International seminar on Nepal-Bharat relations in Delhi
RICH in resources the country of Nepal needs a strong political will for development. The nation has huge potential in the field of hydropower, transport and communication. Better Nepal invite global tenders for hydropower development. Nepal should also develop vision documents like Vision 2025 for its development,” said BJP president Shri Nitin Gadkari while speaking at an international seminar organised in New Delhi by the Bharat Nepal Sahyog Manch on December 15.
Eminent speakers from Nepal and India having experience in various spheres of life including education, social work, diplomacy, politics, administration and so on participated in the two-day seminar. The seminar had intense deliberation on historical and cultural relations between India and Nepal, and also made an assessment of where the relations stand today. Important suggestions too were made on areas that need more concentration so that the relations consolidate further and newer avenues of cooperation evolve.
The seminar was inaugurated on December 14 by former national president of BJP Shri Rajnath Singh. He highlighted the age-old cultural and religious relation between Nepal and India and expressed the opinion that if the relations have been problematised over the years by certain things, treaties and understandings between the two nations should be, if need be, reviewed and redeemed. National vice president of BJP Shri Bhagat Singh Koshyari stressed on the unalienable cultural connection between India and Nepal.
Former Acting Prime Minister of Nepal Dr Prakash Chandra Lohani stressed the need to open newer avenues of economic and trade relation between the two nations. Nepal’s Minister of Industry Shri Anil Kumar Jha said familiar relational bonds between Nepal and India do not allow the imagination of the two regions as separate cultural entities.
On first day of the seminar, elaborate discussions were held on two topics—‘Changing Political Landscape of Nepal: Challenges and Opportunities’ and ‘Shifting Paradigms: A Geopolitical Perspectives’. Shreekrishna Aniruddh Gautam, former PM adviser and political analyst, columnist, working on federalism, denounced the current exercise on dividing Nepal into federal states on ethnic basis and opined that geographic and demographic criterion need to be taken up to uphold and preserve cultural unity of Nepal. Eminent legal expert Shri Bhimarjun Acharya, senior advocate Supreme Court, Nepal, questioned the very legitimacy of dissecting Nepal into federal states. He also explained the constitutional intricacies affecting the present political impasse facing Nepal, and suggested how consensus is the only way to deliver the nation out of the problem.
National organising secretary of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad Shri Sunil Ambekar said the changes that do not uphold national interests do not survive anywhere in the world. Prof Ramesh Kumar Dhungel, former director of the Centre for Nepal-Asia Studies, opined that the links between India and Nepal should be sought along Hindu-Buddhist religious and cultural lines.
A geopolitical perspective revolved around major diplomatic and security concerns between India and Nepal. Shri Shashank, former Foreign Secretary, Government of India, suggested that obsession with the past would take a nation nowhere, and steps should be taken in contemplation with the future. He observed that expansion of China could force an imbalance in South-East Asia.
Shri NN Jha, former Lt Governor of Andaman & Nicobar Islands and Puducherry made the assessment that it was a diplomatic error on the part of the Government of India to engineer the 12-point agreement of the major political parties of Nepal with the rebelling Maoists, and to mismanage its aftermath to the detriment of the nation. He opined that unless a non-communist government is brought to power, and Chinese activities are checked, not much can be expected of the present situation.
Editor of The Pioneer, Shri Chandan Mitra said terrorism, fake currency and infiltration of emigrants were common concern of India and Nepal. He stressed that mutual trust is the prerequisite for solving the two. He judged that at times India has exhibited diplomatic lacunae that have harmed relations, aggravated by the lack of dialogue. Dr Prakash Chandra Lohani, in the session described South Asia as a conflict zone. He observed that the 12 point agreement produced an ambivalent situation in India, aggregated by the viceroy syndrome India often exhibits in bilateral relation. Shri Jitendra Sonal, leader, Tarai Madhesh Loktantrik Party, aired a voice that articulated the Madhesi sentiment in Nepal.
The discussion on second day of the seminar focused on economic ties between Nepal and Bharat. Shri Ashok Vaidhya, industrialist and former president of Chamber of Commerce, Nepal said in spite of several trade relations between India and Nepal, India had defaulted on various promissory notes, making the relation unbalanced. Prof Anand Kumar, JNU, said relations between India and Nepal were defined in economic, social and political terms, which have at times been bruised by India’s big-brother attitude. He identified three movements: women’s movement, human rights movement and environmental concerns as avenues where India and Nepal can work together.
Associate Prof Nirmal Mani Adhikari, Kathmandu University, said the modern trade models between India and Nepal were west-centric and new models based on Vedic templates were the need of the hour. Shri Harendra Kumar Pandey, MLC of BJP in Bihar, said India was guilty of having low thinking about Nepal. He identified three sectors—IT, need-based industries and cultural tourism, as fertile avenues of relations. Economist of Nepal Dr Chandra Mani Adhikari elaborated on resource distribution and its intricacies in the federal set up.
Shri Anil Kumar Jha explained how the Government of Nepal was honestly trying to develop infrastructure within it, and along Indian border. Dr Dwarika Nath Dhungel, Former Secretary Govt. of Nepal and expert in the field of hydro-power reviewed various water treaties between India and Nepal and said the outcomes had not been satisfied. He suggested the revision of all the treaties.
The last session of the seminar was on the role of media. Shri Hukumdev Narayan Yadav, Member of Parliament, said unless villages are developed, the development of a nation could not be imagined, and media could expedite such development though objective information, suggestion and opinion making. He stressed on the need to make correct reporting and right interpretation of the unalienable connection between India and China. He also expressed his dissent with the declaration of Nepal as a secular state. Shri Suresh Malla, former Minister of Ministry of Physical Planning and Works, Government of Nepal also spoke on the occasion.