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Has Nepal-India relations normalized?

By Our Political Analyst
nepal-indiaIndian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, at a press conference in Delhi, said that India’s relation with Nepal is normal as some misunderstandings in the past have already been over. Earlier, in a regular press brief, the Indian External Affairs Secretary had also claimed the same.
The Opposition parties in India, including the Congress I, have blamed the ruling BJP government for failing in its neighborhood policy. Focusing on the worst state of relations with Nepal especially after India imposed blockade, the Opposition parties are criticizing the ruling party in India for failing in its Nepal policy.
Worst state of relations:
Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli suspended the India visit of President Vidya Bhandari at the last hour. Furthermore, he recalled our ambassador to India Deep Kumar Upadhaya. These are the indications that Nepal’s relations with India is at the worst stage. When NC and Tarai based parties in agitation planned to topple Oli led government by supporting Pushpakamal Dahal, Oli was fired against India. Oli had understood that this design was planted by India against him. In result, he took the revenge by taking the two non-diplomatic decisions of suspending the visit of Bhandari along with recalling our envoy to India.
PM Oli was even found saying that he will live with glory but will not bow down with others. He had hinted towards India that he will not surrender with India at any cost. After his visit to China and signing several agreements including trade and transit, Oli believes that he has been able to take revenge against India for the blockade imposed by her. Oli is cashing such deals with China by intensifying anti-Indian sentiment among the Nepali people, Indians believe.
Indians have kept record of each and every anti-Indian act and speech of PM Oli and his closed confidants. They are surprised to see why Oli has become such an anti-Indian leader overnight! The Indian newspapers have criticized Oli for following the path of King Mahendra.
Normalization process:
After strong criticism from the Opposition parties, India’s ruling party was compelled to lift the blockade. Oli had taken stance that he would not visit India before the blockade was lifted. Oli’s visit to China was already set and he could visit China without visiting India, by violating the tradition that was established since introduction of multiparty democracy after people’s movement in 1989. As India lifted embargo on Nepal, Oli paid a state visit to India, although, he was unable to issue joint statement at the end of his visit.
Sushma Swaraj visited Nepal to attend the Foreign Minister level SAARC meeting. Our Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Kamal Thapa also visited Delhi to attend the convocation ceremony of the SAARC University. High level talks were held during such visits.
In the latest visit from our DPM and Foreign Minister Thapa, he has learnt to have proposed his counterpart to resume the suspended visit of President Bhandari earliest as possible. He has also expressed the desire of the Nepal government to host Indian President Pranav Mukharjee before the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping possibly in October this year. The Indian side has not given any reply, nevertheless, DPM Thapa said to the Nepali press that the visit of President Bhandari to India will soon be resumed.
Meanwhile, the Indian side has become ready to attend the joint meeting of Eminent Persons’ Group (EPG) from both the countries, in Kathmandu on 4 and 5 July. The Nepali side has taken this as a gesture of India in the process of normalization of the relations.
Are the relations normal?
From Oli’s part also, some messages have been sent to the Indian leaders that he would serve the Indian interests if India will save his government. He is in contact with BJP leader Bhagat Singh Koshiyari. One section in India believes that the relations between the two countries can be normalized through Oli itself. A source said that after Surya Bahadur Thapa and Baburam Bhattarai, India has made huge investment on Oli. Therefore, anytime, Oli can be used by India to serve the Indian interests here, the source said.
Indian bottom-line:
Until now, India has not recognized the constitution adopted by Nepal. During the visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the US, like in the visit to London and EU headquarters, India had also tried to include Nepal’s issue. The Oli government has claimed that due to an effective diplomatic move from Nepal, India’s plan to condemn Nepal in the joint statement during his visit to the US failed.
The Indian bottom-line is re-demarcation of the boundaries of provinces by including all the Tarai districts in the proposed two provinces. The Tarai centric parties are in relay fasting with this demand. Oli has called for talks, yet, the Tarai based leaders are reluctant in holding talks with Oli. They believe that Oli is not ready to fulfill their demands. In conclusion, although, India has performed soft policy towards Nepal, covertly, she is cooking something.

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