The citizens of both Nepal and India expect the relations between the two countries will revert to cordiality with the impending visit of the External Affairs Secretary of India to Nepal on Thursday.
The ties between the two South Asian neighbours have somewhat soured after Nepal issued a new political and administrative map by incorporating its territories including Limpiyadhura, Lipulek and Kalapani in it as per the Sugauli Treaty.
The citizens of both countries are not unaware to the reality that Nepal updated its political and administrative map in a tit-for-tat response to India after it last year unilaterally issued a new map including the strategically important Nepali territories which it had been claiming since the last six decades. Moreover, India also unilaterally constructed a road via the Nepali territory Lipulek leading to Kailash Mansarovar of Tibet.
Though small in terms of size and economic power in the world map, Nepal has established itself as an independent and sovereign nation keeping its glorious existence intact and it has been voicing its stance that all problems with its southern neighbour India should be resolved through talks, consultations and agreement.
The two-day visit of a mature diplomat Harsh Vardhan Shringla to Nepal is expected to give a momentum to the official diplomatic dialogue between Nepal and India that had been disconnected for about one year due to COVID-19 and other reasons. It is also hoped that the visit will revert the centuries old bilateral relations between the two countries to its previous level.
People knowledgeable on diplomatic sector have been emphasizing on the need of making the Nepal-India ties based on peace, friendship, brotherhood, collaboration and partnership more cooperative and focusing it for the broader interests of the peoples of both countries. The Indian side too has publicly expressed that the Indo-Nepal relations should be further enriched by consolidating the mutual cooperation even more.
Intensive discussions will be held on all aspects of the multi-dimensional ties between Nepal and India during the one-on-one talks between Foreign Affairs Secretary Bharat Raj Paudyal and his Indian counterpart Shringla and also in the delegation level dialogue including both Foreign Secretaries.
An official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said an exchange of views will take place on the political ties, border and security, economic cooperation and infrastructure, trade and transit, energy and water resources, culture and education, the report of the Eminent Persons Group (EPG), among other topics during the talks.
In his separate courtesy calls with Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and Minister for foreign Affairs Pradeep Kumar Gyawali, the Indian Foreign Secretary is expected to communicate to the Indian government Nepal’s aspirations and the message of the head of the government here as well as to share India’s thoughts about its security concerns.
Another objective of Foreign Secretary Shringla’s visit is to invite Minister Gyawali to the Sixth Meeting of the Nepal-India Joint Commission that will be co-chaired by the Foreign Ministers of both countries.
This visit can also be taken as a continuation of the tradition of the Foreign Secretary of India going on a familiarization visit to neighbouring countries immediately after assuming office for taking stock of the situation in those countries.
The moral and physical support of the outside world including India is inevitable for Nepal to fulfill the national aspiration of “Prosperous Nepal, Happy Nepali” proffered by PM Oli and the “sabka sath, sabka vikas, sabka vishwas (together with all, development for all, the trust of all)” policy propounded by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The visit of Indian Foreign Secretary is considered to be helpful in reviving the economy slackened by the coronavirus pandemic as well as in managing health equipment and goods required for delivery of health services.
The role played by India in the rescue and relief immediately after the occurrence of the Gorkha Earthquake in 2015, the activeness it showed in the reconstruction projects, prompt construction of the housing project and its execution, installation of petroleum pipeline, the progress made in the ‘game changer’ 900- Megawatts-capacity Arun Third Hydroelectricity Project that is expected to bring big transformation in the country’s economic scenario and the preparations for operation of Janakpur-Jayanagar Railway service, the construction of integrated check post in Nepalgunj, among the various projects implemented with Indian assistance have helped take the bilateral ties between Nepal and India to a new height.
It is expected that Shringla’s visit will prove true the public statement of Prof Mahendra P Lama, a member of the EPG from India, that the peoples of both countries hope the visit taking place with the responsibility of initiating a new chapter in the India-Nepal relations will spread the light of deep cordiality by comprehending the spirit of the Indo-Nepal special ties.