India-Nepal relations can be referred to as the world’s oldest relations. The relation between the two countries can be seen from the time of Ramayana, almost ten thousand years ago. According to Hindu mythology, Lord Ram’s birth place Ayodhya is in India and his wife Goddess Sita’s birth place Janakpur is in Nepal with both places holding a great value for Hindus. Because of the political instability since a long time, after civil war in Nepal, India-Nepal relations became tense and faced difficulties. But, In last few years, the top leaders of both these countries have tried their best to repair and reset the relations. Immediately after the visit of Prime Minister of Nepal to India, Prime Minister of India visited Nepal, this shows that the relationship ties between India and Nepal relations are getting stronger.
India and Nepal are the forms of civilization developed with similar cultural, historical and social equation. People of both countries are well connected with each other since centuries through culture, tradition, language, business and many other mediums.
In the first parliamentary election in December 2017 in Nepal, democracy won and alliance government with full majority was formed. This came after years of political instability because of civil war in country to overthrow the monarchy. On February 15, 2018, K.P. Sharma Oli took the oath as the Prime Minister of Nepal.
The recent development in India-Nepal relations is the visit of Nepal’s Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli’s to India. After taking the charge as Prime Minister, KP Sharma Oli visited India on his first official foreign trip from April 6-8, 2018. During his visit PM Oli met PM Modi and both leaders agreed to initiate the projects of development like, to connect Nepal with rail line, to connect both countries with inland waterways and other projects to connect the people of both countries.
This visit of PM Oli aimed at growth and economic development of Nepal and strengthening the relations between the two countries. PM Oli said, “I have come to India with an aim of taking our relations to new heights commensurate with the realities of the 21st century”.
In a joint statement PM Modi said that Nepalese Prime Minister’s vision of a “prosperous and developed Nepal” was in synchronization with his vision of “sabka saath, sabka vikas”. PM Modi further said, “We have strong relations when it comes to the aspect of security. We will work together to stop the misuse of our open border.”
While addressing the businessmen at FICCI in Delhi, PM Oli urged to invest in Nepal and to increase business with Nepal and said, “We are committed to a liberal economic policy with private sector as a key partner. We have no intention to reverse trends. Rest assured, we cannot go against global trends.”
Nepal and India have long standing contentious issues like, Suata and Kalapani dispute, need for construction, repair and restoration of pillars at border and clearance of no man’s land at both sides etc. but none of these was mentioned by any of the leader during the visit and the visit solely remained connectivity and development oriented.
In terms of security Nepal is important for both India and China so both India-China are in competition to have their influence in Nepal. PM Oli is trying to balance the relations between India and China. PM Oli said, “Mutual trust will be the main component of Nepal’s relations with India and China. In particular, we will remain engaged in the ‘vibrant economic drive’ of the neighborhood with a view to benefitting from it. We respect the legitimate interests of our neighbors and will not allow anything against them in our soil.”
During his visit to India, PM Oli invited PM Modi to visit Nepal and PM Modi accepted and visited Nepal few days later for May 11-12, 2018. This visit was PM Modi’s third visit to Nepal in last 4 years. Such a frequent meeting of premiers of two countries seems unusual, but it is the signal of cementing India-Nepal relations.
PM Modi visited Janakpur and Muktinath besides Kathmandu and offered prayers. PM Modi said that these places illustrate the Indo Nepal relations. PM Modi laid the foundation stone of 900 MW capacity Hydroelectric Power project ARUN-III in eastern Nepal with PM Oli of Nepal and inaugurated a direct bus service from Janakpur to Ayodhya.
In his visit PM Modi admired the spirit of reliance and commitment of Nepal in democracy and said that India stands shoulder to shoulder with Nepal in development journey. Modi said, the next time he visits Nepal he will make sure to visit Lumbini, the birthplace of Buddha.
India and Nepal will work together towards development and better connectivity of the region. Nepal will become an important link in the friendly relations of world’s most vibrant economies – India and China. India will not interfere in internal matters of Nepal and will provide full support for an overall development. Nepal will take care of India’s security concerns. Indo-Nepal relations will again become as strong as the history witnessed ever.