17 June, 2021

Moving Beyond Rhetoric

The new pact on the Tanakpur Barrage adds another dimension to bilateral understanding

Moving Beyond Rhetoric

Given the less-than-rosy nature of Indo-Nepal ties, it wasn’t surprising that Kathmandu failed to warm up to Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee when he dropped by last month. Most Nepalis acknowledged him with the measured scepticism usually reserved for all visiting officials from India. And why not? Such visits follow a set routine: a hyped-up arrival, a few open-ended agreements and a departure amid mutual commitment to age-old friendship.

But the politics of rhetoric could be changing at last. On January 29, after three days of hectic talks that often stretched late into the night, Nepal’s Foreign Minister Prakash Chandra Lohani and Mukherjee initialled the new treaty on Tanakpur as Nepalese Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and his entire cabinet looked on with satisfaction. The treaty will bring the neighbours on an equalfooting for the first time over the most ambitious project yet in the history of bilateral cooperation. The agreement will receive the final stamp of approval when the prime ministers of the two nations sign the...

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