India-Nepal Relationship: After 1980s

In the previous post, we have discussed India-Nepal Relationship during Nehruvian and post Nehruvian era. Now we will continue our discussion. India-Nepal shares more than 1800kms of border. There are 26 adjacent districts. But the most critical politicised region is Kalapani in Dhar Chula district, touches Uttarakhand border.

According to the treaty of Sagauli during the British Era, Britishers made Kali River as the natural border between Nepal and India. Today it is the most debated between the India-Nepal relationship. The solution for this Kalapani issue can be given by brokering a deal and India can accept that it is Nepali territory. But India can get water of this river on perpetual lease.

Kalapani Issue Solution
Kalapani Issue Solution

India-Nepal Relationship: 2001 Crisis

In 2001, Palace Conspiracy took place in Nepal. King Gyanendra came to the power after the assassination of King Birendra. The new King Gyanendra started concentrating power and India was facing hostility from Nepal during this period.

So, from 1996 a Jan Andolan started which continued till 2006. This was a challenging situation for India as Nepali King was giving a hard time to India. During this time Maoist activity reached its peak and they were anti-Indian.

Here, India came out with a pragmatic solution and brokered a peace deal between Maoist and National Congress of Nepal. This was a comprehensive Peace agreement with 12 points. This agreement transformed to Nepal to a federal, democratic and republic Nepal.

Constitutional Crisis in Nepal: 2008 and 2013

Constitutional Crisis i Nepal
Constitutional Crisis in Nepal

In 2008, 1st constitutional assembly came into the scene but it was unable to make the constitution. It failed to form a constitution because Maoists were not ready to accept the new constitutional assembly and it took approx 4years to settle down with Maoist. Other issues were as follows,

  • The issue regarding of proportional representation versus the first past the post system.
  • An issue with regards to federal structure.
  • The issues with regards to power of the judiciary. Because Maoists wanted a judiciary which is not independent but accountable to parliament.
  • Issues regarding the form of Government, whether is it Presidential, Parliamentary or Semi-Parliamentary.

So, constitutional assembly worked more as the interim government and there was an issue of power brokering, corruption etc.

Ethnic Makeup of Nepal

Ethnic Makeup of Nepal
Ethnic Makeup of Nepal

Nepal is a diverse country with different ethnic groups. Some groups are influenced by India and others are more inclined towards China. This Ethnic makeup of Nepal also creates problems sometimes. The Indian influence is more in the southern Nepal States. Madhesis and Tharu people live in the southern Nepal region.

Ethnic Divison of Nepal
Ethnic Divison of Nepal


The Madhesis are Hindi/Bhojpuri/Maithili speaking people. They live in southern Nepal’s most productive land ie Terai region. Terai is a narrow strip of land between Shiwaliks and Ganga plain. This region contributes to the 50% GDP of Nepal and 40% of Population of Nepal lives in this region.


Tharus are indigenous people of Nepal lives near Uttarakhand of India. Tharu people speak variants of Hindi/ Urdu/ Awadhi. Tharu were already living in the Terai before Indo-Europeans arrive.

Now the issue with the federalism is that what should be the form of federal state. Because if the basis of federalism is considered as Ethnic then Madhesis want “Ek Madhesh, Ek Pradesh (One Madhesh, One State)“. But Hill elites want to preserve their powers and demand economic and administratively feasible provinces.

There exists one China factor too. China wants North-South Provinces because for China it is easier to deal with Tibetan refugee problem if traditional elites (lives in Northern hills) are in power. Though India as a good neighbour did/does not interfere in the internal matters of Nepal. But India wants that Nepal should decide on its own but that should not affect law and order in adjacent Indian states.

But there is a power struggle among the states of Nepal. As every state has its extend from North to South. So, as have all the three majority group of population ie Hill Elites, Tharu or Adivasis and Madheshis. That is the reason Hill Elites dominated the power basis in Nepal.

But the proposed division  of states of Nepal is as shown in the figure,

India-Nepal Realtionship: Proposed State division of NepalIndia-Nepal Realtionship: Proposed State division of Nepal
India-Nepal Relationship: Proposed State division of Nepal

In the next post, we will continue our discussion India-Nepal Relationship. Till then enjoy learning and Stay happy.

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