‘Nepal-India ties should grow naturally’

Kathmandu, February 13

Experts today said Nepal-India relations should be allowed to grow naturally.

Speaking at a programme organised by Nepal-India Friendship Society to welcome Nepal’s Ambassador-designate to India Nilambar Acharya, experts said Nepal-India relations developed naturally even before the establishment of formal diplomatic relations in 1947, and that issues hindering natural growth of Nepal-India relations should be identified and addressed.

Former ambassador Lok Raj Baral said the relations were so multi-dimensional that no one could be an expert on it. He said both sides should look at relations on the basis of rationale rather than emotion.

Rajan Bhattarai, foreign relations adviser to the prime minister, said although there were some ups and downs, relations were moving in the right direction. Experts also suggested that Nepal’s geopolitical location was such that it had no option but to balance India and China in this complicated international situation.

“Nepal-India relations are natural, so they will grow naturally. But we need not shy away from benefiting from Nepal-China relations,” said former ambassador Ram Bhakta PV Thakur.

Stating that the leadership of both the countries should eliminate trust deficit in relations, former Nepali Army General Rookmangud Katawal said the leadership should walk the talk and build trust. He also suggested that developing trust was necessary to keep Nepal away from the competition between India and China in order to benefit from their growth.

Former foreign secretary Gyan Chandra Acharya said ‘change and continuity’ should be considered while taking ahead Nepal-India relations. He also underscored the need to change the traditional mindset to eliminate frictions in relations.

Speakers also suggested that Nepal-India relations were based more on political issues, so time had come to look at economic issues as well.

In his reply, Ambassador-designate Acharya said it was normal to see ups and downs in such deep and multi-faceted relations between Nepal and India. He said he would work to take the relations to new heights on the basis of the changed context. He also expressed commitment saying he would not work against the interest of the Nepali people, whichever community they belonged to.

Acharya said there was need to convert the situation of doubt to a situation of trust. “Trust can be built only if we put forth our views and concerns openly. So I will openly put forth our views in bilateral engagements to build trust,” he said. He also said that if both Nepal and India executed commitments, it would help boost trust.

Acharya, who was also a member of the Eminent Persons Group on Nepal-India Relations, assured that the report did not have anything that would cause trouble to people living in border areas.