Bangalore International Centre had arranged a Talk on “India and Nepal- Uneasy Friends?” by Mr. Shyam Saran, Former Foreign Secretary, on Monday, 18th July, 2011 at 6:00 pm. The talk was moderated by Mr. Aditya Sondhi, Practising lawyer and law teacher.
In a lucid analysis, Mr. Saran highlighted the strategic location of Nepal in the context of the rising profile of China vis-à-vis Tibet as well as the tremendous possibilities of partnership in the fields of energy, trade and commerce between Nepal and India. In addition, there are strong cultural, religious and ethnic links between the two countries. Mr. Saran also went into the depth of the current political scenario in Nepal and drew attention to certain areas of concern. He drew attention to the fact that India had not only welcomed the restoration of multi-party democracy in Nepal in 2006, but also played a supportive role in the political transition without taking side with any particular faction or group. However, the current instability arising out of the failure of the Constituent Assembly of Nepal to arrive at a consensus approach on several contentious issues was a cause of concern. Mr. Saran advocated powerfully for India continuing to assist and support the peace process without taking sides and for enabling actions to enhance the integration of Nepal and Indian economies.
The question and answer session enabled him to elucidate and elaborate on several delicate aspects of Indo-Nepalese relationship- Is Nepal leaning more towards China? Are we acting like a big bully to Nepal? Will Nepal think of a Greater Nepal which would include Sikkim and what is now termed as “Gorkha Land” territory? Mr. Saran, through his diplomatic and suave replies proved once again that it was not for nothing that the Government had chosen him to be the Foreign Secretary of the Country. Those who missed the talk missed an event to remember.