Relation Of Equality

Reciprocating Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s visit to India last month, his Indian counterpart Nerendra Modi is coming here on May 11 for a two-day visit. After assuming office, PM Oli had chosen India as his first destination of foreign trip in a bid to build confidence with the southern neighbour. The relations between the two nations reached the lowest ebb in 2015 after India imposed unofficial blockade on Nepal. Though India has not publicly apologised for its muscular diplomacy against Nepal, it apparently realised the blunder and took a flurry of initiatives to mend its ways. India failed to formally welcome Nepal’s constitution promulgated by the elected Constituent Assembly in 2015 for not taking its consent over the contents of national charter. However, it hailed the three-tier elections and the government, which was formed following the polls. New PM Oli and his government took the changed behaviour of India positively and visited India at the latter’s request in improving the strained ties. In a reciprocal gesture, Modi too promised to visit Nepal to expand the bilateral relations between the two nations.

PM Modi will first land in Janapur in central Terai in Province 2 where he will perform puja at Janaki Mandir. Then he will fly to Kathmandu to hold formal talks with his Nepali counterpart Oli. Modi will also pay homage to Pashupatinath Temple before flying to Muktinath, another famous Hindu shrine in Mustang, a mountainous district bordering China, for worship. It seems Modi’s visit carries religious and cultural mission but in fact the leaders of both nations will discuss wide range of matters of bilateral interest. In order to muster domestic consensus on bilateral agenda, Oli solicited the views of former prime ministers and foreign ministers the other day. The PM’s way of seeking their valuable suggestions and inputs is laudable. It reflects the PM’s desires to execute foreign policies based on national consensus and mutual understanding. This will encourage the parties to develop common viewpoint and stand on the foreign policies.

Meanwhile, former PMs and ministers suggested the government must not enter agreements with India that hurt national interest and sensitivity of Nepal people. PM Oli, who won a huge electoral mandate on the plank of nationalism, said that the Indian leadership would respect Nepal’s national interest and would not interfere in its internal affairs. Oli’s remarks make the people assured that the government will not compromise on the sovereignty and integrity of nation. Nonetheless, there are other genuine issues that Nepal should boldly put up before the Indian side. For example, India must be asked to address the problem of inundation in Terai belt owing to the Indian dams built along Nepal-India border. During the rainy season, many people lose their life and property as natural course of flooded water is obstructed by dozens of illegal dams. Likewise, ballooning trade deficit with India, misbehaviour of India border security guards and unequal treaty of 1950 are some vital issues that must be taken to the meeting between the delegations of two PMs. Modi’s visit offers an opportunity for the new government of left alliance to enhance bilateral ties based on the principle of equality.

 

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