Foreign Policy With Others Countries: Indo-Nepal relations UPSC LLB BA LLB special notes

Foreign Policy With Others Countries: Indo-Nepal relations UPSC LLB BA LLB special notes
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Indo-Nepal relations UPSC LLB BA LLB special notes

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Foreign Policy With Others Countries: Indo-Nepal relations UPSC LLB BA LLB special notes

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Foreign Policy With Others Countries: Indo-Nepal relations UPSC LLB BA LLB special notes
Foreign Policy With Others Countries: Indo-Nepal relations UPSC LLB BA LLB special notes


       Indian Relations with Nepal are always good to examine.

 Nepal is the only Hindi state in the world. It has Tibet in the north and India in the south. It has common frontiers both with India and China. Ever since China established its full sovereignty over Tibet, Nepal’s position has become all the more important for India. It may be regarded as a buffer state between India and China. Professor V.P. Dutt is of the opinion that “There are few countries other than India and Nepal to whom the analogy about the lips and teeth applies so demonstrably and aptly.” India and Nepal are bound together by history, geography, kinship religion, faith, cultural legacy, and linguistic affinity. The two countries “have shared their mythology of the Himalayas and their reverence for those tall and forbidding mountains.”


Nepal was not organized as a sovereign state till 1769 when Maharaja Prithvi Narain Shah brought about political unification of Nepal and established a monarchy. Another significant development took place in 1846 when Rana Jang Bahadur seized power and force the king to become a nominal head of state. The Ranas became remained the virtual rulers of Nepal till early 1951.


A conflict took place between Nepal and the East India Company. In the process of British imperialist expansion, Nepal was defeated and forced to sign a treaty in 1816. The treaty provided for the transfer of part of the Nepalese territory of the East India Company. A British Resident was posted in the Nepalese capital Kathmandu and the country came under British influence. The British rulers of India had treated. Tibet was a buffer between China and India, but the situation changed after India’s independence. Prime Minister Nehru said in the Lok Sabha on December 6, 1950: “Apart from our sympathetic interest in Nepal, we are also interested in the security of our own country.” He added, “Much as we appreciate the independence of Nepal, we cannot risk our own security by anything going wrong in Nepal which permits either that barrier to be crossed or otherwise weakens our frontier.”

India’s interest in Nepal was natural for historical, religious, and strategic reasons. Recruitment of Gorkha soldiers in Nepal for the British army continued even in 1947. Communist victory in China in 1949 made it apparent that it would establish its control over Tibet, and that would bring China in close contact with the borders of Nepal. In view of communist power emerging in China, it was natural for the United States to take interest in Nepal. India’s security was perceived to be closely related to Nepal in the north. Meanwhile, there was a move in Nepal to draft a Constitution for the Himalayan Kingdom. At Nepal’s request, India sent Mr. Sri Prakasa to assist the Kingdom in drafting a Constitution. Since the constitution then drafted went against the power of Ranas its democratization of the country’s policy. India National Congress was always sympathetic to the movement for democracy in Nepal. A treaty of friendship negotiated in 1949 could not be signed as Nepalese Rana leader resented India’s proposal for a democratic structure of the government of Nepal.

Treaty of Peace Friendship, 1950:  India was keen to redefine Indo-Nepalese relations on the basis of sovereign equality and good neighborly relations between the two. After about nine months of diplomatic activity and negotiations, a Treaty of Peace and Friendship was finally concluded between India and Nepal on July 31, 1950. It was clearly provided in the Treaty that, “neither government shall tolerate any threat to the security of the other by a foreign aggressor,” and the two countries promised to “consult each other and device effective counter ordinarily purchase war equipment from India. The Treaty provided that Nepal would consult India before buying war material from any other country. After such consultation, Nepal would “import from or through the territory of India, arms, ammunition, or warlike material and equipment necessary for the security of Nepal” Indo-Nepalese relations have been based on this treaty.

After the signing of the treaty. India established seventeen check posts to watch the passes between Tibet and Nepal and Bhutan. These posts were jointly manned by Indian and Nepalese personnel.


As an Indian in the military mission was also established in Kathmandu for the organization and training of the Nepalese army.

The special relationship between India and Nepal was further underlined by the conclusion of a Treaty of Trade and Commerce, signed on the same day i.e. July 31, 1950. India agreed to make available to Nepal, to the maximum extent possible, commodities essential to its economy, also secure their routes and methods of transportation which were the most convenient and economical. The arrangements were reciprocal, but India was keen to help develop the economy of Nepal. As Nepal is a landlocked country, the Treaty of Trade and Commerce acknowledged Nepal’s *”full and unrestricted right of commercial transit of all goods and manufactures through the territory and parts of India.” There were two other important provisions. The treaty provided for fixing the same level of import duties on items imported from third countries. Nepal also agreed to levy on ground produce in that country, for export to India, export duties at rates that would enable Nepalese goods to be sold in India at prices not lower than the prices on which goods produced in India were sold. Thus began an era of extensive economic cooperation and of economic assistance by India to Nepal.

Nehru was keen that Nepal must enjoy all the attributes of independence and sovereignty. Even during the democratic movement against the autocratic regime of Ranas. India adopted the attitude of restraint and patience.

Political Changes in Nepal:
India played a significant role in the change of Nepalese political structure. The people of Nepal, inspired by freedom struggles in neighboring countries, launched a movement for the removal of the Rana regime. People wanted to free the Kind from the control of Ranas and set up a constitutional government. The King, Maharaja Tribhuvan NarainShah Was fully sympathetic with the aspirations of the people. Palace intrigues lad become the order of the day as Rana Shamsher Jang Bahadur imposed restrictions on the monarch. The Ranas were contemplating assistance from Western Powers. India’s anxiety was natural.

Forced by circumstances. King Tribhuvan left the palace along with 14 members of the royal family and took shelter in the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu, on November 6, 1950. The next day, Rana Shamsher made an unsuccessful attempt to get the King back. Prime Minister Rana Shamsher, in a vindictive mood. “Deposed” the King and declared a child Jainendra as the new King of Nepal. Maharaja Tribhuvan then flew to India with members of his family. India thus was forced into the process of political change in Nepal, although Nehru Firmly remained committed to the independence of that country and the principle of non-involvement in the internal affairs of the other states. India tried to be a discrete mediator between various groups. As a result of negotiations held in Delhi in February 1951, King Tribhuvan returned to Nepal as its monarch. It was decided in the tripartite negotiations (Kings, Rana, and Nepal Congress) that a democratic system would soon be introduced.

The cooperation between Rana and Nepal Congress could not last long. A revolt was organized under the leadership of Dr. K.I. Singh. India cooperated with Nepal in taking police action against K.I. Singh, who was detained. He led from jail in 1952. By early 1952. By early 1952, most political parties in Nepal had adopted an anti-India stance. King Tribhuvan died in March 1955. His son Mahendra became the new King who assumed all powers to himself. Mahendra was already deputizing for his ailing father for some time. Meanwhile, in 1954 Nepal was admitted to the United Nations. India had fully supported Nepal’s membership of the U.N.

Professor V.P. Dutt has written that “It is generally believed in India that soon after the overthrow of the Rana autocracy, King Tribhuvan suggested the merger of Nepal with India”. But, Nehru turned down the suggestion, and the relationship of mutual cooperation based on the sovereign equality of two countries was sought to be evolved. Nepal remained an absolute monarchy till the long-drawn struggle for multi-party parliamentary democracy was successfully completed in 1990 (see below).

Anti-India Stance of King Mahendra. King Mahendra did not have the same feeling for India as his father had, and “Palace politics soon came to be dominated by elements and forces not too-friendly to New Delhi”. The King began moving away from India. The rise of Chinese power in Tibet largely changed the situation for India-Nepal relations. Most of the opponents of King Mahendra were put in jail and the monarch instituted the Rashtriya Panchayat System.

India was disturbed by the setback to democracy in neighboring Nepal. Regrets were expressed in Indian media on Nepalese developments. Leaders and supporters of the Nepali Congress, who stood for parliamentary democracy, fled to India to work for a democratic government in that country. This development disturbed the King. Thus began a difficult phase of Indo-Nepalese relations. While India supported democracy, it was not prepared to support insurgency from its territory. King Mahendra rapidly moved closer to China. This resulted in Nepal securing economic assistance from China, explanation of Sino-Nepalese economic cooperation, the balance of relationship, and reduction in the dependence on India. “Peking was more than ready to play the game and not only encouraged and stoked the anti-Indian Sentiments but seemingly gave concessions on a border treaty while obtaining the right to build the Kathmandu-Kodari road…” The young King was trying to convey the impression that he was a champion of Nepalese nationalism. He approved his supporters’ anti-India campaign. At times felt that he was playing China against India. Mahendra had come to believe that India was supporting the rebels. This was not correct.

The then Prime Minister of Nepal T.P. Acharya was clearly pro-Chinese. During his visit to India in 1956, he said that Nepal was willing to act as a bridge between China and India. The Chinese Prime Minister Chou En-lai’ returned Acharya’s China visit of 1956, in January 1957. He told the Nepalese that both the Chinese and Nepalese belonged to the same blood. He perhaps was intending to align China with Nepal, Bhutan, and Sikkim. As Acharya began to speak Chou’s language in international relations Indo-Nepalese relations were strained. He also said that India, in its own interest, should support the cause of Nepalese nationalism. A Sino-Nepalese treaty relating to Tibet signed in 1956 caused anxiety in India. China also promised a Rupees 6 crore assistance to Nepal. India never had any evil designers in Nepal. President Rajendra Prasad, during his 1956 visit to Nepal, assured the people of that country that India had no intention of interfering in the internal affairs of Nepal nor did India claim any of the Nepalese territories. In 1957, Dr.KI. Singh became Prime Minister of Nepal. His policy was clearly pro-India but the media did not permit him to change the anti-India stance of his predecessor. B.P. Koirala, who became Prime Minister in 1959, tried to consolidate Nepal-China relations and even signed an agreement with China in regard to Mount Everest, which was bitterly criticized in the Indian press. Even after to fall of Koirala Government (1960), Indo-Nepalese relations reminded strained till 1961.

After Koirala was sacked by King Mahendra and many leaders of the Nepali Congress were arrested, several of Congress leaders fled to India. The King blamed India for promoting anti-Nepal agitation, which further strained the relations. Despite India’s warning, King Kathmandu entered, into an agreement with, China for the construction of the Kathmandu-Lhasa Road. He praised the Communist Government during a visit to China. The Chinese aid to Nepal was highly appreciated in the press. The Chinese aid was described as liberal and selfless.

The ‘Detente.
Nepal assumed greater importance in India’s security perception alters the Sino-Indian border war of 1962. India’s bid for improvement in relation was reciprocated. The soft-spoken Lal Bahadur Shastri, who was then Union Home Minister, visited Nepal and successfully removed doubts that the Nepalese had about India and its policy. Shastri laid the foundation of better bilateral relations. Nepal King’s 13-day visit improved relations. Appreciating the detente in Indo-Nepal relation the President of Rashtriya Panchayat, Surya Bahadur Thapa assured India that none would be allowed to attack India through its territory so long as even one Nepalese was alive.


Relations were further improved when Foreign Minister Swaran Singh visited Nepal in 1964 and signed an agreement of large economic assistance to Nepal (see next section). The King of Nepal again visited India in 1965 and conferred with Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri. Nepal gave full support to India’s position on Kashmir. It was stated by the two leaders that the principle of self-determination (as demanded by Pakistan) could apply only to a dependent country. It did not apply to sovereign countries or to parts thereof. The king appreciated the economic assistance being provided by India to his country. However, the bilateral, relations received another setback when a border dispute relating to the Susta region arose. This region was claimed by Nepal in 1966. This one-square-mile territory on the Bihar-Nepal border remained a subject of dispute. Finally, a boundary commission was appointed to resolve the issue.


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