NEW DELHI: After Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda” was sworn in as the new Prime Minister of Nepal, Kathmandu could recalibrate new momentum in India-Nepal relationsas well as Sino-Nepalese relations.
Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda, considered pro-China, has said in the past that a new deal with India should be developed based on a ‘modified scenario’ in Nepal and after resolving all outstanding issues , as a revision of the 1950 Treaty of Friendship and resolve the Kalapani and Susta border disputes.
Nepal’s foreign policy has essentially progressed on the principle of exploitation India-China trade and competition for investment in the country to gain strategic advantage in the region.
Dahal, an avowed communist, said immediately after his swearing in as prime minister that he would maintain friendly ties with India and China.
India and Nepal share unique ties of friendship and cooperation.
The Indo-Nepal Peace and Friendship Treaty of 1950 forms the basis of the privileged relations between the two countries.
The two countries enjoy close and friendly relations characterized by centuries-old historical and cultural ties, open borders and deep-rooted people-to-people contacts.
With regular exchanges of visits and high-level interactions, the two nations have further strengthened their strategic relationship.
Economic cooperation has been one of the major focal points shared between the two nations, with India being Nepal’s biggest trading partner.
India’s contribution to the connectivity and development partnership in Nepal has been one of the major aspects of its foreign policy.
India’s development assistance to Nepal has focused on building infrastructure at the local level.
Various projects have been implemented in the areas of infrastructure, health, water resources, education, and rural and community development.
India’s involvement in Nepal has been informed by its principle of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ and ‘Neighborhood First’ policy. In this regard, India’s main objective has been to boost the development of Nepal through aid and grants for infrastructure development, human security, improvement of human development indicators and support for Nepal during adversities such as the 2015 earthquake.
Relations between India and Nepal have gone through several turbulent periods and relations have emerged stronger than before. Recent years have witnessed such turbulence. With the outbreak of the Madhesi issue in 2015, some Nepalese politicians blamed the hand of India behind it, albeit inconclusively.
The use of India as a punching bag for domestic politics by some Nepalese leaders has become common practice in recent times. This blame game can be attributed to such a practice. Nevertheless, it has harmed Indo-Nepalese relations to some extent, at least for the time being.
With KP Sharma Oli assuming the office of Prime Minister of Nepal in 2018, some issues between India and Nepal relations have started to arise.
The Oli government has shown a clear inclination towards China and has not been shy about raising issues ranging from territorial disputes in Limpiyadhura, Kalapani and Lipulekh to questioning Lord Ram’s birthplace. The former prime minister even blamed India for the spread of coronavirus in Nepal, calling it an “Indian virus”.
Analysts suggest that such an anti-Indian stance is a reflection of political instability in Nepal’s domestic politics and is often instigated by China.
Nevertheless, with Sher Bahadur Deuba taking over as Prime Minister of Nepal, ties began to improve again. He hit a turning point by visiting Lumbini, the birthplace of Gautama Buddha, on Buddha Purnima this year.
This overture by Prime Minister Narendra Modi not only expressed the value of our common culture for the two neighbors, but also indicated the importance and emphasis on restoring ties at the highest level.
And now, with the conclusion of the recent general elections in Nepal and Pushpa Kumar Dahal “Prachanda” being sworn in as the new Prime Minister of Nepal on December 25, 2022, a new chapter in India-Nepal relations could unfold. open, which can strengthen the political, economic and cultural between the two neighbors.
Although Prime Minister Modi was the first to congratulate Prachanda, China has sent several messages that show its commitment and interest in recent developments in Nepal.
China’s Acting Ambassador met with Prachanda to congratulate him the same day on his elevation and said that Beijing has lifted the suspension of activities and supply of goods from Rasuwa-Kerung and Hilsa-Parang 2 checkpoints which n hadn’t been put into use since the Covid-19 pandemic struck.
In its first official reactions after the elections, China’s foreign ministry said it was looking forward to working with Nepal on BRI projects. The breakdown of the Deuba-Prachanda alliance and the fact that Oli – the man who bravely stood up to India during the blockade in the second half of 2015 – signed trade and transit agreements with China in retaliation when confronted with the border issue once again appears to be at the center of Beijing’s plan to make deeper inroads into Nepal.
Other Chinese gestures point to this well. A day before the Indian ambassador visited Prachanda, and even before the government was confirmed by the parliamentary majority, a high-level Chinese team was already in Kathmandu to carry out a feasibility study for the ambitious railway line Kerung-Kathmandu, a major project under the BRI.
Dahal notably inaugurated the country’s third international airport, built against the backdrop of the Annapurna mountain range with Chinese loans and donations.
Ahead of the inauguration of the new Pokhara airport in Nepal, in a surprise announcement, the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu tweeted: “This (Pokhara airport) is the flagship project of the China-Nepal Cooperation Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) ),” writes Anil Giri. , in The Kathmandu Post.
The tweet from the Chinese Embassy comes at a time when Kathmandu reiterated that no projects under Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative have been signed and that Nepal and China are working to finalize the text of the implementation of the project under the BRI, reported The Kathmandu Post.
In the race to build and inaugurate airports across Nepal, the Himalayan nation took out a subsidized loan from China in the amount of USD 215.96 million in March 2016. The Civil Authority of Nepal and China EXIM Bank had signed the agreement where China CAMC Engineering was given the construction contract.
China’s Exim Bank had agreed to provide 25% of the loan interest-free and set the interest rate at 2% per annum for the rest of the amount, with a repayment period of 20 years.
It is quite obvious that through its debt diplomacy, China is encircling Nepal. In addition, the newly appointed Chinese envoy to Nepal Chen Song reiterated that China is willing to work with Nepal to seek common development.
The new Chinese envoy also stressed that he is ready to work with his Nepalese friends “to unlock the full potential of China-Nepal cooperation.”
“Along with my colleagues at the embassy, ​​I stand ready to work with Nepalese friends from all walks of life to unlock the full potential of China-Nepal cooperation and elevate bilateral relations to a new level,” he added.

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