Event ReportsPublished on Oct 04, 2015
Speaking about the domestic challenges that Nepal has been facing on the path towards drafting a new constitution, Nepal's Ambassador to India Deep Kumar Upadhyay sought India's support in helping Nepal structure its democracy.
Nepal Ambassador seeks India's help in structuring democracy

Pointing out that Nepal and India share good relations, the Ambassador of Nepal to India Deep Kumar Upadhyay said the real challenge facing the countries now is how to transform existing relations into more positive ties.

Delivering a lecture on "India-Nepal Relations" at the ORF Kolkata chapter on 29 August, the Ambassador said that "Nepal and India share a unique bond on the basis of their shared history, culture and worldview and the two countries should therefore cultivate deeper and more meaningful ties."

To achieve this goal, the Ambassador proposed certain avenues that the two countries could choose to undertake. For instance, he stressed the importance of developing a deeper, mutual understanding among the youth of Nepal and India by initiating educational exchange programmes among premier educational institutes in both nations. This, he believes, would contribute greatly to people-to-people interactions and inspire the younger generation for 'truth-based knowledge.’

Talking about bilateral projects, the Ambassador said that in recent years both countries have worked towards undertaking new bilateral initiatives in diverse sectors, such as energy, trade and physical connectivity. He appreciated these developments and stressed the need to explore and identify mutual complementarities that would add value to the bilateral relationship between India and Nepal. He suggested that both countries could explore possibilities of developing and securing border areas to tackle problems such as trafficking and smuggling.

The Ambassador emphasised the creation of shared interests and values so that politically constructive relations could be built. He also spoke about the domestic challenges that Nepal has been facing on the path towards drafting a new constitution and sought India’s support in helping Nepal structure its democracy. He maintained that democracy is the single most important quality that can help nations on their path to development and progress, and urged both the nations to work together to ensure stability, peace and economic prosperity.

Discussing the Ambassador’s presentation, Sabyasachi Basu Ray Chaudhury, Vice-Chancellor of Rabindra Bharati University, Kolkata, said that Nepal is going through a period of transition at multiple levels and the transitions are overlapping in nature. Nepal is undergoing a transition from monarchy to democracy as well as from unitary to federal state, he said.

Inclusivity in polity is the major requirement for Nepal today, Chaudhury pointed out. Nepal is a plural society which includes minority groups like the Dalits, who need to be included in the political system. He also advocated the inclusion of women in Nepal’s polity.

Chaudhury suggested the need to bring back the focus on decentralisation in Nepal. He held that India-Nepal relations could be furthered through the opening up of multiple dialogic points across borders. There is a need for reviving theatres of discussion beyond New Delhi and Kathmandu to include Indian cities of Kolkata, Varanasi and Patna, he added.

Chaudhury also suggested the need for expanding the ambit of the Nepali term 'Chal-Phal' to improve bilateral relations. The Chal-Phal has to be conducted at multiple levels and in a multilateral way for both countries to benefit from it. He also stressed the need for the new generation to become familiar with the traditional cultural, economic and political ties between the two countries.

The lecture-discussion was attended by university professors, journalists and consular staff as well as ORF Kolkata faculty.

Report prepared by Pratnashree Basu, Junior Fellow, and Mihir Bhonsale, Research Assistant, ORF Kolkata.

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