External Affairs Minister SM Krishna’s three-day visit to Nepal that ended on Friday would be remembered as a courtesy call that didn’t have many positives for New Delhi.
Just before leaving Krishna told media persons that the visit was “useful”, but most of India’s crucial concerns were not addressed during the trip and are unlikely to see fruition in the near future.
The Indian delegation that included foreign secretary Nirupama Rao highlighted key concerns like security, attacks on Indian envoy by Maoists and threats faced by Indian companies.
But formalization of the revised extradition treaty and the mutual legal assistance treaty that have been pending for over six years made no progress except routine assurances from Nepal.
Formalization of the boundary strip maps (covering nearly 98% of the boundary between both nations) that would create better frame of reference for boundary management also made no headway.
Same was the case with formalization of the bilateral investment protection and promotion agreement and the double taxation avoidance agreement—both necessary to build investor confidence.
“It is necessary for Nepal to realize that favourable climate is needed to build confidence of investors not just from India but from other countries as well,” said Krishna.
These issues are likely to remain pending for some more time as the two-and-half month old Jhalanath Khanal government is facing opposition from all sides and its future is uncertain.
Krishna had a “free and productive” exchange of ideas with Maoist chief Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachand’ and urged him to refrain from indulging in anti-India activities.
As expected, the EAM offered India’s “supportive psychological role” in early conclusion of the peace process and constitution drafting---both of which have to be completed before May 28.
When asked to point out the single most significant achievement of his visit, Krishna said it was the ability to meet many leaders from across the political spectrum within a short period.