NEW DELHI: Amid rising uncertainty in Central Asia pressed by the Afghanistan crisis, India and Nepal which share an open border, are quietly moving towards re-chartering a new policy that will boost bilateral trade and people-to-people contact.
The International Business Times – an American online publication noted that chief of BJP's foreign affairs department, Vijay Chauthaiwale's recent visit to Kathmandu and meetings with the top leaders might go unnoticed by the masses, but it is a crucial step in the direction of jump-starting bilateral ties between India and Nepal.
A step that is seen to be cementing India-Nepal ties, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) last week increased the limit on remittance for a single transaction from India to Nepal under the Indo-Nepal Remittance Facility Scheme from Rs 50,000 to Rs 2 lakh. The move is expected to boost trade between the two neighbours while facilitating pension payments among other things for ex-servicemen who have settled in the Himalayan country.
Insiders said that India – will have to put in place a well thought out Nepal – at the earliest, especially as China has already been trying to increase its influence in Kathmandu. China, which is a close ally of Pakistan, has already said that it is willing to rebuild Afghanistan under the Taliban 2.0. This, several foreign affairs pundits say, could further boost Beijing's hold in the region and that India cannot afford to "let go of an opportunity".
Insiders said that Nepal Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba too is looking at India for extended support at a time when the new government would face the tall task of stabilizing the economy.
Even the Beijing headquartered Global Times said in an article that the key to "Nepal's access to the world lies in India's hands."
"Prime Minister Deuba's India strategy should be clear and concise. It should focus on cleaning up the clutter and confusion left behind by the previous administration. A very precise message should be sounded to not just India and the Indian leadership, but to his own constituency, that Nepal accords the highest priority to developing friendly and constructive relations with New Delhi," Bhaskar Koirala, Director of the Nepal Institute of International and Strategic Studies told India Narrative. A paper by the Observer Research Foundation said that though Nepal-India relations are largely governed by people-to-people relations, the importance of government-to-government relations cannot be underestimated.
For now, India will be keenly watching Deuba's cabinet that the leader is yet to form despite completing over a month in office. (IANS)
Also Read: Largest party in Nepal heads for split