India & Nepal have a natural, civilisational relationship: Oli
The Nepalese Prime Minister, K P Oli, who began his 6 day India visit, said that both the nations have ties which date back to ancient times. This is the first bilateral visit of Nepalese Prime Minister since 2011. The visit gains importance as it comes in the wake of the Madhesi protest which had strained the relations between the two close neighbours.
Nepal: A country profile
Nepal is a landlocked Himalayan nation which is bordered on 3 sides by India and on the north by China. Home to 31 million people, it has an area of about 1.47 lakh sq. km, little less than the area of Odisha. After years of struggle, the nation has adopted a new Constitution which declares Nepal as a socialist democratic republic.
Protest starts after Nepal adopts new Constitution
The relations between India and Nepal had turned sour after the newly adopted Constitution of Nepal failed to address the demands of the Terai belt people of Madhesi and Janjati. The Nepalese border areas witnessed violence and the trade between the 2 nations came to a standstill due to the protests. This led to severe shortages of fuel and other commodities in Nepal.
Reasons for the protest
Nepalese Madhesis who are of Indian origin had rejected the new Constitution as it failed to give them adequate representation in the Parliament.
Oli replaces Koirala as Nepal's PM
Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli defeated the incumbent Sushil Koirala to be elected as the new Prime Minister of Nepal. Oli was once a Naxalite and had spent 14 years in jail before getting elected as the member of parliament in 1991. Oli, who had been known for his anti-India position, would have a big challenge to work with India to solve the Madhesi protest.
Madhesis calls of end to protest
Madhesis had called off their 5-months long protest allowing the trucks from India to enter Nepal. This came as a relief to the Himalayan nation which was reeling under severe shortage of essential commodities such as fuel, medicines, etc. The escalation of protests had led to speculations that Mr. Oli may visit China first if the blockade did not end.
Failed projects risks trust between India-Nepal
Nepal said that the failure to implement the past agreements and understanding could lead to a trust deficit between the two neighbours. This statement from the Nepal's information minister comes during the visit of Nepalese PM Oli to India. Nepal is about to sign trade and transit treaty with China and Mr. Oli would be visiting China soon after his India visit.
9 agreements signed between India and Nepal
India and Nepal have signed 9 agreements during the visit of Nepalese PM to India. Agreements include improving road infrastructure in Nepal's Terai region, transit between Nepal and Bangladesh through Kakarbitta-Banglabandh corridor, utilisation of India's $250 million grant for Nepal's post-earthquake reconstruction, etc. Mr Oli's visit will further strengthen the ties and put back the relations between the two nations on a positive trajectory.