu sources was indirect communication between both the nations.

It could be that Mr. Swamy was sent to Nepal to help political dialogue resume. Mr. Swamy was travelled to Nepal in a special aircraft that belonged to Government of Gujarat.

There is no dearth of senior leaders in BJP who can be assigned task to keep India Nepal relations on track. Mr. Swamy may have been chosen for the task as he has very close relations with many Nepalese leaders.

Also Mr. Swamy could be a choice as he can easily convince Nepalese leaders to keep anti-Hindu forces in control in the Himalayan nation. There by he can stop Nepal from leaning towards China.
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