KATHMANDU: Indo-Nepal relations are back on track after bilateral ties were strained following the promulgation of a new Constitution that sparked violent protests by Madhesis, foreign policy experts said today.
Nepal and India both should maintain a smooth and cordial relations as there are no other options available for both the neighbours, said Rajan Bhattarai, foreign policy expert and CPN-UML lawmaker.
"We must establish a good and working relations with India for ensuring smooth supply of essential goods as well for moving towards economic prosperity," Bhattarai said talking to reporters at an interaction programme here.
Bhattarai is also one of the members of the Nepal-India Eminent Persons Group (EPG) from the Nepalese side.
The first meeting of the EPG is scheduled to take place on July 4-5 in Kathmandu.
There are four members from each side in the group.
The meeting will review the entire gamut of Nepal-India relations, discuss ways to improve relations and also find out ways to expedite the works of various bilateral mechanisms formed between the two countries.
"Nepalese people had suffered a lot due to the economic blockade and the devastating earthquake last year and now I think that the relations have returned to the normal and it has also started showing improvements in the new context," Bhattarai said.
"The regular meetings of various bilateral mechanisms are taking place and the gap in the relations have been narrowing down," he added.
Officials of both the countries are working on preparing ground for exchange of high level visits between the two countries, he pointed out.
India's ambassador to Nepal Ranjit Rae recently said that exchange of visits by presidents of the two countries are on the card, though dates are not yet fixed.
Former Nepalese ambassador to India Dip Kumar Upadhyaya said that China cannot be an alternative to India for Nepal, so far as the supply of essentials commodities and economic cooperation are concerned.
Nepal turned to China for the supply of essentials as an immediate relief during the border obstructions, but China cannot solve our problem in the long run, he said.
Upadhyaya said the officials in New Delhi need not to panic and think that Nepal might turn to China for help, which is just impossible.
"We cannot change history and change our neighbour, he pointed out. We must establish good relations with India for the supply of essentials as well as attaining economic prosperity," Upadhyaya said.
India has accorded high importance to her relations with Nepal, said Upadhyaya, recalling his experience as the Nepalese ambassador to India.
"We should not complicate our relations with India by talking irresponsible things and Indian authorities should also trust their norther neighbour," he said, underlining the need to move forward by maintaining a balanced relations between the two neighbours.
He also praised India for providing immediate help to Nepal during the earthquake and providing huge support for Nepal's reconstruction efforts.
"There was a breakthrough in the relations between the two countries after the visits paid by Prime minister Narendra Modi to Nepal, though unfortunately we had to face blockade for some time due to the misunderstandings surfaced in both sides of the bilateral relations," he said.
Over 50 people lost their lives during months-long agitation by the Madhesis which also saw blockade of Nepal's all trading points with India, resulting in huge shortage of essential commodities and souring Indo-Nepal ties.
The major demands of Madhesis, mostly of Indian-origin, include re-demarcation of the seven province model of federal structure, inclusiveness and proportionate representation of marginalised groups and ethnic minorities including the Madhesis, indigenous groups and dalits in all the state bodies.