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CESIF organizes round table discussion on Nepal-India bilateral relations

CESIF organizes round table discussion on Nepal-India bilateral relations

Centre for Social Inclusion and Federalism (CESIF) organized a round table discussion on Nepal-India bilateral relations, focusing on the Prime Minister’s visit to India from May 30 to June 3, 2023. The discourse brought together distinguished parliamentarians, experts, journalists, former bureaucrats and diplomats.

Raj Kishor Yadav, chairperson of the International Relations and Tourism Committee at the House of Representative, was the chief guest speaker of the discussion.

Similarly, former Minister for Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation and lawmakers Barsha Man Pun, Udaya Shumsher Rana and Sunita Baral were the prominent speakers of the event.

The Prime Minister’s official visit to India last May/June further strengthened Nepal-India close ties in many fronts, including power trade, cross-border infrastructures, among others.

The visit was noted by many as a fruitful development to the existing relations; however, the burden now falls upon the implementation of the deals and agreements signed. The discussion was aimed at critically analyzing the visit and reviewing the implementations of the deals and agreements reached, reads a statement issued by Centre for Social Inclusion & Federalism.

The dialogue was moderated by the Executive Chair of CESIF, Ambassador Vijay Kant Karna.

In his opening remarks, he reflected that the visit showed an increased political trust as evidenced by PM Modi’s pledge on border issues to be resolved through dialogues. “Nonetheless, controversial issues like border disputes demand considerable preparation and consensus from both sides,” Ambassador Karna analyzed.

The dialogue brought together diverse views from the parliamentarians and participants, according to the statement.

Lawmaker Baral expressed satisfaction regarding economic perks that were achieved during the PM’s visit to India.

Likewise, lawmaker Pun agreed on the fact that slowly and gradually, an environment of trust is being witnessed which has obvious economic perks.

Similarly, lawmaker Rana emphasized on compartmentalizing structural and economic issues while dealing with India. “Issues like border disputes require a long-term solution, and the present concentration should be on economic aspects,” he reflected.

Chief Guest Yadav concluded that it is important for Nepal to also learn of India’s concerns in order to effectively navigate diplomatic hurdles. “Nepal and India’s issues are interconnected, and thus we need to carefully tread the path,” he shared.

During the program, all the participants expressed that there is a trust deficit between Nepal and India, and that there has to be diversification and decentralization of diplomacy, the statement further reads.

Regarding the PM’s visit to India, while some remarked it to be successful, some also expressed dissatisfaction.

The crux lies in the implementation of the deals and agreements signed, which is yet to be seen.

However, it would be unfair to anticipate a radical breakthrough, in this visit, on longstanding contentious issues that have plagued Nepal-India relations for decades. This isn’t to claim that there was no room for further negotiations and deals but owing to the limitations, only so much could have been achieved.