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1950 Indo-Nepal Treaty of Peace and Friendship

Posted by Ramesh Khati on May 9, 2009

1950 Indo-Nepal Treaty of Peace and Friendship

The Indo-Nepal Treaty of Peace and Friendship of 1950 is a bilateral treaty between Nepal and India establishing a close strategic relationship between the two South Asian neighbors. The treaty was signed on July 31, 1950 by the then-Prime Minister of Nepal Mohan Shamsher Jang Bahadur Rana and Indian ambassador to Nepal, Chandreshwar Prasad Narain Singh. The treaty allows for the free movement of people and goods between the two nations and a close relationship and collaboration on matters of defence and foreign affairs. While India values the treaty as deflecting the influence of its regional competitor, the People’s Republic of China, the treaty has been unpopular in many segments of Nepal, which often regards it as a breach of its sovereignty.

Background

The Himalayan federal republic of Nepal borders northern India in the south and east. During British rule in India, Nepal’s ties were governed by the 1825 Treaty of Sugauli.After the independence of India in 1947, the two nations sought to forge close strategic, commercial and cultural relations. The rise of Communist China in 1949 and the subsequent invasion of Tibet heightened security concerns in both India and Nepal— while India had maintained good relations with Tibet and was faced with border issues with China, Nepal feared that China would support the Communist Party of Nepal and sponsor a communist revolution overthrowing the state.With heightening concerns over the security threat to India presented by Communist China, which was seen as seeking to projecting power and influence over Nepal, Sikkim and Bhutan and border disputes with India, the latter sought to strengthen its “Himalayan frontier” by forging an alliance on defence and foreign affairs with Nepal.

Provisions

The Indo-Nepal Treaty of Peace and Friendship provided for an open border between the two nations, permitting free and unrestricted travel of people and goods and allowing the immigration of Indians to Nepal and of Nepalese people to India, granting equal rights to them.Both nations agreed to respect each others territorial integrity and independence.The treaty also facilitated extensive cooperation on strategic issues, with both nations required to consult each other on affairs of regional security; while India was obligated to actively assist Nepal in national defence and military preparedness, and both nations resolved not to tolerate threats to each others security.

Deterioration of bilateral relations

Although initially support enthusiastically by both sides, the treaty became the subject of increased resentment in Nepal, which saw it as an encroachment of its sovereignty and an unwelcome extension of Indian influence.After an abortive attempt in 1952 of the Communist Party of Nepal to seize power with Chinese backing, India and Nepal stepped up military and intelligence cooperation under treaty provisions, and India sent a military mission to Nepal, which was however regarded as an undue extension of Indian influence in Nepal. In the late 1950s and 1960s, Nepal and China forged better relations, while relations with India deteriorated as Nepal forced the Indian military mission to leave and both nations began ignoring the treaty provisions.While temporarily brought closer after the Sino-Indian War in 1962 and the occupation of Aksai Chin by Chinese forces, Nepal resented the growth of India’s regional power in the 1970s. It also protested when Sikkim joined the Indian Union in 1975.The extensive Indian trade and economic influence was also resented in Nepal.Nepal began openly lobbying for renegotiation of the treaty and proposed itself as a “zone of peace” between India and China, effectively distancing itself from India.

Proposed scrapping

Upon forming a coalition government after the 2008 Nepalese Constituent Assembly election, the leader of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) Prachanda said on April 24, 2008 that the 1950 treaty would be scrapped and a new pact would be negotiated with India, which also signalled its willingness to review the treaty.

1950 Indo-Nepal Treaty of Peace and Friendship

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