1950 Indo-Nepal Treaty of Peace and Friendship

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Prime Minister Mohan Shamsher Jang Bahadur Rana and Indian ambassador to Nepal, Chandeshwar Prasad Narayan Singh signing the treaty, 31 July 1950.

The 1950 India-Nepal Treaty of Peace and Friendship (official name Treaty of Peace and Friendship Between The Government of India and The Government of Nepal) is a bilateral treaty between Nepal and India establishing a close strategic relationship between the two South Asian neighbours. The treaty was signed at Kathmandu on 31 July 1950 by the Prime Minister of Nepal Mohan Shamsher Jang Bahadur Rana and Indian ambassador to Nepal, Chadreshwar Narayan Singh and came into force the same day as per Article 9 of the Treaty.[1] The treaty allows free movement of people and goods between the two nations and a close relationship and collaboration on matters of defence and foreign affairs. After an abortive attempt in 1952 of the Communist Party of Nepal to seize power with Chinese backing, India and Nepal stepped up military and intelligence cooperation under treaty provisions, and India sent a military mission to Nepal.

Provisions[edit]

The India-Nepal Treaty of Peace and Friendship was signed by Nepali Prime Minister, Mohan Shamsher Jang Bahadur Rana, and the Indian Ambassador to Nepal, Chandreshwor Narayan Singh on 31 July 1950 and came into force the same day. It has ten articles. The treaty provides for everlasting peace and friendship between the two countries and the two governments agree mutually to acknowledge and respect the complete sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of each other.

As per Articles 6 and 7, the two governments agree to grant, on a reciprocal basis, to the nationals of one country in the territories of the other, the same privileges in the matter of residence, ownership of property, participation in trade and commerce, movement and other privileges of a similar nature. This enables the Nepali and Indian citizens to move freely across the border without passport or visa, live and work in either country and own property or do trade or business in either country. There is a large number of Nepalis (in millions) living, owning property and working or doing business in India as a beneficial aspect of the treaty for Nepal. Reciprocally, many Indians live, own property and business in Nepal.

Free movement of persons across the border was the norm even before the 1816 Treaty of Suguali. This became somewhat restricted after 1816. After the 1860 treaty, Prime Minister Jung Bahadur allowed Indians to purchase and sell land in the Tarai and invited businessmen, traders and landlords from India. The British also kept the Nepal-India border open.

The Nepal king enacted Citizenship Act of 1952 that allowed Indians to immigrate to Nepal and acquire Nepalese citizenship.

Text of the Treaty[edit]

The full text of the treaty is as follows.

TREATY OF PEACE AND FRIENDSHIP BETWEEN THE GOVERNMENT OF INDIA AND THE GOVERNMENT OF NEPAL.
SIGNED AT KATHMANDU, ON 31 JULY 1950

The Government of India and the Government of Nepal, recognising the ancient ties which have happily existed between the two countries;
Desiring still further to strengthen and develop these ties and to perpetuate peace between the two countries;
Have resolved therefore to enter into a Treaty of Peace and Friendship with each other, and have, for this purpose, appointed as their plenipotentiaries the following persons, namely,
THE GOVERNMENT OF INDIA:
His Excellency Shri Chandreshwar Prasad Narain Singh, Ambassador of India in Nepal.
THE GOVERNMENT OF NEPAL:
Maharaja Mohun Shamsher Jang Bahadur Rana, Prime Minister and Supreme Commander-in-Chief of Nepal,
who having examined each other's credentials and found them good and in due form have agreed as follows:

Article 1
There shall be everlasting peace and friendship between the Government of India and the Government of Nepal. The two Governments agree mutually to acknowledge and respect the complete sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of each other,

Article 2
The two Governments hereby undertake to inform each other of any serious friction or misunderstanding with any neighbouring State likely to cause any breach in the friendly relations subsisting between the two Governments.

Article 3
In order to establish and maintain the relations referred to in Article 1 the two Governments agree to continue diplomatic relations with each other by means of representatives with such staff as is necessary for the due performance of their functions. The representatives and such of their staff as may be agreed upon shall enjoy such diplomatic privileges and immunities as are customarily granted by international law on a reciprocal basis  : Provided that in no case shall these be less than those granted to persons of a similar status of any other State having diplomatic relations with either Government.

Article 4
The two Governments agree to appoint Consuls-General, Consuls, Vice-Consuls and other consular agents, who shall reside in towns, ports and other places in each other's territory as may be agreed to. Consuls-General, Consuls, Vice-Consuls and consular agents shall be provided with exequaturs or other valid authorization of their appointment. Such exequatur or authorization is liable to be withdrawn by the country which issued it, if considered necessary. The reasons for the withdrawal shall be indicated wherever possible. The persons mentioned above shall enjoy on a reciprocal basis all the rights, privileges, exemptions and immunities that are accorded to persons of corresponding status of any other State.

Article 5
The Government of Nepal shall be free to import, from or through the territory of India, arms, ammunition or warlike material and equipment necessary for the security of Nepal. The procedure for giving effect to this arrangement shall be worked out by the two Governments acting in consultation.

Article 6
Each Government undertakes, in token of the neighbourly friendship between India and Nepal, to give to the nationals of the other, in its territory, national treatment with regard to participation in industrial and economic development of such territory and to the grant of concessions and contracts, relating to such development.

Article 7
The Governments of India and Nepal agree to grant, on a reciprocal basis, to the nationals of one country in the territories of the other the same privileges in the matter of residence, ownership of property, participation in trade and commerce, movement and other privileges of a similar nature.

Article 8
So far as matters dealt with herein are concerned, this Treaty cancels all previous Treaties, agreements, and engagements entered into on behalf of India between the British Government and the Government of Nepal.

Article 9
This Treaty shall come into force from the date of signature by both Governments.

Article 10
This Treaty shall remain in force until it is terminated by either party by giving one year's notice.

Done in duplicate at Kathmandu this 31st day of July 1950.

Background[edit]

The Himalayan Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal borders northern India in the south, east and west. During British rule in India, Nepal's ties with India were governed by the 1816 Treaty of Sugauli[2] that was replaced by the 1923 "Treaty of perpetual peace and friendship". After the independence of India in 1947, the two nations sought to forge close strategic, commercial and cultural relations. The rise of Communist China in 1949 and the subsequent invasion of Tibet heightened security concerns in both India and Nepal[3] — while India had maintained good relations with Tibet, Nepal feared that China would support the Communist Party of Nepal and sponsor a communist revolution overthrowing the state.[3] With heightening concerns over the security threat to India presented by Communist China, which was seen as seeking to projecting power and influence over Nepal, Sikkim and Bhutan and border disputes with India, the latter sought to strengthen its "Himalayan frontier" by forging an alliance on defence and foreign affairs with Nepal.[3][4]

Criticism of the treaty[edit]

This treaty is called unequal by some Nepalese. They claim that Nepalese law does not permit an open border and Indians cannot buy lands and properties in Nepal and carry out businesses in their names. They claim that the 1950 treaty was signed by undemocratic rulers of Nepal and can be scrapped by a one year notice. The treaty has been unpopular in some segments of Nepal, who often regard it as a breach of its sovereignty.[3]

Deterioration of bilateral relations[edit]

Although initially supported enthusiastically by both sides, the treaty became the subject of increased resentment in Nepal, which saw it as an encroachment of its sovereignty and an unwelcome extension of Indian influence.[3] After an abortive attempt in 1952 of the Communist Party of Nepal to seize power with Chinese backing, India and Nepal stepped up military and intelligence cooperation under treaty provisions, and India sent a military mission to Nepal which was regarded by leftist Nepalese as an undue extension of Indian influence in Nepal.[3] In the late 1950s and 1960s, Nepal and China forged better relations, while relations with India deteriorated as Nepal forced the Indian military mission to leave and both nations began ignoring the treaty provisions.[3][5] While temporarily brought closer after the Sino-Indian War in 1962, Nepal resented the growth of India's regional power in the 1970s. The extensive Indian trade and economic influence was also resented by some in Nepal.[5] Nepal began openly lobbying for renegotiation of the treaty and proposed itself as a "zone of peace" between India and China.[5]

Proposed scrapping[edit]

Upon forming a coalition government after the 2008 Nepalese Constituent Assembly election, the leader of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) Pushpa Kamal Dahal said on 24 April 2008 that the 1950 treaty would be scrapped and a new pact would be negotiated with India.[1][6] However, he later did not pursue the matter afterwards. He had to resign as Prime Minister within nine months. Lately, his influence is on decline and he was even slapped in public by an ordinary citizen in November 2012.[7]

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