Indo-Nepal Friendship Treaty

Indo-Nepal Friendship Treaty

  • The 1950 India-Nepal Treaty of Peace and Friendship is a bilateral treaty signed by the Kingdom of Nepal and the Republic of India to establish a close strategic relationship between the two South Asian neighbors.
  • The treaty provides for everlasting peace and friendship between the two countries and the two governments agree mutually to acknowledge and respect the complete sovereignty, territorial integrity, and independence of each other.
  • The treaty talks about the reciprocal treatment of Indian and Nepali citizens in the two countries, in residence, property, business, and movement.
  • It also establishes national treatment for both Indian and Nepalese businesses (i.e., once imported, foreign goods would be treated no differently than domestic goods).
  • It also gives Nepal access to weaponry from India.

Criticism of the Treaty:

  • The Treaty favors Nepal more than India, but Nepal still has certain issues with it.
  • Nepal initially complained that when the treaty was concluded in 1950, India concluded the treaty with a Rana ruler. Nepal alleges that India signed the treaty with the Rana who had become unpopular.
  • Certain sections in Nepal also alleged that the way the treaty was signed signified that India considered Nepal as a small state and not an equal state.
  • The fact that the treaty was signed on India’s behalf by someone who was of lesser designation compared to the Prime Minister of Nepal was seen by Kathmandu as an insult and disrespect for protocol.
  • Besides, Nepal has always had reservations about Articles 2, 6, and 7 of the treaty. Article 2 states that both governments should “inform each other of any serious friction or misunderstanding with any neighboring State likely to cause any breach in the friendly relations subsisting between the two Governments”.
  • Articles 6 and 7 stipulate India and Nepal will give the same privileges of economic activity, employment, residence, and ownership of property to each other’s nationals in their territory.
  • In 1994, the UML successfully generated an anti-India plank in the election. Since then, raising anti-India slogans and alleging that the Indo–Nepal Treaty of 1950 favors India more than Nepal has become a norm for gaining political mileage.
  • Many times, Nepali political parties have demanded a change in the treaty.
  • Whenever Nepal has asked for a change in the treaty, India has accepted the Nepali request, but, the absence of consensus in Nepal on issues that need revision prevents any meaningful engagement about the issue. This demand for revision of the treaty was recently also raised during Indian the PM’s visit to Nepal in 2014.
  • India was seen interfering in the internal political matters of Nepal by brokering its first steps towards achieving democracy with the ousting of the autocratic Rana regime and restoring the monarchy.
  • Nepal was also questioned, for establishing defense ties with its northern neighbor China.
  • Matters only got worse during a stiff economic blockade between India and Nepal due to the agitation by the Madhesi population there over Nepal’s Constitution promulgated in 2015.
  • The blockade led to the restriction of food and essential supplies from India to Nepal and New Delhi was blamed for steering the agitation.

In the recent times Govt. of Nepal has requested the Indian Govt to upgrade the treaty according to changing times. A committee was also set up in the past for this purpose but even after 4 years of it’s formation the committee has not been able to present a report.

Related Links: Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU)