Before the Summit, Nepal was considered a country in transition, being involved in the peace process for so long and having recently emerged from conflict. But the success of the Saarc Summit has sent a message to the world that Nepal is capable of organising such a large summit effectively, efficiently and without any problems.
Many liberals in Nepal and India have long been concerned that the victory of Narendra Modi in the last general elections might undermine India’s secular foundations, “saffronise” India’s foreign policy, project the Hindutva agenda into Nepal and empower the much despised royalists in that country.
A Memorandum of Understanding is under consideration between Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi and Nepal fine arts to further enhance mutual understanding and friendly cultural relationship.
Nepal's increasing willingness to take such steps shows China's growing influence in the country, an influence that some see as posing a threat to India, which has traditionally held sway over its small northern neighbour. And while scholars disagree on whether Delhi or Beijing currently has the upper hand, there is certainly growing pressure on India's new prime minister, Narendra Modi, to redress the balance.
Narendra Modi is the first Indian prime minister visiting Nepal in 17 years, although the two countries share an open border and claim to have a close relationship. One of the most contentious issues between the two has been sharing and developing trans-boundary water resources.
For too long, India has ignored the changing political narrative in Nepal. Appropriately targeted public diplomacy initiatives are necessary to address this. At official and diplomatic levels, a more open and straightforward approach will prevent creating ambiguities that give rise to conspiracy theories and providing grist to the local media.
For too long, India has ignored the changing political narrative in Nepal. We remained content that Indian interests were safeguarded by quiet diplomacy even when Nepali leaders publicly adopted anti-India postures — an approach started by the Palace in the 1950s and adopted particularly by the Left parties as a means of demonstrating “nationalist credentials.” Ignored by India, it has had long-term negative consequences. Appropriately targeted public diplomacy initiatives are necessary to address this.
Like an increasing number of tourists visiting Nepal's mountain peaks, colourful markets and lush national parks, Marina Argeisa wanted to experience the latest must-do activity on the tourist trail: a volunteering stint at an orphanage. What the 26-year-old Spaniard did not know was that her good intentions were unwittingly feeding an industry that dupes poor parents into sending their children to bogus orphanages in order to extract money from well-meaning foreigners.