Amending the 1950 treaty
Parshuram Kafle in Naya Patrika, 5 June
The two-year tenure of the Nepal-India joint committee formed to review the bilateral ties between the two countries and recommend ways to strengthen them is ending next month. But a consensus has not been reached on the main issue: how to review the 1950 treaty between newly-independent India and the Rana regime in Nepal.
The Eminent Persons Group (EPG) will meet one last time on 29-30 June before its term expires on 4 July, but it will not be able to agree on the main points of contention by then, because there is no agreement on some clauses of the Nepal-India Treaty of Peace and Friendship 1950.
Here are four clauses of the treaty which Nepal wants to amend but is still trying to seek India’s consent for:
Article 2: Nepal and India must inform each other of any serious friction or misunderstanding with any other neighbouring country.
Nepal argues India did not respect this clause when the latter went to war with China and Pakistan and says the clause undermines its sovereignty.
Article 5: Nepal can freely import arms, ammunition or war material and equipment from or through India.
Nepal has sought India’s commitment to respecting this clause, arguing that New Delhi took exception to Kathmandu’s decision of importing anti-aircraft guns from China in 1989, believed to be the reason India blockaded Nepal in 1990.
Article 6: Nepal and India allows each other’s citizens to participate in industrial and economic activity in their respective territories. They also grant each other’s citizens government contracts and concessions.
Nepal wants to revise this clause, arguing that such a provision will enable Indians to overwhelm Nepalis in their own homeland, while retaining the right of its nationals to work in India.
Article 7: Nepal and India must grant each other’s citizens the same privileges like owning property and participating in trade and commerce in either country regardless of their nationality.
Nepal doesn’t want to grant this concession to a much larger country, but wants Nepalis to be allowed to own property in India.