Indo Nepal friendship has been strengthened over a period of long time due to cultural similarities and links between families. But that friendship is facing some difficulties due to vested interests of certain powers.
After India became independent, the first Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru stressed for economic development of Nepal to continue with the existing good relations between the two countries. India continued to offer jobs to Nepalese citizens in Indian Army and Para Military Forces. After their retirement, the Nepalese nationals get the same retirement benefits which is given to their Indian counterparts. Nationals of both the countries can travel both to India and Nepal freely. Nepalese do not require any work permit in India. India , a country of 1.3 billion people, had never shown any negative attitude to Nepal which has a population of only 29 million. India never interfered in internal politics of Nepal. Many in Nepal and the world thought that India might annex the Himalayan nation after its victory with Pakistan in 1971. But India had refrained from troubling its neighbour. This positive attitude to Nepal is being continued in India since Independence in 1947 till date through a historic Indo Nepal Friendship Agreement on July 31 1950.
India has been continuously assisting Nepal through infrastructural development, airport in Kathmandu, Health , Education and many other sectors. India was the first country to reach to Nepal within six hours to provide relief after the devastating earthquake in 2015. Indian Foreign Minister Late Sushma Swaraj committed assistance of approx one billion dollar. In 2018, India finished constriction of 42786 houses at a cost of Rs 131 crore in Nuakot and Gorkha districts.
Bangladesh also has very good relations with Nepal. Bangladesh now wants to import electricity from 900 MW hydel project over Karnali river in Nepal through Indian grid system. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has discussed and finalised with Nepal and Bangladesh to set up an India-Bangladesh-Nepal railway line. Kankrabhita in Nepal and Banglabandha in Bangladesh, both land-ports will be significant routes for trade between Bangladesh and Nepal through Siliguri in West Bengal, India. Hence, Bangladesh will lose lot of trade opportunities with Nepal if Indo- Nepal relations face trouble.
Unlike Pakistan and Bangladesh borders, India does not have fenced borders with Nepal and the Indian border is guarded by one paramilitary force SSB and not BSF. The patrolling by India at the border is also very limited. Currently, 6 lakh Indians stay in Nepal whereas number of Nepalese nationals in India is more than 7 million, one third of the whole population of Nepal. 95000 Nepalese work in Defence forces of Nepal whereas more than 40000 Nepalese nationals work in seven Gorkha regiments of Indian Army. Besides, Nepalese nationals are working in Indian police also. Around 80000 Nepalese who retired from Indian Army get pension and Indian army also looks after 11000 widows of Nepal soldiers and 17000 Retired soldiers of Assam Rifles. India spends around 12 billion dollars for pension to Nepalese nationals only in a year.
India spends millions of dollars in various projects in Nepal.3000 Nepalese students come to India for higher studies at the cost of Indian Government. 40 per cent of investment in Nepal comes from India through 150 Indian companies. Nepal has also increased its exports to India by 66 per cent from 230 crore in 1996 to 3700 crores in 2016.
After China established diplomatic relations with Nepal in 1950, Peoples Liberation Army of China tried to influence Nepal in every respect to reduce dependence of Nepal on India. But Nepal ignored those advances. Even Nepali soldiers fought alongside Indian soldiers to liberate Bangladesh, ignoring the advice of China.
Hence, Nepal will face immense problem if it tries to reduce the importance of India in their daily lives/economy. This will also be a problem for Bangladesh as it will not be able to increase trade with Nepal through India. So, cordial relations between Nepal and India is a necessity for Bangladesh and Nepal from economic point of view and Nepal should not try to weaken that relationship at the behest of some vested interests like China which is trying to increase its market presence in Nepal, Bangladesh and Myanmar after Corona virus pandemic.