Jaishankar to begin a two-day visit to Nepal on January 4, power pacts on agenda

Syllabus: GS-II

Subject: International Relations

Topic: India and its neighborhood- relations.

Context:  An agreement on the modalities of purchasing 10,000 MW of hydropower from Nepal and discussions on air connectivity issues, digital payments, and the inauguration of development projects funded by India are all on the agenda

Synopsis:

Visit Overview:

  • Focus on the Joint Commission Meeting with Nepali Foreign Minister N.P. Saud.
  • Agreement on purchasing 10,000 MW of hydropower from Nepal.
  • Discussions on air connectivity and digital payments.
  • Inauguration of Indian-funded development projects.
  • Major announcement expected on a long-term power agreement, crucial for Nepal’s power export goals,increasing power exports from Nepal to India.
  • First bilateral exchange between Jaishankar and Prime Minister Prachanda.Signals positive strides in high-level engagements.
  • Uncertain discussions on the Eminent Person’s Group report.
  • Airspace permission for international flights over India for two Nepalese airports.Concerns over revenue for Nepalese airports without airspace permission.
  • Expected inauguration of high-impact community development programs.
  • Central library at Tribhuvan University in Kathmandu.
  • Discussions on road, railway, and inland waterways connectivity.
  • Focus on enhancing bilateral ties and addressing outstanding issues.

Conclusion: The visit reflects a comprehensive agenda aimed at fostering stronger ties, particularly in the energy sector, while addressing unresolved issues and enhancing economic cooperation between India and Nepal.

Background

India-Nepal Ties:

Nepal holds vital importance in India’s foreign policy due to centuries-old geographic, historical, cultural, and economic linkages. Both nations share strong bonds through Hinduism, Buddhism, and the Roti-Beti ka Rishta (marital and familial ties).

Treaty of Peace and Friendship (1950): The India-Nepal Treaty of Peace and Friendship of 1950 forms the foundation of their special relations. It covers reciprocal treatment for citizens, national treatment for businesses, and provides Nepal access to Indian weaponry.

Significance for India:

1.        Geopolitical Importance:

·             Nepal shares borders with five Indian states, fostering cultural and economic exchanges.

·             Acts as a strategic buffer against potential aggression from China in India’s ‘Himalayan frontiers.’

2.        Ecological and Hydropower Nexus:

·             Rivers originating in Nepal contribute to India’s river systems, crucial for ecology and hydropower potential.

3.        Religious and Pilgrimage Sites:

·             Numerous Hindu and Buddhist sites in Nepal hold immense pilgrimage significance for a large number of Indians.

In essence, Nepal’s historical ties with India are multifaceted, encompassing strategic, economic, and cultural dimensions.

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