Bettering India-Nepal ties
Intro: New government is taking every possible step to strengthen ties with neighbouring countries.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj was in Nepal on a three day visit to co-chair the meeting of the Indo-Nepal Joint Commission held after a long gap of 23 years and also to prepare the ground for the two-day visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi beginning August 3. This will be the first visit by an Indian Premier in over 17 years.
The Modi government is taking India’s neighbours seriously and the recent example is Swaraj’s visit to Nepal and Bangladesh within two months of assuming charge.
During her visit to Nepal, the External Affairs Minister met Nepal's top leaders including President Ram Baran Yadav and Prime Minister Sushil Koirala. She also met UCPN-Maoist chief and Leader of Opposition Prachanda.
In the Joint Commission Meeting (JCM), Sushma Swaraj with his Nepalese counterpart Mahendra Bahadur Pandey discussed and took important decisions. The two countries agreed to review the ‘Treaty of Peace and Friendship of 1950’ to reflect the current realties.
India and Nepal decided to step up cooperation in areas of defence, security, trade and hydro power. Ministers stressed on enhancing bilateral trade and investment to foster mutually beneficial economic growth and development. India accounts for 47 per cent of foreign direct investment in Nepal.
The two countries signed on as many as 26 issues including finalising the power deal. Investing in Nepal’s power sector will help India counter China’s considerable influence in that country. In order to promote Nepal's exports to India, the Indian side agreed to simplify customs related procedures and agreed to eliminate Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) and lifting quantitative restrictions on the export of Nepalese products to India.
The two sides also agreed to set up a Boundary Working Group to settle border disputes in three particular areas—Susta (Uttar Pradesh), Kala-pani (Uttarakhand) and Ilam (West Bengal)—to complete boundary mapping. While returning from Nepal Sushma Swaraj said “It was a very successful trip and the results were more than my expectations.”
How fruitful will be the effort in developing better and friendly relationship lies in the garb of future? -Nishant Kumar Azad
After Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj's three-day visit to Nepal, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be visiting Nepal next. After Bhutan, Nepal is the other Himalayan Neighbour that the PM is scheduled to visit on August 3 and 4 and reflects his concern for neighbour countries.