2021 could be the year of expansion for India and Nepal engagement
India and Nepal have been enjoying old, unwavering, unmatched and multidimensional development partnerships for years
As close neighbors, India and Nepal have a unique relationship, characterized by people-to-people kinship and open borders. For years, both sides have maintained a peaceful relationship, keeping the efforts made from both ends to visit each other on a regular basis.
However, ups and downs are a part of the journey. Last year, India and Nepal ties went through multiple thaws because of the map issues. Both sides, one after the other, published maps in which they included Kalapani, Lipulekh, and Limpiyadhura region in their side of the territory.
After the incident, reports of strained ties between the cordial neighbors started cropping up. In their bid to reset ties, high-level leaders from both sides indulged in regular bilateral talks and the situation was cooled down.
Nepalese Prime Minister, K.P. Sharma Oli held a telephonic conversation with the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in August. Subsequently, three senior-most dignitaries of India, including the RAW Chief, Samanta Goel; Army Chief, M.M. Narvane; and Foreign Secretary, Harsh Vardhan Shringla; apart from the Foreign Cell Chairman of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Vijay Chauthaiwale; visited Nepal between October and December last year, to mend the differences between the two countries.
Besides, India and Nepal also reviewed the bilateral ties in the Joint Commission meeting held in January 2021. From Covid-19 to infrastructure and economy, various issues were brought up during the meeting.
Further, during the times of Covid-19, India assisted Nepal with medical supplies and has also sent more than one million vaccine doses as a gift to its neighboring country. There was a halt in the supply; however, keeping up with the domestic needs, India will resume helping its neighbor in terms of supplying the vaccine doses.
On the infrastructure front, India has been assisting Nepal with financial grant and the construction and reconstruction activity in the Himalayan Nation have sped up. India has already completed 446 High Impact Community Development Projects (HICDPs) in Nepal, of which 41 are in Province 5, including 6 in Dang District. The Government of India funded projects are under various stages of completion/implementation in the province.
India and Nepal have been enjoying old, unwavering, unmatched and multidimensional development partnerships. Going ahead, the ties between both sides are expected to boom in 2021.
A few days ago, Nepal Foreign Affairs Minister Pradeep Gyawali held a telephonic conversation with his Indian counterpart S Jaishankar. Both leaders exchanged views on further strengthening cooperation in the fight against the pandemic, including supply of vaccines.
India and Nepal were also the part of the 17th BIMSTEC Ministerial meeting virtually hosted by Sri Lanka in March.
If in 2021, the focus is increased to more air, road, train, and waterways connectivity, besides playing an active role in several important multilateral forums such as BBIN (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal), BIMSTEC, NAM, and SAARC, India and Nepal could see a year of expansion of bilateral ties.