Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla visited in Nepal on November 26. Shringla’s visit follows the recent trips of Indian intelligence and military chiefs, who directly report to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The visits of Chief of India’s External Intelligence Agency (RAW), Samanta Goel and Army Chief Manoj Mukunda Naravane have created much-needed convenience for bilateral talks for which Nepal had been requesting India since the latter’s cartographic encroachment of Nepal’s land.
It is obvious that India and China are effortful to extend their influences in their vicinity. They, however, have adopted widely divergent policy: India has allegedly been interfering in the domestic affairs of others with its unsolicited moves and condescending behaviours while China has relatively distanced itself from the internal matters of its neighours but is quietly influencing them through its soft actions. Beijing has constantly been watching developments in Kathmandu and its relations with the southern neighbour.
Indian foreign secretary’s visit is a maiden trip to Nepal after he was appointed to the post. However, all the bilateral issues between Nepal and India should be discussed during his meeting with his Nepali counterpart.
This visit was expected to reset Nepal-India relations after it reached the lowest ebb following the publication of maps by the both sides. Nepal and India are holding first formal dialogue on the issue of Limpiyadhura, Lipulek and Kalapani, which belong to Nepal but encroached by India since 1962. India should be ready to return these areas to Nepal on the basis of historical evidences. Shringla is likely to share his government’s position on the matter and will pave the way for further high-level negotiation.
Nepal seeks to deal with both the rising power of its neighbourhood separately and doesn’t want to convert the bilateral issues into trilateral one, but if needed, it can play a key role for forging trilateral partnership for common development. Nepal welcomes every high level delegation of India and China in Kathmandu and leaves no stone unturned for making them a great success. Nepal doesn’t provide its space to them for playing against each other.
Nepal is aware that there has been the unfair competition between India and China to keep Nepal under their influence, but it rejects the interference of any sort. Therefore, Nepal is not biased against any neighbour, it wants friendly relations with all. The visits of top Indian and Chinese officials to Nepal aim to boost relations with Nepal. This diplomatic ruckus amply suggests Nepal’s growing geopolitical importance in the region.