International appeal to remove blockage in borders
Nepal is a landlocked country situated between the two super powers of the world - India and China. Nepal has its open border with India from the south, east and west. The good relationship between Nepal and India has had a very long history and, to the extent of our knowledge, India and Nepal initiated this relationship with the 1950 Indo-Nepal Treaty of Peace and Friendship (PFT), along with accompanying secret letters that defined security relations between the two countries, and an agreement governing both bilateral trade and trade transitioning Indian territory between the Indian Government and the Rana rulers of Nepal.
In the 1950s, Rana rulers welcomed a close relationship with India. However, the Rana rule in Nepal collapsed after 3 months of signing the PFT. During the 1960s and after, as the number of Indians living and working in the Terai region of Nepal continued to increase, the involvement of India in Nepal politics deepened. In 1962, the Indian military mission was established in Nepal and, at the same time, Nepal’s dissatisfaction with India’s growing influence began to emerge, and overtures to China were initiated as the counterweight to India.
Following the 1962 Sino-Indian border war, the relationship between Kathmandu and New Delhi thawed significantly. India suspended its support to India-based Nepalese opposition forces. Nepal extracted several concessions, including transit rights with other countries through India and access to Indian markets.
In 1988, when the two treaties were up for renewal, Nepal's refusal to accommodate India's wishes on the transit treaty caused India to call for a single trade and transit treaty. Thereafter, Nepal took a hardline position that led to a serious crisis in the India–Nepal relations. Nepalese leaders asserted the position that, as per the UN charter, transit privileges were "a fundamental and permanent right of a land-locked country" and thus India's demand for a single treaty was unacceptable. So, after two extensions, the two treaties expired on 23 March 1989, resulting in a virtual Indian economic blockade of Nepal that lasted until late April 1990.
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Nepal’s current situation
At the very beginning of the Nepalese year 2072, Nepal was hit hard by a massive earthquake of 7.8 and 7.2 magnitudes. A total of 8,800 people lost their lives with more than 50,000 casualties. After eight very difficult years and at the same time that Nepal is slowly recovering from this destruction, the long awaited interim constitution of Nepal has been promulgated by the Ceremonial President of Nepal Mr. Ram Baran Yadav which is passed by over 90% of the members of parliament in a very democratic way. The signing of this constitution has somehow managed to bring smiles over the Nepalese faces. Nepal Interim Constitution 2072 is considered to be the best constitution drafted up to this date, but, there are still some points which were not addressed by this constitution. As a result, the Indian people in Terai became anxious and decided to object and, for the past fifty plus days, the protest against the constitution has been going on in the Terai region of Nepal, taking many lives and endangering others. The people of Nepal, especially in Terai, are being deprived of not only peace but also food.
At this same time, India has imposed an unofficial economic blockade over Nepal, putting forward its demand to be included in Nepal’s constitution 2072. India has halted the supply of petroleum products to Nepal for the last two weeks. The normal daily requirement is 300,000 liters of petrol and 350,000 liters of diesel just in the Kathmandu Valley alone, whereas the supply has been almost zero for the last two weeks.
With the fuel stock depleting, Nepal government has implemented the odd-even system with all kinds of vehicle. International airlines have been asked to refuel their planes at airports abroad, citing insufficient stock at the state-owned Nepal Oil Corporation’s (NOC) Tribhuwan International Airport in Kathmandu.
The NOC is doing everything necessary to ensure a smooth transition for fuel supply after the Nepal government directed the firm to seek alternatives.
Nepal has been hit hard by the shortage of petroleum products and essential goods after India halted all supplies through the unofficial blockade a fortnight ago.
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India’s unofficial economic blockade over Nepal
The blockade, which was started right after the promulgation of Nepal’s Interim Constitution 2072, is the second time India has imposed an unofficial economic blockade over Nepal since 1989. Even though Nepal did not address India’s points in the constitution, over 90% of the members of parliament passed the new constitution in a very democratic way. The government of India’s displeasure seems to be isolated, as the rest of the World has welcomed the new constitution.
We have always been independent in our history but we consider the people of India as our brothers and sisters. We are very much influenced by the Indian culture, tradition, cuisine and attire but it does not mean Nepal has to surrender its integrity and sovereignty as a small country to its powerful neighbor. We have always been supportive of India and the Indians here in Nepal and all around the globe but the constant interference of the government of India and its intelligent bureaucracy is damaging our relationship and even raising anti-India rumblings in our territory. We were sharing a healthy relationship with each other but the sudden, unofficial blockade by India’s government has devastated us. Currently, we are living our lives in crisis without cooking gas or fuel to drive. This action of India puts us at great risk and our economy has been damaged significantly from this blockage. We are on the verge of the greatest festival of Nepal and we are having a fuel crisis.
If we relate this situation to international rules and regulations, then India is already going against the following agreements and treaties:
Yet, the people of Nepal are protesting against India in a peaceful way because we regard India as our true neighbor and a big brother. At the same time, we appeal to all these International organizations, our partner agencies, donors, supporters, volunteers and well–wishers to request India to remove the blockade and stop this brutal, inhumane act towards Nepal. We are very optimistic that each of your appeals will surely bring the messed up Nepalese life back to normal.
- WTO Laws
- VIENNA CONVENTION
- TRANSIT TREATY
- BILATERAL TRADE TREATY
- ASIAN HIGHWAY AGREEMENT
- LAWS OF SEAS
- BIMSTEC AGREEMENT
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