‘Nepal needs to resolve current turmoil through negotiation’

Kathmandu, October 4

Lack of diplomatic skills in Nepali bureaucrats and India’s security perception towards Nepal have emerged as stumbling blocks in maintaining cordial relationship between Nepal and India, experts said today.

The recent unfolding of events between the two countries has resulted in great difficulties for the Nepali people as well as many sections of the Indian society.

Against this backdrop, the International Law Association Nepal (ILA Nepal) organised an interaction programme on ‘Facilitation of Transit and Security Concerns in Friendly Relations: Nepal-India Perspective’, in Kathmandu, where experts of international law shared their views.

ILA Nepal is a branch of International Law Association that has consultative status with several United Nations agencies. It strives to promote international law in Nepal.

Speaking at the programme, Prof Yubaraj Sangroula, former attorney general and founder of Kathmandu School of Law, said the main problem is that Nepal lacks adequate capacity of diplomatic negotiations.

“Another major problem is the security perception of India. India sees insecurity in Nepal, because it sees China when it looks at Nepal and sees insecurity everywhere,” he stated. “It would have been different, if Nepal was economically sound. The political leadership in Nepal should tell India not to see

Nepal through such security perspective only.”Sangroula further added that landlocked countries do not have absolute transit rights and if friendliness and good faith are absent in the relationship, landlocked countries cannot exercise transit rights. “Since India sees Nepal through security perspective, friendliness and good faith are missing,” he said. “This hindrance has violated the individual rights of Nepalis in addition to Nepal’s rights as a nation.

This needs to be communicated effectively.”Former minister of information and communications Madhav Poudel said that transit rights are not merely rights granted by treaties, but also customary international rights. “During the 1989 blockade by India, two points of entry were opened due to customary rights.

International obligations should be followed in good faith, and India’s current obstacle of transit

cannot be said to be done in good faith,” he opined. He added that the current trend is that India’s attitude towards Nepal is friendlier in matters of bilateral treaties than in multilateral treaties.

Poudel emphasised that Nepal should think about what she needs to do, to ensure that such a situation is not repeated again. “We need short-term and long-term measures. We should open more border points with China, and think about railway connectivity with SAARC, BIMSTEC and ASEAN countries,” he said. “We should develop more dry ports and enhance our business.”

On the occasion, Prachanda Man Shrestha, a former high-level government administrator, shared that Nepal has no strategy on Nepal-India relation. “Integration, not segregation, should be the trend. We are not clear about whether we should handle this situation by localising it or by internationalising it,” he informed.

President of ILA Nepal and former chief justice of the Supreme Court of Nepal, Kedar Nath Upadhyay, in his conclusion speech, said that transit rights through sea or air for landlocked countries, need treaties to be concluded between the concerned countries. “If there are disputes, both countries should resolve it through negotiation in good faith,” he added.