Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Key issues in India Nepal Relations

 Key issues in India Nepal Relations

Key issues in India-Nepal relations As close neighbors, India and Nepal share unique ties of friendship and cooperation characterized by an open border and deep-rooted people-to-people contacts of kinship and culture. There has been an extended tradition of free movement of individuals across the border. Nepal shares a border of over 1850 km with five Indian states – Sikkim, West Bengal , Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

The India-Nepal Treaty of Peace and Friendship of 1950 forms the bedrock of the special relations that exist between India and Nepal. Nepalese citizens avail facilities and opportunities on par with Indian citizens in accordance with the provisions of the Treaty. Nearly 8 million Nepalese citizens live and add India.

Key issues in India-Nepal relations There are regular exchanges of high-level visits and interactions between India and Nepal. Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi visited Nepal twice in 2014 – on 03-04 August for a bilateral visit and on 25-27 November for the 18th SAARC Summit. Nepalese Prime Minister Mr. K.P. Sharma Oli paid a State visit to India on 19-24 February 2016. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Home Affairs of Nepal Mr. Bimalendra Nidhi visited India on 18-22 August 2016 as Special Envoy of the Prime Minister. Nepalese Prime Minister Mr. Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ visited India twice in 2016 – on 15-18 September on a State visit and on 15-17 October to participate within the 1st BRICS-BIMSTEC leaders’ summit in Goa.

President of India Shri Pranab Mukherjee paid a State visit to Nepal on 02-04 November 2016. This was the primary State visit by an Indian President to Nepal after a niche of 18 years. President of Nepal Mrs. Bidya Devi Bhandari paid a State visit to India on 17-21 April 2017. Prime Minister of Nepal Mr. Sher Bahadur Deuba paid a State visit to India on 23-27 August 2017. Prime Minister of Nepal Mr. K.P. Sharma Oli paid a State visit to India on 06-08 April 2018. Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi paid a State visit to Nepal on 11-12 May 2018. Key issues in India-Nepal relations Prime Minister Modi also visited Nepal on 30-31 August 2018 for the 4th BIMSTEC Summit, which was held in Kathmandu. This was his fourth visit to Nepal since 2014. Prime Minister of Nepal Mr. K.P. Sharma Oli visited India from 30-31 May 2019 to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and therefore the Union Council of Ministers.

 India and Nepal have several bilateral institutional dialogue mechanisms, including the India-Nepal Joint Commission co-chaired by External Affairs Minister of India and secretary of state of Nepal. The Fifth Joint Commission Meeting was persisted 21-22 August 2019 in Kathmandu.

Parliamentary Exchanges: A 13-member delegation of Members of Parliament and officials of the Parliamentary Committee for Development, Legislature-Parliament of Nepal was on a study tour to India from 8-16 July 2016. A second Parliamentary delegation from Nepal visited India from 20-31 August 2016. A 13-member delegation of diplomacy and Labour Committee of Legislature-Parliament of Nepal visited New Delhi and Gujarat on goodwill-cum-study visit from 5-12 March 2017. In May 2019, the Federal Parliament of Nepal formed ‘Nepal-India Parliamentary Friendship Group’ comprising nine members from both, the House of Representatives (Lower House) and therefore the National Assembly (Upper House) of the Federal Parliament of Nepal.

 

 DEFENCE COOPERATION

India and Nepal have wide-ranging cooperation within the defence sector. India has been assisting the Nepal Army (NA) in its modernisation by supplying equipment and providing training. Key issues in India-Nepal relations Assistance during disasters, joint military exercises, adventure activities and bilateral visits are other aspects of India’s defence cooperation with Nepal. variety of defence personnel from Nepal Army attend training courses in various Indian Army training institutions. The ‘Indo-Nepal Battalion-level Joint Military Exercise SURYA KIRAN’ is conducted alternately in India and in Nepal. The 14th Surya Kiran exercise was held from 03-16 December 2019 at Saljhandi, Nepal. Since 1950, India and Nepal are awarding each other’s Army Chief with the honorary rank of General in recognition of the mutual harmonious relationship between the 2 armies.

 The Gorkha regiments of the Indian Army are raised partly by recruitment from hill districts of Nepal. Currently, about 32,000 Gorkha Soldiers from Nepal are serving within the Indian Army. additionally to Military Pension Branch in Kathmandu, there are two Pension Paying Offices at Pokhara and Dharan, and 22 District Soldier Boards in Nepal, all functioning under the Defence Wing of the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu, which arrange the disbursement of pensions and organise welfare programmes for re-training, rehabilitating and assisting ex-Gorkha soldiers and their families.

When a devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal on 25 April 2015 (followed by a strong aftershock of seven .4 magnitude on 12 May 2015), the govt of India swiftly dispatched National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams and special aircrafts with rescue and relief materials to Nepal. India’s assistance, which reached Nepal within six hours of the earthquake, included 16 NDRF teams, 39 IAF aircraft sorties with 571 plenty of relief material including equipment , medical supplies, food, water, tents, blankets and tarpaulin. Medical teams from India were deployed in various parts of Nepal. India helped in restoring 3 power sub-stations in Kathmandu valley. the entire Indian relief assistance to Nepal amounted to over US$ 67 million. the govt of India announced a post-earthquake reconstruction package of US$ 1 billion (which comprises US$ 250 million grant and US$ 750 million concessional Line of Credit) during the International Conference on Nepal’s Reconstruction held in Kathmandu on 25 June 2015.

In February 2016, an MoU on the use of the Grant of US$ 250 million was signed, inter-alia, allocating US$ 100 million to support reconstruction of fifty ,000 private houses and US$ 50 million each for health, education and cultural heritage sectors. Sector specific implementation MoUs were signed on 24 August 2017 between the 2 Governments. Similarly, in September 2016, a Line of Credit (LoC) Agreement for post-earthquake reconstruction projects for US$ 750 million was signed. the road of Credit was operationalized in February 2017. In March 2018, Government signed two Partnership Agreements with UNDP and UNOPS to supply socio-technical facilitation to support housing beneficiaries in Gorkha and Nuwakot districts of Nepal, respectively. Out of the 50,000 earthquake-affected beneficiaries in Gorkha and Nuwakot districts of Nepal allocated to the govt of India, over 45,000 GoI-supported houses (i.e. 90% of work) are completed till date. On 21 January 2020, the Prime Ministers of India and Nepal remotely witnessed the progress made in housing reconstruction project.

 

 CONNECTIVITY AND DEVELOPMENT PARTNERSHIP

Government of India’s development assistance to Nepal may be a broad-based programme that specialize in creation of infrastructure at the grass-roots level, under which various projects are implemented within the areas of infrastructure, health, water resources, education and rural & community development. In recent years, India has been assisting Nepal in development of border infrastructure through upgradation of 10 roads within the Terai area; development of cross-border rail links at Jogbani-Biratnagar, Jaynagar-Bardibas; and establishment of Integrated Check Posts at Birgunj, Biratnagar, Bhairahawa, and Nepalgunj. the entire economic assistance earmarked under ‘Aid to Nepal’ budget in FY 2019-20 was INR 1200 crore.

 During the visit of Prime Minister of Nepal in April 2018, the 2 Prime Ministers jointly inaugurated the Integrated Check Post at Birgunj (Nepal) built with GoI assistance. On 31 August 2018, the 2 Prime Ministers jointly inaugurated the Nepal-Bharat Maitri Pashupati Dharmashala in Kathmandu. On 21 January 2020, the Prime Ministers of India and Nepal remotely inaugurated the Integrated Check Post at Biratnagar (Nepal) built with GoI assistance.  Aside from grant assistance, Government of India has extended Lines of Credit of USD 1.65 billion for undertaking development of infrastructure, including post-earthquake reconstruction projects.

 New Partnership in Agriculture: During the visit of Prime Minister of Nepal Mr. K. P. Sharma Oli to India in April 2018, the ‘India-Nepal New Partnership in Agriculture’ was launched with attention on collaborative projects in agricultural research, development and education. this is often a crucial and timely initiative as vast populations of the 2 countries predominantly depend upon agriculture and related activities for his or her livelihood. Minister for Agriculture, Land Management and Cooperatives of Nepal Mr. C.P. Khanal visited India on 19-23 June 2018 for the inaugural ministerial meeting of the New Partnership in Agriculture with Agriculture Minister of India Shri Radha Mohan Singh.

 

 WATER RESOURCES COOPERATION

Cooperation in water resources primarily concerning the common rivers is one among the foremost important areas of bilateral relations. an outsized number of small and enormous rivers be due Nepal to India and constitute a crucial a part of the Ganges basins. These rivers have the potential to become major sources of irrigation and power for Nepal and India. A three-tier bilateral mechanism established in 2008, to debate issues concerning cooperation in water resources, flood management, inundation and hydropower between the 2 countries, has been working well.

 

 ENERGY COOPERATION

 India and Nepal have an influence Exchange Agreement since 1971 for meeting the facility requirements within the border areas of the 2 countries, taking advantage of every other's transmission infrastructure. There are quite twenty 132 kV, 33 kV and 11 kV transmission interconnections which are used both for power exchange within the bordering areas and for power trade.

 An Agreement on ‘Electric Power Trade, Cross-border Transmission Interconnection and Grid Connectivity’ between India and Nepal was signed on 21 October 2014. The Agreement is aimed toward facilitating and further strengthening cross-border electricity transmission, grid connectivity and power trade between Nepal and India. The Agreement provides a framework for power trade between the 2 countries, import by Nepal from India until it becomes power surplus and subsequent import by Indian entities from Nepal, on mutually acceptable terms and conditions.

 

 ECONOMIC

India is that the largest trading partner of Nepal. Total bilateral trade 2018-19 reached INR 57,858 cr (US$ 8.27 bn). In 2018-19, while Nepal’s exports to India stood at INR 3558 cr (US$ 508 mn), India’s exports to Nepal were INR 54,300 cr (US$ 7.76 bn). Nepal’s main imports from India are petroleum products; automobiles and spare parts; M. S. billet; rice & paddy; other machinery & parts; medicine; hot-rolled sheet in coil; electrical equipment; cement; agricultural equipment & parts; coal; m.s. wires, rods, coils, bars; vegetables; cold rolled sheet in coil; thread, etc.

 

 EDUCATION

Key issues in India-Nepal relations Over the years, India’s contribution to the event of human resources in Nepal has been one among the main aspects of bilateral cooperation. GoI provides around 3000 scholarships/seats annually to Nepalese nationals for various courses at the Ph.D/Masters, Bachelors and plus–two levels in India and in Nepal. These scholarships cover a good spectrum of subjects including engineering, medicine, agriculture, pharmacology, veterinary sciences, computer application, business administration, music, fine arts, etc.

 

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