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Prachanda emphasized  from Delhi – ‘1950 treaty should be reviewed’

 

 

Kathmandu – Chairman of CPN (Maoist Center) and former Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal has said that the treaty of 1950 between Nepal and India should be reviewed.

 

President Dahal, who is visiting India, said this at an event organized by the Foundation for Public Awareness and Policy in New Delhi on Saturday.

During this, he said that even after solving the problems between the two countries through diplomatic dialogue, there should be no delay in reviewing the treaty.

Also, on that occasion, he also clarified that the report prepared by the Nepal-India Prominent Group should be accepted and the relationship between the two countries should be further strengthened. Chairman Dahal mentioned that the relationship between Nepal and India has been strong since time immemorial and said that if there is any problem in it, it can be resolved through diplomatic dialogue.

Chairman and former Prime Minister Dahal also requested India to increase investment in Nepal’s agriculture, infrastructure and tourism. He mentioned that the government of Nepal has given priority to the export industry and held that there is an opportunity to get high returns by investing in it.

Chairman Dahal visited India on Friday at the invitation of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). During this, he is scheduled to meet with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He has already met with Indian Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar and Foreign Secratory Vinaya Mohan Kwatra on Saturday.

While meeting with CPN (Maoist Centre) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’, Foreign Minister Jaishankar said that Nepal has been prioritized under the ‘Neighborhood First Policy’.

“India will always be a reliable partner in Nepal’s desire for development and prosperity, reflecting the policy of neighborhood first”, Foreign Minister Jaishankar has said, “There has been a fruitful discussion on strengthening our neighborly relations by focusing on economic cooperation.”

Earlier, in a speech organized by an Indian think tank, Chariman Prachanda expressed the opinion that the treaty of 1950 should be reviewed.

 

Here is the written opinion expressed by Prachanda.

 

 

Dr. Anirban Ganguly, Chairman of Foundation for Public Awareness and Policy, Dr. Vijay Chauthaiwala, Vice Chairman of the Foundation

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen

Friends from Media,

 I feel privileged to address this august gathering of intellectuals, distinguished luminaries, and friends of Nepal. I express my sincere gratitude to the Foundation for Public Awareness and Policy (FPAP) for hosting this event. I commend the works that the Foundation has done in advancing the knowledge and facilitating discourse on contemporary issues of common concern.

Nepal-India relations are founded on the age-old connections of history, socio-cultural traditions and people-to-people contacts. Our two countries share a history of harmonious co-existence. Our relations are rooted in antiquity. The relations are deep and diverse, underpinned by mutual respect, cordiality and friendship.

We are connected by geography as well as history, by languages as well as literature, by our common traditions as well as religions and, by land as well as rivers. Not just history but also destiny has bound us together.

As friendly neighbours, our two countries have been aware of each other’s concerns and sensitivities. Nepal has not allowed its land to be used against the interests of our neighbors and it expects similar assurance from India.  Mutual trust and respect for each other’s sensitivities have helped us to clear some misunderstandings in the past. Nepal-India relations are multifaceted and go beyond the formal relations involving two governments. People-to-people contacts, open borders, and immense good-will are unique strengths of our relations.

Our interactions today cover a wide spectrum and scope – from culture to commerce, from transportation to tourism, and from education to energy. Exchange of high-level visits and frequent interactions have further strengthened the age-old, time-tested and multidimensional ties between our two countries. I fondly recall my visit to India in 2008 and 2016 as Prime Minister of Nepal and also in other capacities on several other occasions. I was deeply moved by the generous hospitality and warmth every time I visited this great country.

I endeavoured to enrich the substance and widen the scope of cooperation with India during my tenure. My commitment has always remained strong to strengthen friendship and cooperation with our friendly neighbour. There have been two high-level visits between our two countries in a matter of less than two months. The present coalition Government of Nepal headed by Prime Minister Deuba has attached great importance to its relations with India. We, as coalition partners, are of the view that our two countries should work together to fully harness the development potentials in order to uplift the living standard of our peoples who deserve a dignified life.

The official visit of Prime Minister Deuba to India in April, and subsequent official visit of Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi to Lumbini on May 16 have generated a new momentum in our relations. These exchanges have added new dynamism in our relations. In his address in Lumbini on the occasion of Buddha Jayanti celebration on 16th of May, Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi highlighted that the friendship between the peoples of Nepal and India are unshakeable like the Himalayas. As we mark this year the 75th anniversary of formalization of the bilateral relations between Nepal and India, this new dynamism speaks of huge potentials to take our relations to newer heights.

From this juncture, we can confidently look forward to the next 75 years and beyond for ever stronger and greater cooperation in several sectors –including energy, tourism, culture, commerce and connectivity.

Ladies and Gentlemen, 

Nepal and India are endowed with resources, both natural and human. This abundance of resources needs to be transformed into the abundance of wealth. For Nepal, India remains the most important trade partner. It is the largest source of Nepal’s imports as well as largest destination of Nepal’s exports.

The volume of our bilateral trade has been increasing. However, Nepal’s trade deficit with India continues to widen at an alarming rate for the size of our economy. Given this scenario, it is imperative to fully realize Nepal’s export potentials. The business community and investors can explore opportunities in Nepal’s export potentials and contribute to addressing the perennial issue of trade deficit.

Further, more favourable market access and trade facilitation are needed to fully realize Nepal’s export potentials. As Nepal is set to graduate from the LDC category by 2026, we count on the full potential of trade as an engine of sustainable development.

Over the past two years, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused massive economic and social disruptions, impacting the lives and livelihoods globally. At the hour of crisis, India has continued its support to Nepal including by unhindered supply of goods, medical supplies and much needed vaccines. We are thankful to the Government and people of India for the generous assistance extended to Nepal during difficult times, including in the aftermath of the devastating earthquakes in 2015. The response from the Government of India in the wake of earthquakes was speedy, spontaneous and substantial. We greatly value India’s support in post-earthquakes reconstruction.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We greatly value India’s long-standing cooperation in Nepal’s development pursuits. Cross border-connectivity is an important agenda. It brings the economies closer; promotes bilateral trade; and facilitates people to people contacts. It also has a multiplier effect on the economy.

To enhance trade and economic activities, Nepal has prioritized connectivity infrastructures –including roads, railways, waterways and transmission lines. Agriculture offers huge potential for cooperation. We need to implement the important understanding reached in the past for promoting cooperation in this sector. We appreciate India’s valuable support in supplying chemical fertilizers to Nepal.  Nepal and India are working on different large projects including Integrated Check Post (ICP) and Rail links.

Railway link with India is being scaled up. Passenger services in Janyanagar-Kurtha railway have resumed, connecting Nepal with the Indian railway network. We are expecting India’s favourable response to our request for additional air entry points as we expand the network of international/regional airports in Nepal.

Additional projects are in the pipeline.  While there is enough room for up-gradation, lack of infrastructure is no more a constraining factor in scaling up our commerce, connectivity and cooperation. As a home of natural heritage and religious sites, Nepal warmly welcomes Indian tourists. Be it for nature, culture or, for adventure, we expect an increased flow of Indian visitors in the days ahead.

Ramayan Circuit, Buddhist Circuit, Shiva Circuit and other religious sites including Pashupatinath, Muktinath, Janakpurdham solemnly represent our civilizational bonds and potentials for scaling up religious tourism.

 Ladies and Gentlemen,

 While the world is grappling with climate change, cooperation between Nepal and India at bilateral as well as global level holds a huge potential. As a mountain economy with very rich biodiversity and a home of mighty Himalayas, Nepal’s ecosystems are also global goods. Unfortunately, climate change has disproportionately impacted Nepal, not only by gradual melting of the vast ice-reserves in high Himalayas but also affecting the lives and livelihood of the millions of people downstream.

 Nepal holds an immense potential in hydropower generation. As an economic powerhouse, India has a growing demand for electricity. Bilateral cooperation in the power sector will therefore deliver mutual gains. Nepal’s hydropower is an answer to issues of energy security as well as green growth.

Nepal-India Joint Vision Statement on Power Sector Cooperation was issued during the visit of the Prime Minister of Nepal to India on 2 April 2022

Based on it, a long-term approach in joint development of hydropower and seamless power trade will further unleash economic potentials between Nepal and India.  Cross-border transmission infrastructure is being strengthened with new and upgraded transmissions lines. The potential for power trading between two countries is ever growing.

The quantum of hydropower export from Nepal to India has increased over 360 Megawatts, and we look forward to bolstering this export on a long-term basis. Based on the Joint Vision, we can further explore power trading on regional basis including under the BBIN framework.

Nepal is eager to welcome more investment from Indian investors and developers in hydropower. In addition, we have prioritized some of the most potential sectors for investment such as agriculture, infrastructure, connectivity, tourism, MSMEs, export-oriented industries, which can help in economic recovery and prepare ground for take-off. India today has emerged as a major economy. The achievements made by India in economic, social, scientific and other frontiers in recent years have been remarkable. India’s development has been truly spectacular and inspiring.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The people of Nepal had stood by India during its struggle for independence. Nepal had provided moral as well as material support. Today, they are standing by the people of India in their quest for development. India’s Policy of the neighbourhood first and Sabka Sath Sabka Bikas can provide momentum to both Regional and Sub-Regional processes in South Asia — particularly in the areas of trade, transit, connectivity and hydropower.

We are also happy to see India’s lead in several multilateral initiatives including International Solar Alliance, Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure, and WHO Global Centre for Traditional Medicines. Also, India has driven the agenda of G20 and BRICS. In many international fora including the United Nations, our countries have worked closely. We share a collaborative spirit in various regional and sub-regional platforms.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

There are some issues left by history that need to be addressed in good faith to fully realize the potentials of Nepal-India relations and the bilateral cooperation. The matters related to the 1950’s Treaty, boundary and the EPG report need to be resolved through diplomatic efforts and dialogue. In the spirit of good neighbourliness, we can make our relations problem-free.

The commonalities between Nepal and India and the extent of engagements have created a synergy for a robust interdependence. We must capitalize on these enablers to ensure that the cooperation bears fruits for people of both countries. Goodwill, trust, understanding, equality, mutual respect and benefit should continue to underpin our relationship.

Before I conclude, I express my sincere thanks once again to the Foundation for Public Awareness and Policy for organising this event.  I reiterate my unflinching hope for closer and mutually rewarding relations between our two countries in the days to come.

Thank You!

 (Remarks by Former Prime Minister of Nepal and the Chairman of Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre), Hon. Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ at the Foundation for Public Awareness and Policy, New Delhi, India on “Nepal-India Relations” – 16 July, 2022)

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