Since being trapped for years in a geopolitical vortex, ties between Nepal and India have resumed their normal course now. As these two countries are related by geography, culture, religion, and civilization, the recent high-level meeting, which went smoothly in a warm friendly atmosphere listening to each other's concerns, has shown a way to bring the relations on track.
The recently concluded foreign secretary-level meeting of two close neighbors addressed many elements of Nepal-India relations in the spirit of proximity and shared interests, and it was clear that progress needed to be made away from the geopolitical vortex and toward shared interests.
The secretaries from Nepal and India pave the way to create favorable conditions for signing agreements in several other bilateral business sectors and other areas of mutual interest with the backing of their political leadership.
Nepal's foreign secretary, Paudyal, is soft-spoken and diplomatically adept. He has successfully managed Nepal's bilateral relations with numerous nations while advancing Nepal's interests. Foreign Secretary Paudyal has successfully managed Nepal's foreign affairs thanks to the political leaders' trust.
The two foreign secretaries discussed, among other things, connectivity, trade and transit, cooperation in the power sector, agriculture, education, culture, the health sector, and people-to-people relations as they reviewed various facets of Nepal-India relations, according to a press release from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
India committed during the meeting to allow long-term power exports from Nepal to India using all exchange market products. The decision was made during the bilateral meeting between Nepalese and Indian foreign secretaries, Bharat Raj Paudyal and Vinay Mohan Kwatra.
They also talked about the speedy approval of the four planned transmission line projects under LOC-IV and the technical upgrading of transnational transmission lines.
In their most recent meeting, the two parties also looked favorably upon the development of connecting projects such as railways, transmission lines, bridges, and ICPs.
Foreign Secretary Paudyal commended the Indian government for providing fertilizers, removing limitations on the export of food grains, and providing dialysis devices.
The early conclusion of the updated transit treaty, a review of the trade treaty, and the soonest possible meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee on Trade (IGC) were among the topics discussed between the two parties.
Nepal has also requested a new air route for the Gautam Buddha International Airport in Bhairahawa, albeit this request has not yet been granted. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs states that the Foreign Secretary of Nepal "reiterated the Government of Nepal's appeal for new air-entry routes as well as early concurrence of the close border flight operation of the Gautam Buddha International Airport, Bhairahawa."
The two Foreign Secretaries also discussed boundary matters. In this regard, they exchanged views on completing the boundary works in the remaining segments through the established bilateral mechanisms. They also agreed to finalize the MoU between the foreign service academies of the two countries.
According to a press release from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the meeting took place in a friendly and courteous environment, highlighting the deep and complex ties between the two neighbors.
Foreign Secretary Kwatra also spoke with President Bidya Devi Bhandari, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal "Prachanda," and Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Bimala Rai Paudyal.
“The fallout of geopolitics in the region demands that both Nepal and India should be more cautious in dealing with each other's concerns. However, relations between the two countries, once again, appear to have been moving in the right direction. Earlier, Nepalese foreign secretary Bharat Raj Paudel paid an official visit to New Delhi and this week Indian foreign secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra was in Kathmandu,” writes Chandra D. Bhatta in his recently published article in Outlook.
“Being a small state, the sentiment and emotions of people is very high in Nepal and that can alone be managed by creating the economic base and providing employment opportunities which, in turn, can be the best for these two civilization states to maintain the special relations in the long-term. In addition to this, all pending bilateral issues should be dealt with high speed so that they cannot be used for political sloganeering.”
Such a visit is undoubtedly necessary given that the two nations have a long open border and shared civilization and those previous visits of this nature have been significant and helpful for Nepal. Nepal's foreign secretary Paudyal has already shown his diplomatic prowess in previous high-level encounters with foreign secretaries from India, fostering the close ties between the two countries.
Foreign Secretary Paudyal has illustrated the significance of these kinds of high-level discussions and visits by aiding in the preparation of the groundwork to establish a milestone in power trade with India. While the two countries bilateral relations are improving, it will be necessary to hold frequent consultation meetings in the future to resolve problematic issues.