DEBATING INDO-NEPAL TREATY OF PEACE AND FRIENDSHIP 1950
ISSUES OF THE GREATER NEPAL: HISTORICAL REFERENCE AND LEGAL QUESTIONS
The Treaty of Peace and Friendship between India and Nepal is nearly six decades old; its relevance for India’s security in today’s context is limited and questionable.
The Maoist demand for “scrapping” the 1950 Treaty of Peace and Friendship between India and Nepal has been greeted with a sense of alarm, as if it is something new or sinister. In fact, it is neither. The treaty, which was a straightforward imitation of understandings dating back to British India days, and basically offered economic opportunities in India for Nepalese nationals against Nepalese assurances that India’s security concerns would be respected, became an irritant in India-Nepal relations as soon as it was signed on 31 July, 1950. In Nepal’s eyes, India’s growing sense of insecurity, generated by an apparently aggressive and expansionist China, had compelled it to yield to expediency, abandon its support for the incipient democratic movement against the autocratic Rana regime, and seek to constrain Nepal’s sovereignty so that it was compatible with India’s security perceptions. The treaty, signed between the Indian Ambassador with Prime Minister Mohun Shumshere Rana (a disrespect for protocol which added insult to Kathmandu’s sense of injury) in the last days of his discredited regime, was accompanied by an exchange of letters which was not made public until many years later — in 1959, when they were placed on the table of the Indian Parliament. For more click here
Whenever high-level visits are made between Nepal and India, the matter relating to reviewing 1950 Treaty comes in the news. However, no political party has taken up the issue of reviewing the pact seriously while in power, no matter how much energy they spend making hue and cry while in the opposition. The necessity of reviewing the Nepal-India Peace and Friendship Treaty 1950 has been a juicy topic for quite a long time. The nature of this issue has been like that of old Hindi cinema songs to a significant number of Nepali people who always find them evergreen and charming.
Today the UCPN (Maoist) are raising the issue of reviewing the accord chanting slogans in the streets in the same way the CPN-UML did more than a decade ago in the streets of Kathmandu for the sake of gaining mass popularity. Ironically, none of these political parties dared to take the matter seriously while they were in power. For more click here
THE history of demarcation of India-Nepal border began on March 4th, 1816, after the signing of the “Sugauli Treaty” between the then British India and the state of Nepal, which declares River Mahakali, of Nepal, as the border-line between both the countries. The Treaty was expected to resolve the border issues, but it did not. Even after such a long time, the dispute regarding the border and the no-man’s land area is being ensued now and then in different areas of Nepali border.
The reason for the continuation of such dispute is that the rivers, counted on as border, diverged from their courses several times in the past. Interestingly, 595 Km of the border is defined by rivers. Mechi in the East, Mahakali in the West and Naryani in the Susta area, and the unavailability of old maps and documents to revise demarcations has made the situation more significant. For more click here
Stop Meddling in the Internal Affairs of Neighbouring Countries!
In recent months, the Indian state has dramatically stepped up its interference in the internal affairs of its northern neighbour, Nepal. This is especially so in the wake of its contribution to the Sri Lankan state in its total subjugation and oppression of the Tamil people in Sri Lanka. While arrogantly and intransigently denying the people of Jammu and Kashmir their right to national self-determination, the Indian state is also deeply involved, in collaboration with the United States, in meddling in Afghanistan’s domestic affairs.
Let the Nepalese People Determine their National Destiny!
Ever since its independence from Britain, the Indian state has been imposing its dominance over Nepal. It has inherited the mantle of the British Empire in South Asia. This is particularly true when Nepal had to sign an unequal treaty with India in 1950, a heritage of British rule in India. All subsequent treaties India signed with Nepal have also worked very much to India’s advantage. Indian built dams control Nepal’s water and electricity needs. Indian goods flood Nepal’s market today. Indeed, India dominates the Nepalese economy. Moreover, India has, in stealth and secrecy, encroached into and seized Nepalese land territories, thereby displacing large numbers of Nepalese citizens. For more click here
I recently saw a documentary organised by London Chhalphal called Greater Nepal. The film suggests Greater Nepal needs to be reclaimed. It was ‘lost’ in the 1816 Treaty of Segauli by which British India gained areas of border land which Manoj Pandit’s documentary suggest should be returned to Nepal. For those who know Greater Nepal was defined as stretching from the Teesta river in the east to Kangra Fort in the west.
The film is let down by a weak first historical half. Pandit’s view of Nepali history focuses on wars, military battles and the ‘great men’ of the past. History for Pandit is a collection of unchanging facts to be used in the service of a nation. The usual roll call of ‘heroes and builders of Nepal’ appears with the assumption that they are heroes for every Nepali today (not true). In typical nationalist fashion the military expansion of the early Gorkhali state is portrayed as unequivocally heroic. Those who were conquered by the Nepalis might have something to say about that. The late Nepali historian, Mahesh Chandra Regmi, certainly did and spent a large part of his career writing about the imperial, extractive and oppressive nature of the Gorkhali empire. Many Nepalis today might also contest Pandit’s rastriya itihaas (national history), let alone those now living in lands claimed by the Greater Nepal movement. (For more click here)
Indian expansionist threat to Nepal’s sovereignty and territorial integrity
Nepalese people residing abroad would like to draw your attention on the following issues: 1) the encroachment of Nepalese land by the Indian authorities in several districts bordering India and the displacement of people following the encroachment. 2) The inundations of Nepalese land as a result of the construction of embankments and dams by India near the border thus violating international conventions.
The deployment of the Indian Border Special Force (Sima Sasastra Bal-SSB) in the encroachment of Nepalese land and the harassment of the Nepalese people living in Nepalese territory close to the border with India has long been an issue plaguing the relationship between the peoples of the two countries. The Indian border security forces stationed at Kalapani have for long enforced the settlement of Indian civilians in the Nepalese districts of Dang, Nawalparasi, Bara and several other bordering districts. This is nothing less than annexation of Nepalese territories by stealth. Recently, Nepalese people from bordering villages in Dang district have been forcibly driven out from their homes. We strongly condemn the invasion and occupation of Nepalese land by India and the displacement of the Nepalese people from the bordering villages. (For more click here)
By Sudeshna Sarkar
Kathmandu, June 19 (IANS) A major treaty signed between the governments of India and Nepal is not to be found in either the national archives or the royal palace here, giving rise to fears that other priceless documents of historical importance might have also vanished from the country, a newspaper said Wednesday. The infamous Sugauli Treaty signed in 1815 with the British East India Company, which was then ruling India, and is seen here as a major blow to Nepal, can’t be traced. It is neither in the National Archives of Nepal, the foreign affairs ministry or the royal palace, which was handed over to the government by deposed king Gyanendra June 11, the Himalayan Times said.
The Sugauli pact was signed to end the 19th century Anglo-Nepalese war and though Nepal was never annexed by the British, it had to concede about one-third of its territory. (For more click here)
By Dr. Shastra Pant
1.Both India and Nepal are independent and sovereign countries. The unique relationship between these two countries is based not only on a diplomatic and political level but also on the level of common people.
The geographical proximity holds a unique significance as Nepal lies on the southern slope of the Himalayas and all the rivers from Nepal flow towards India. Thus, it is customary to have more transactions in industry and trade sectors because of geographical structure.
2.India is Nepal’s closer neighboring friend. Nepal is one of the most beautiful nations located on the southern sunny lap of the Himalayas, stretching from east to west. It is sandwiched between the Tibetan autonomous region of the People’s Republic China in the north and the Republic of India in the south, east and west. Nepal is only the Hindu kingdom in the world having equal respect to all religions, traditions and cultures. (For more click here)
The anti-India sentiment triggered by Bollywood film Chandni Chowk to China which was banned in Nepal [because it claimed Buddha was born in India and not Nepal] has stoked fresh demands for the recovery of the land acceded to India by Nepal nearly two centuries ago. As India celebrated its 60th Republic Day on Jan. 26, students staged a noisy protest outside the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu asking for the restoration of Greater Nepal. Led by a Nepali literature professor, Phanindra Nepal, the United Nepal National Front is asking India and Britain to separate certain areas from four Indian States and return them to Nepal since they were part of Nepal’s territory in the 19th century.
The roots of the movement for a Greater Nepal go back to the 19th century when Nepal fought a series of grim battles with the British who had turned their eyes towards the Himalayan kingdom after colonizing India. After several exhausting Anglo-Nepalese wars, Nepal narrowly averted conquest by agreeing to sign a treaty that however stripped it of almost one-third of its territory. The infamous Treaty of Sagauli signed in 1816 saw Nepal concede territory in Sikkim, Darjeeling and Siliguri which lie in India’s West Bengal State, and territory that now lies in India’s Himachal Pradesh and Uttaranchal. Nepal also lost tracks of fertile land in its southern terai plains but recovered that from the British later for helping the East India Company in1857 to put down the Indian rebellion against the colonial rulers. (For more click here)
By Buddhi Narayan Shrestha
The border treaty signed between the then government of East India Company and Nepal on March 4, 1816 is known as the Sugauli Treaty. The result of the treaty was that Nepal lost almost one-third of its territory on the east, south and west. Students of history know it well why and how the treaty took place. But it would be beneficial for others as well to know the historical background of the country. Late King Prithvi Narayan Shah unified the small fiefdoms / principalities and created a big and powerful Nepal. His descendents continued with the unification and expansion of the country. The East India Company government could not bear Nepal spreading out and becoming stronger. So, they resorted to trickery and deceit in the battles of Nalapani, Jaithak and Makawanpur to defeat the Gorkhalis and forced Nepal to counter-sign in the Sugauli Treaty.
2. Unequal Treaty:
Sugauli Treaty is known as an unequal treaty. Because any treaty is meant to give both the sides more or less equal or equitable benefits even if one side get a little more benefit and the other a little less. But Nepal suffered only losses because of the treaty while the British India gained a huge territorial advantage. The British got the facilities of corridor in the east and in the west, also it got all the facilities and benefits. No provision of facility and concession was made for Nepal. The territory of Nepal that had been unified and expanded to Teesta in the east, Kangara Fort in the West and nearly to the confluence of Ganga and Jamuna in the south, was curbed on all the three sides. So far as the international treaty is concerned, any treaty should be done on the basis of equality, mutual goodwill and understanding, but the British forced Nepal into the treaty under compulsion and duress. Therefore, experts on international treaty view that Nepal may not be forced to recognize the Sugauli treaty as a sound treaty. (For more click here)
Vidya Bir Singh Kansakar, Ph.D.
Professor and Head
Central Department of Geography
Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu
Note: This document is updated version of the papers presented in a series of seminars organized by the Institute of Foreign Affairs and FES in Nepalgunj, Birgunj, Biratnagar and Kathmandu. 2001 .
The Evolution of Nepal’s International Boundary with China and India
Like most of the countries of the world, the existence of Nepal had been recognised even before the international boundaries had been fully and finally established. Mention of Nepal is found in the ancient history of both China and India. Nepal-China boundary is as old as the history of the two countries, but in contrast to the very ancient cultural, social, political and economic relations, Nepal-India boundary has a comparatively recent origin and its present boundary demarcation and delimitation took place after the Anglo-Nepal War of 1814-16. In contrast to Nepal’s boundary with India on three sides: west, south and east, the boundary between Nepal and China lies in the north only. However, the demarcation of Nepal-China boundary had been a problem in the past, because more than 90 percent of the frontiers run through high altitudes with rocks and snow, glaciers and ice fields which are entirely uninhabited. Both countries have respected and continue to respect the existing traditional and customary boundary line and have lived in amity. No remarkable or noticeable territorial dispute has existed between Nepal and China. The few territorial disputes that existed were over rival claims for the settlements of Kimathanka in the Sankhuwasabha and Taplejung districts, the area adjoining the border of Rasuwa, and Nara Nangla of Humla district with the origin of dispute dating back to 1815, 1818 and 1834 respectively (Nepali, 1964:1).:These disputes were resolved by the Nepal-China Joint Boundary Commission on October 5, 1961. (For more click here)