Fresh rules of engagement with New Nepal
Nepal has been experiencing its tryst with destiny in more ways than one in the past few years. As expected, the transition hasn’t been smooth. But everyone hopes that the decisions taken during this crucial and slightly delayed period will deliver a New Nepal.world Updated: Apr 05, 2012 01:00 IST
Nepal has been experiencing its tryst with destiny in more ways than one in the past few years. As expected, the transition hasn’t been smooth. But everyone hopes that the decisions taken during this crucial and slightly delayed period will deliver a New Nepal.
The first major change was the peace deal in 2002 that ended the 10-year long civil war. It brought the Maoists to the political mainstream and initiated integration and rehabilitation of the former rebels. The process is yet to reach its end.
Another important development took place four years ago when the 240-year-old monarchy made way for a republic. From a Hindu nation, Nepal also embraced secularism as one basic tenet of its democracy.
The country is also in the process of drafting a new constitution which will ensure equal rights and opportunities for all. It will also give Nepal a new form of government and restructure it into smaller federal units. This task is also seeing delays and obstacles.
These big changes, all within a short span in a nation’s history, are giving rise to hopes that Nepal will be able to remove its tag as a least developed nation and take a place of pride among the League of Nations. It also rightly expects to be treated in a new manner.
As its neighbour, and an important one, India’s engagement with Nepal is closely scrutinised in Kathmandu. Though New Delhi refuses to admit, its interactions with the Himalayan nation has been like that of a domineering elder brother on most issues.
But the fresh developments have made India realise (albeit a bit late) that its handling of Nepal needed change. Now instead of dictating terms it wants to rebuild relations at Nepal’s pace, priority and convenience. Something new Indian Ambassador Jayant Prasad reiterates frequently.
It’s a significant shift in New Delhi’s policy and its effects have been visible in the relationship between the neighbours over the past six months. Important bilateral visits, treaties and cooperation in almost all fields have had a noticeable impact in arresting anti-India sentiments.