Often accused of playing a negative role in Nepal, India seems interested in reshaping its ties with the Himalayan nation in a new way with stress on economic cooperation.
As part of the process, a daylong seminar organized on Saturday by the Ministry of External Affairs and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry deliberated on improving strained relations.
Experts from India and Nepal spoke on ways to enhance bilateral trade and economic cooperation, development of hydro-power in Nepal and strategic aspects of foreign policies of both neighbours.
“Friendship between India and Nepal needs to be translated into cooperation on the ground in terms of helping our people lead better lives,” said former Indian Ambassador to Nepal Shiv Shankar Mukherjee.
Referring to the alleged Indian interference in Nepal’s policy made by some sections, he said that instead of making mountains of molehills both countries should concentrate on the overall strategic partnership.
Noted expert on Indo-Nepal relations Prof. SD Muni stated that there has been a course-correction in India’s Nepal policy and asked the Himalayan nation to play a critical role regarding India’s security and economic concerns.
“If you (Nepal) have problems with us, let us sit down and talk. But don’t let any third country hijack a plane from here,” he said referring to the 1999 hijacking of Indian Airlines’s flight IC814.
Director of Centre for South Asian Studies Nischal Pandey stated that political instability and weak institutions of democracy have affected Indo-Nepal relations negatively.
“India has equal security stake in Nepal as much as we have” Prof. Jayaraj Acharya, former Nepali Ambassador to UN alluding that any destabilization in Nepal from within or outside would affect the southern neighbour.