Recently, the Union Cabinet has cleared a plan to build a new bridge connecting India and Nepal over the Mahakali river and link Dharchula in Uttarakhand with Nepal’s Dharchula.
- The bridge will be completed within three years. It will strengthen the relationship between the two countries.
- India and Nepal share unique ties of friendship and cooperation.
- The construction of the bridge will help people living in Dharchula in Uttarakhand and in the territory of Nepal.
- It is also known as Sharda river or Kali Ganga in Uttarakhand.
- It joins Ghagra river in Uttar Pradesh, which is a tributary of Ganga.
- Tanakpur hydro-electric project, Chameliya hydro-electric project, Sharda Barrage.
India – Nepal Relations
- Nepal is an important neighbour of India and occupies special significance in its foreign policy because of the geographic, historical, cultural and economic linkages/ties that span centuries.
- India and Nepal share similar ties in terms of Hinduism and Buddhism with Buddha’s birthplace Lumbini located in present day Nepal.
- The two countries not only share an open border and unhindered movement of people, but they also have close bonds through marriages and familial ties, popularly known as Roti-Beti ka Rishta.
- The India-Nepal Treaty of Peace and Friendship of 1950 forms the bedrock of the special relations that exist between India and Nepal.
- Importance for India can be studied from two different angles: a) their strategic importance for India’s national security, and b) their place in India’s role perception in international politics.
- Rivers originating in Nepal feed the perennial river systems of India in terms of ecology and hydropower potential.
- India is Nepal’s largest trade partner and the largest source of foreign investments, besides providing transit for almost the entire third country trade of Nepal.
- Nepal being a landlocked country, it is surrounded by India from three sides and one side is open towards Tibet which has very limited vehicular access.
- India-Nepal has undertaken various connectivity programs to enhance people-to-people linkages and promote economic growth and development.
Issues & Challenges
- As a landlocked nation, Nepal depended for many years on Indian imports, and India played an active role in Nepal’s affairs.
- However, in recent years, Nepal has drifted away from India’s influence, and China has gradually filled the space with investments, aid and loans.
- China considers Nepal a key partner in its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), and wants to invest in Nepal’s infrastructure as part of its grand plans to boost global trade.
- Rising Nepal and China cooperation can undermine Nepal’s distinction of buffer state between India and China.
- China on the other hand wants to avoid the formation of any Anti-China stance by the Tibetans living in Nepal.
India should negotiate diplomatically to resolve the boundary dispute with Nepal under the aegis of International law on Trans-boundary Water Disputes. In this case, boundary dispute resolution between India and Bangladesh should serve as a model
SOURCE: THE HINDU,THE ECONOMIC TIMES,MINT