KATHMANDU- Dr Nihar Nayak, a research fellow who covers Nepali affairs at the Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (MP-IDSA), has claimed that there could be a dialogue between Nepal and India to settle border disputes between the two countries.
The IDSA is an autonomous institute funded by the Indian Ministry of Defence. The recent visit by Indian foreign intelligence agency RAW Chief’s Samanta Goel to meet Nepal’s Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has set the stage for dialogue between the two countries at the political level, according to Dr Nayak, who closely follows Nepal-India relations.
Dr Nayak, author of the book ‘Strategic Himalayas: Republican Nepal and External Powers’, had recently penned an article titled ‘India-Nepal border disputes: From history to the mystery’ in India Vs Disinformation, where he argued that reviving the border dialogue mechanism at the FS [Foreign Secretary] level is the only way to find a solution to the ongoing border disputes.
Speaking with Kathmandu Pati over the telephone, he said that the Indian Raw Chief Goel’s visit is aimed at facilitating the revival of dialogue between the two countries.
“Goel’s visit has helped in overcoming mistrust that persisted in both countries. The dialogue to resolve the border disputes is expected to kick off soon,” Dr Nayak told Kathmandu Pati.
He said that there could be a joint commission level meeting (foreign minister level) or foreign secretary level meeting soon.
“Generally, a foreign intelligence chief does not make a foreign trip openly. His visit to Nepal took place after receiving a green signal from Prime Minister Modi. The message was, ‘lets resolve the disputes with Nepal soon.’ This means there would be a high-level dialogue toward resolving border disputes with Nepal soon,” said Dr Nayak, who holds a PHd in International Relations from Jawaharlal Nehru University.
He said that the US and India have forged a strong strategic alliance in South Asia that also could counter joint operations of China and Pakistan in the region. India has further increased its engagement with other South Asian countries to demonstrate that it continues to be an influential power in the region, according to Dr Nayak.
Asked whether the US has changed its policy to view Nepal through India’s lens, he said, “Not only in Nepal, the US frames and pursues its policies in South Asia in line with those of India. And, it follows India when it comes to the broader policies of South Asia.”
However, Dr Nayak believes that the upcoming visit of Indian Chief of Army Staff General Mukund Naravane will be centered on strengthening the military ties between the two countries. “The Indian army chief’s visit does not have anything to do with political relations,” he added.