August 14, 2014


[It still feels like the joy, excitement and effect of the recent Modi Nepal Visit has not worn off yet in Kathmandu. The visit has changed the hearts and minds of Nepalese people and should Mr. Modi honestly deliver what he has promised in front of Nepalese people then, of course, there are better days ahead for Nepal, no doubt. There are talks also about possible revision or scrapping of Indo-Nepal 1950 Treaty which was Nepalese Maoists’ demand No. 1 in their 40 point memorandum submitted on February 4, 1996 to the Government of Nepal. Now, the Maoists may not raise this issue as vigorously as they had done in the past because, in front of the Indian leaders and officers, they have now only a painful loss of their pride frankly. Interestingly, an Indian scholar spoke to BBC only few days ago and implied the treaty has benefitted Nepal than India but, in plain words, his was a partisan talk because the open border makes Nepal vulnerable all the time. For example, Indian para-military force 'invaded' Kathmandu Baneshowr area, a decade and half or so ago and such kinds of invasions are regular occurrences in Nepal. The open border makes Nepal  one of the world's top 10 destinations for some people from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh also. Those people work in Nepal and send money home (Please see the picture and read a post from The Economic Times below). Another hair raising news has now again come from Nepal that a visiting BJP Nepal Desk Leader provoked Nepalese Teraian leaders who often pose as some separatists themselves. A serving defense minister Mr. Sharad Singh Bhandari told he would even go for severing Terain districts in a public programme on September 28, 2011. So, Nepalese people should be asking themselves what actually is BJP's policy towards a broader Nepal ? - The Blogger]

By Buddhi Narayan Shrestha

The Nepal-India Peace and Friendship Treaty, signed on 31 July 1950 has become the hot topic of discussion and debate in recent days. In fact, the treaty triggered a great hullabaloo right after the emergence of the CPN (Maoist) as the largest political force in the election to Constituent Assembly. Maoist Chairman Prachanda has said that the 1950 Treaty should be abrogated as per the changed context. He has also opined that the replacement of the treaty with a new one is imperative to define Nepal-India relationships in a new light.

In its electoral manifesto, the CPN (Maoist) has clearly stated "In line with the principle of Panchasheel, Nepal-India Peace and Friendship Treaty-1950 will be abrogated in order to sign a new one for mutual benefits apart from the standardization of the system of border security force." Similarly, in his proposal presented on behalf of the CPN (Maoist) on 27 April 2003, Dr Baburam Bhattarai said, "All the unequal treaties including Nepal-India Peace and Friendship Treaty-1950, must be annulled and Nepal's foreign policy must be guided by the principles of Panchasheel and non-alignment," 

On the other hand, CP Gajurel, Chief of the Foreign Affairs (Maoist), has raised the issue of reviewing the Treaty by making necessary amendments in related Articles, during a program "Emerging Trend in India-Nepal Relations" organized in Patna, India from 26-28 April 2008. Speaking at the same program, Shyam Saran, former Indian envoy to Nepal, said "Reviewing the treaty is not a great issue. If this issue is forwarded as a bilateral agenda, we will not have any objection." Saran attended the program as the special speaker.

Now, the major question that crops up in one's mind is whether the Treaty should be reviewed or annulled.

Unequal provision

Quite notably, the two plenipotentiaries, who jointly signed the Treaty representing their respective countries, are found to be of asymmetrical position. While signing the treaty, Nepal was represented by the Prime Minister while an Ambassador was assigned by India for the same purpose.

The next incoherence is related to the imposition of some more conditions in the letter of exchange between the two countries with the signing of the Treaty.

In some sections of the exchanged letters, one can find the provision that says the first priority should be given to India and its people. Press Trust of India, quoting the General Secretary of CPI (Marxist) Prakash Karat, recently stated, "There should be no room for unequal treaties irrespective of the hugeness of the countries involved in it."

Treaty and letter of exchange

A number of provisions of the Treaty have never been implemented while some others have been partially implemented. It is also conspicuously clear that one signatory has been unscrupulously leveraging the Treaty unilaterally to serve its vested interests. For example, Articles 2 and 8 of the Treaty and Section 1 of the letter of exchange have never been implemented in practice. Some other Articles such as 5, 6, and 7 and Section 2 and 4 have been ignored by India and overlooked by Nepal in an unequal manner. Undoubtedly, many Articles stipulated by the Treaty are in limbo.

If we take as an example of border management between Nepal and India, it could well be deemed as an informal means adopted for reciprocal movement of the peoples of the two countries in each other's territory. But, there is not a single clause in any of the treaties, agreements, and understandings reached between Nepal and India that inscribe open border system.

In this connection, the then Indian envoy Sanjay Verma had said on 25 June 2004, "In the 1950 Treaty, not a single point speaks that there must be an open border system between Nepal and India. But open border should be best construed as a symbol of intimate bond between the two neighbors." What should be well understood is that India has accepted that there is no open border mentioned in the Treaty. But, India has been unilaterally adopting regulated border system as well as closed border system in some crossing-points in a discretionary manner.

Liberty of expression

The Indian side, ignoring the spirit of the Treaty, has cast blight on the basic tenets of the Treaty by launching an assault against the liberty of expressing opinions of Nepali people. The frequent visits of Sita Ram Yechuri, SD Muni, KV Rajan, Ashok Meheta and Karan Singh could be taken as a maneuvered Indian attempt to hold sway over the conscience of Nepali people. As such, Nepal has never been free from the perspective of guiding itself by its own conscience even though the Treaty guarantees this liberty.

The other fascinating thing is that Sardar Patel had forwarded a letter to Jawaharlal Nehru on 7 November 1950 stating India should strengthen her northern frontier to include the border of Nepal, Bhutan, Sikkim, Darjeeling and Assam tribal territory. This shows that India is exerting political and psychological pressure on Nepal by misinterpreting this Treaty. So, the 1950 Treaty is serving as a 'trump card' for India to influence Nepali political domain.

Review or abrogation

It is, of course, rational to discuss whether the Treaty should be only reviewed or completely annulled. Interestingly, India was in favor of annulling the Treaty during the 1990s. Nevertheless, Indian foreign secretary Shiv Shankar Menon recently expressed willingness on behalf of India to review the Treaty as per the demands of time. Former Indian envoy to Nepal Dev Mukahrjee had also opined, "In my perspective, the Treaty is not unequal. If it is so, it should be reviewed." The other former Indian Ambassadors like Shiv Shankar Mukharjee, Shyam Saran, and KV Rajan, apart from Indian communist leader Yechuri, had also aired their views in favor of altering the thorny clauses of the Treaty.

Quite depressingly, the Nepali side is still undecided as to whether the Treaty should be reviewed or rendered null and void. Even though Nepali political honchos fervently raise the issues related to the Treaty, they seem flippant as far as meticulously scanning the contentious contents of the same goes. Our political parties never do well organized homework to clearly explain how the Treaty has adversely affected Nepal. The pathetic absence of a clear-cut perspective in the country's political realm about the Treaty is palpable. One could say that it is the absolute asymmetry in the political spectrum of Nepal about the 1950 Treaty. However, the CPN (Maoist) is in favor of replacing the existing Treaty into a new one with the changing situation.

Last item

If the new treaty would be carved, it must take into account the factors like mutual benefits, territorial integrity and, on top of all, equality on a wider concept. While framing the new treaty, it behooves Nepal to pay sincere attention to the crucial subject matters like hydro-power generation, resource mobilization, human resources development, mineral exploration, tourism, border management and demarcation and industrial turnaround, among others.

Posted on: May 14, 2008 


[The top 10 destination countries for Indians include the UAE, Saudi Arabia, US, Bangladesh, Nepal, UK, Sri Lanka, Canada, Kuwait and Oman. Experts point out that softer immigration laws in the US and the search for better economic opportunities fuelled a surge in the overseas migration of Indians. Unlike previous phases of migration, emigration sent better educated Indians in the last decade especially to the US, UK and Canada.]

By Himanshi Dhawan

NEW DELHI: For Indians, the umbilical cord is never severed. India has now captured one-tenth of global remittance flows, making it the world's largest single recipient. An estimated $27.1 billion was remitted to India in 2006-2007.

The Indian diaspora is estimated at 20 million. Migrant remittances have recently surged to the forefront of development agendas worldwide but the growth in India has been dramatic.Total remittances has grown steadily over the past 15 years, and dramatically in the past 10, skyrocketing from $2.1 billion in 1990-1991 to $27.1 billion in 2006-2007.

According to policy experts, factors responsible for the growth in remittances include the diminishing role of unofficial channels, shifting emigration patterns to high-skilled technology jobs, greater competition in the money transfer market and the strength of the Indian economy.

The top 10 destination countries for Indians include the UAE, Saudi Arabia, US, Bangladesh, Nepal, UK, Sri Lanka, Canada, Kuwait and Oman. Experts point out that softer immigration laws in the US and the search for better economic opportunities fuelled a surge in the overseas migration of Indians. Unlike previous phases of migration, emigration sent better educated Indians in the last decade especially to the US, UK and Canada.

A recent JP Morgan study said that deposits by non-resident Indians (NRIs) amounted to around $32 billion or 23% of foreign exchange reserves. Portfolio and real estate investment has been largely concentrated in the IT space. While the report noted that the diaspora could act as a "powerful catalyst", even helping India realise and perhaps exceed its aspiration of 10% annual growth, the onus for better capitalisation lies on the Indian government.

It is no wonder that the government is keen to recognize and pander to the interests of the growing diaspora. Overseas Indian affairs minister Vyalar Ravi has set up a 'welfare fund' for overseas workers. The ministry plans to use this fund for compulsory health insurance of overseas workers and their families.

TNN June 20, 2008,