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  Opinion   Edit  14 May 2018  India-Nepal ties fraught

India-Nepal ties fraught

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : May 14, 2018, 5:23 am IST
Updated : May 14, 2018, 5:23 am IST

The rulers are probably a prominent microcosm of a Nepali elite that has not been overtly friendly to India despite all the overtures.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi beats a drum at Muktinath Temple in Nepal’s Mustang district. (Photo: PTI)
 Prime Minister Narendra Modi beats a drum at Muktinath Temple in Nepal’s Mustang district. (Photo: PTI)

India’s ties with Nepal have long been troubled. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s third visit in four years, which concluded on Saturday will hopefully help to introduce a new dynamic through infrastructural development, though this is hard to bet on. India’s neighbours have been actively wooed by the Chinese through development projects, and this has alerted New Delhi to the need of seeking to refurbish ties with Kathmandu on an urgent basis. Where India fails in trying to match the Chinese is in action, with project delivery times invariably behind schedule and quality of work open to some doubt. Nepal is not to be seen in isolation as a perceived Hindu nation as much as another in a geopolitical arc from Pakistan to Nepal and Myanmar and extending to the Maldives through Sri Lanka that is under Chinese sway. With the Communists in power now, India has its task even more cut out in terms of wooing Nepal. The rulers are probably a prominent microcosm of a Nepali elite that has not been overtly friendly to India despite all the overtures.

The PM’s temple visit in Nepal might be intended to make the Hindu connect, but it can be perceived differently by a neighbour not keen to project itself in terms of its majority religion. The Congress objecting to the PM’s temple visit as a way of catching votes in Karnataka is, however, farfetched even in terms of our politically bizarre situation in which all parties use religion for votes but pretend that only their opponents do so. Considering the PM also participated in a yagna in Nepal on a previous visit, he is only sticking to the formbook. The fact remains that India is no more on strong ground with regard to Nepal ties.

 

Tags: narendra modi, india-nepal ties