ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Teaching Nepal a Lesson

THE government of India's rejection of Nepal's plea for a renewal of the two treaties on trade and transit on a separate basis (as opposed to India's insistence on a single unified treaty covering both) is yet another example of how the 'big brother' in the sub-continent can twist the arms of its smaller neighbours. Accustomed to treat Nepal as a subject in its sphere of control, New Delhi has taken umbrage at some recent gestures of Kathmandu's. Nepal has been complaining for quite some time about the increasing trade deficit with India (running to more than Rs 300 crore every year) and asking India to introduce a reasonable balance between exports and imports. Nepal has imposed a ban on the presence of Indians in a 10-kilometre belt along its border with China. It has introduced a system of work permits for Indians employed in Nepal. What is an even worse crime in the eyes of the South Bloc bureaucrats is Nepal's plan to buy anti-aircraft guns from China, which has led New Delhi to give a veiled warning by indicating to Kathmandu India's "concerns at the acquisition of arms without apparent reason". New Delhi seems to forget that Nepal is not one of the states in the Indian union, and is not bound to seek India's permission or give reasons for taking decisions that may suit its own foreign policy.

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