Since the redrawing and reorganization of Jammu and Kashmir boundaries post abrogation of Article 370, a lot has come into effect influencing and guiding the long-drawn association ties between India and Nepal. They both have always taken great inspiration and advantage of their shared history, economics, society, and culture with a tradition of people to people contacts and exchanges.
A template which has been attracted by pulling both the countries closer to each other in every aspect and respect but over the years, a visible strain has marred the outstanding and unique which India had with Nepal. In the wake of a gigantic earthquake that rocked and rippled Nepal in May 2015 and the subsequent economic blockade at a crucial crossing on the border with India halted oil and essential supplies in this landlocked region.
Apart from it, the Madhes Movement was launched by various political parties, especially those based in Madhes for equal rights, dignity, and identity of Madhesis and Tharus, Muslims, and Janjati groups in Nepal. This was manifested in the promulgation of Nepal’s new constitution in the two-week Madhesi blockade of goods which unofficially somewhere had India’s tacit backing and support.
Nepal has often and always squeezed the square to put a part of its blame on the Indian ruling establishment. The situation is going out of proportions and bounds treading rivalry, suspicion, hostility in the minds of a common Nepali citizen. New Delhi was heavily charged and criticised by former diplomats accusing it of attempting a Sri Lanka in Nepal by promoting an ethnic divide and taking sides, with potentially dangerous consequences.
KP Sharma Oli was the first elected Prime Minister of Nepal under the newly adopted Constitution of Nepal. Under his premiership, nationalistic temper and mood have been at an all-time high with a great deal having to do with the sensitivities of the people in this landlocked hill state. In November 2019, India drew a new political map showing Kalapani within its regions. This announcement made people come out with extreme positions and reactions giving feathers to the sense and pride of nationalism which eventually was espoused by Oli in the process of bargaining, dialogue, and negotiations with India.
Under ire and haste to act from the opposition, civil society and press Nepal came out with a new political map showing Kalapani, Lipulekh, and Limpiyadhura within its borders. This was marked by rejections by India followed by cartographic wars between both the countries bent on sticking to their positions which they thought were ideal for them keeping in view their stated interest and positions. The Indian Army Chief General Major Manoj Mukund Naravane played with fire by suggesting Kathmandu acted at the behest of China. Angering the sentiments of the Oli regime it was dubbed as an insult to the Nepalese Gurkha soldiers who form the part of the Indian army.
Efforts of any sort were never made to settle and diffuse the crisis at hand as both the countries seemed interested in playing with their domestic constituents in leveraging their positions up and firm. Stretching it is pointless given the vested interests of Pakistan and China in this matter altogether as they wouldn’,t want to let this go painting India interfering in the key regional issues of its neighbours.
To break the ice and end the stalemate, it would be in the kind interest of both to enter into negotiated settlements, dialogue, and deliberations at the secretary and diplomatic levels, being constructive and forthcoming dispelling all concerns by honouring the various treaties and accords. The Sugauli Treaty of 1816 remains vital stating Mahakali as a border river maintaining any demarcation soon will have to bear this fact, thereby granting and guarding the autonomy and sovereignty of Nepal further.