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Understanding India-Nepal Relations

India and Nepal have been close neighbours and share a deep-rooted linkage of friendship and cooperation which is supported by an open border and people-to-people connections of kinship, culture and tradition. Both countries share a long tradition of free movement across the border. Nepal shares a border of 1850 km with the Indian states of Sikkim, West Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.[i] In 1950, India-Nepal signed a Treaty of Peace which formed the bedrock of special relations between both countries.  Over the years, this bond between India and Nepal has evolved and blossomed into a strong cooperative partnership. Recently, the Prime Minister of Nepal Mr Sher Bahadur Deuba visited India at the invitation of the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi from 1st April 2022 to 3rd April 2022. This visit focused on bilateral talks covering a wide range of domains like political, economic, trade, security, energy and developmental issues.

Areas of Cooperation

One of the major highlights of this visit was the “Joint Vision Statement on Power Sector Cooperation” where they discussed the need for greater involvement in the power sector. The leaders jointly inaugurated the 90 km long 132KVDC Solu Corridor Transmission line and substation built with the line of credit provided by India.[ii] Further, both the countries agreed to expedite progress in the implementation of the Pancheswar Multipurpose Project. The two countries also spoke about other “joint development of power generation projects in Nepal, development of cross-border transmission infrastructure, bi-directional power trade with appropriate access to the electricity markets in both countries, applicable domestic regulations between India and Nepal, coordinated operation of the national grids and institutional cooperation in sharing latest operational informational and technology”.[iii]

Further, in the domain of energy partnership, both the countries aimed to expand their cooperation with respect to their national policies and climate-change commitments.[iv] Both the countries saw the potential in the sector of hydropower and focused on the development of industrial and financial capacities, enhancing export earnings and generating employment.[v] Nepal also invited Indian companies to invest in the development, construction, and operation of viable renewable power projects and storage-type projects.[vi] India also welcomed the discussion of Nepal to join the International Solar Alliance(ISA) on 1 April 2022 and became the 105th country as a signatory to the Framework Agreement of the ISA.[vii]

The leaders exchanged views on economy and trade and aimed to deepen trade and connectivity linkages. The G-to-G Agreement was aimed to facilitate the long-term supply of fertilisers from India to Nepal and also renew the Five-year General Supply Agreement for the supply of petroleum products from India to Nepal.[viii]

Connectivity was another major area in which India and Nepal discussed a wide range of projects which focused on bilateral development partnerships and reviewed the projects in Nepal. Both the countries reviewed the progress in the implementation of the Indian projects in Nepal like the cross-border rail link projects a)Jayanagae-Kurtha0Bijalpur-Bardibas b)Jogbani-Biratnagar and c)Raxail-Kathmandu.[ix]

Conclusion

For India, the relationship with Nepal is essential as Nepal is one of the most important pillars of the ‘Neighbourhood First Policy’. Both the countries have strong historical, cultural and traditional connections. This recent visit only cemented the friendship between the two countries more and directed their cooperation t

[i] Ministry of External Affairs. 2020.” India-Nepal Bilateral Relations”. https://mea.gov.in/Portal/ForeignRelation/India-Nepal_Bilateral_Brief_Feb_2020.pdf

[ii] Ministry of External Affairs. 2022. “India-Nepal Joint Vision Statement on Power Sector Cooperation”,

April 02, 2022. https://mea.gov.in/bilateral-documents.htm?dtl/35146

[iii] Ibid.

[iv] Ibid.

[v] Ministry of External Affairs. 2022. “Visit of Prime Minister of Nepal, H.E. Mr. Sher Bahadur Deuba to India (April 01-03, 2022)”, April 02, 2022. https://www.mea.gov.in/press-releases.htm?dtl/35147/Visit_of_Prime_Minister_of_Nepal_HE_Mr_Sher_Bahadur_Deuba_to_India_April_0103_2022

[vi] Ibid.

[vii] Muraka, Saloni. 2022. ”Nepal, India prime ministers jointly launch projects, vow to deepen ties”, WION Web Team New Delhi Published, April 02, 2022. https://www.wionews.com/india-news/nepal-india-prime-ministers-jointly-launch-projects-vow-to-deepen-ties-467761

[viii] Ibid.

[ix] Ibid.

 

Gitanjali Sinha Roy is a Research Assistant at the Centre for Strategic Studies and Simulation (CS3), United Service Institution of India (USI), New Delhi, India. Previously, she worked at the Centre for Land Warfare Studies (CLAWS), New Delhi, India as Research Assistant. Her area of interest is mainly India-Japan foreign and security policy.

Disclaimer: The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the organisation that he/she belongs to or of the USI of India.

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