Answer Synopsis 11/01/2021

Question : Multiple fissures has emerged in the sound relation between India and Nepal, highlight the issues aggravating this relation? Bring out the areas where India can work in future to resolve this issues?

Structure of the answer

  • Give a short introduction on long-lasting relationship between India and Nepal.
  • Point out the issues aggravating this relationship.
  • Enlist the ways through which these issues can be resolved.
  • End with positive note on this relation.


India and Nepal had a prosperous relation earlier but has seen a downturn which is detrimental to the future plans of India.

Issues aggravating the relation between Indian and Nepal

  • Grudges of Nepal
    • Anti-India Sentiment in Nepal is largely politically motivated as it is wrongly perceived as India’s backing to Monarchy.
    • The issue of open borders has also been a point of debate in Nepal in recent years- Nepalese people argue that the India is benefiting more from it than Nepal.
    • Nepal feels vulnerable and insecure because it is landlocked.
    • Increasing Chinese presence in Nepal is one of the major concern for India. China’s move to extend the rail link to its border with Nepal can reduce Kathmandu’s dependence on India.
    • Fundamentally these Chinese agencies are building up anti-India sentiments in Nepal.
    • Nepal’s assent for “One Belt One Region” (OBOR) initiative of China is viewed by India with suspicion.
  • Grudges of India
    • Madhesi Issue
      • Nepal adopted the new post-monarchy Constitution in 2015. Madhesi, a minority group residing in the Terai of Nepal, have been demanding a redrawing of federal boundaries.
      • The Nepali constitution has given equal representation on the basis of “geographical area” triggering a demand for separate Madhesi province.
      • Most of the key constitutional posts have been reserved for only citizens by descent hence surpassing Madhesis.
      • In line with Madhesi Protest, Indian supply was blockaded at the border points leading to acute shortage of essential commodities.
      • Nepal has accused India of imposing an undeclared blockade
      • This angered a large part of the Nepalese population, allowing China to step in as an alternative.
    • Human trafficking in Nepal   
      • An estimated 100,000–200,000 Nepalese in India are believed to have been trafficked.
      • Sex trafficking is particularly rampant within Nepal and to India, with as many as 5,000–10,000 women and girls trafficked to India alone each year.
    • Border Issue
      • The unsettled border disputes at Kalapani and Susta have contributed substantially to the anti-Indian sentiments in Nepal.
      • Border crossings from undesignated posts is a matter of content for India.

Areas where India can work in future to resolve this issue

  1. India can be the big-brother for Nepal in all sense.
  2. The onus is on India to rethink on a long-term basis how to recalibrate its relationship with Nepal provided Nepal should not ignore its dependence on India.
  3. India needs to continue to understand that there is another opportunity to rewrite bilateral and geopolitical history.
  4. India needs to also realize the new reality that its monopoly over geopolitics in Nepal is over, and there is another relationship that Nepal is nurturing.
  5. While China does not have people-to-people interactions with Nepal on a par with India, it has an open avenue for India to retain its strategic importance.

       India-Nepal relations have all the potential to move ahead and become mutually reliable commercial and economic ties, and extensive people-to-people ties only when India and Nepal forget past mistakes and move ahead to become sustainable.

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