India Nepal Relations
The relationship between the two countries is bound by history, geography, economic cooperation, socio-cultural ties and people-to-people relations. As close neighbours, India and Nepal share a unique relationship of friendship and cooperation characterized by open borders and deep-rooted people-to-people contacts of kinship and culture.
Significance of Nepal for India
- Nepal is a buffer state between India and China
- Nepal shares a long open border with India. There is alleged link between Naxalites and Maoist in Nepal.
- Socio-economic development of bordering states especially Bihar and Uttar Pradesh
- To check the growing influence of china in Nepal. Chinese are planning to construct road and rail link as part of silk route project.
- Nearly 30 lakh Nepalis (some 10 % of Nepal’s population) are employed in India; this includes some 50,000-60,000 soldiers.
- Nepal has accused that India is interfering in its internal political matters
- India is worried about Nepal growing close relation with China
- OBOR has a blueprint of connecting Nepal with the Eurasian transport corridor.
- Nepal had signed Transit agreement with China mainly aimed at reducing Nepal’s overwhelming economic dependence on India.
- There is a set pattern of the Kathmandu regime using the China card whenever it runs into difficulties with its own people and India lends support to the Nepali people’s cause.
Nepal-India tensions spiked last year with the promulgation of a constitution that was perceived as non-inclusive of ethnic Madhesi and Tharu groups. For almost six months there was blocked in India-Nepal border. Nepal government called it an undeclared blockade by India — it systematically raised the anti-Indian nationalism sentiment; and it tried to cozy up to China and use it as an alternative source of supplies; particularly those related to transit through China and rail and road connectivity between Nepal and China.
India refuted those allegations, stressing that the border tensions were caused by the Madhesi parties and were the outcome of internal protests in Nepal. India also accused Nepal of stoking ‘anti-India’ sentiment and has been irritated about Nepal’s attempt to use the ‘China card’.
Nepal is a challenge for Indian government not only for the China factor but also for how to deal with its ethnic question- the controversy between the Nepali & Madhesi (Indian origin Nepalese of the Terai region) identities.