1950 Indo-Nepal Treaty of Peace and Friendship

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Last Rana Prime Minister of Nepal, 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 last Rana 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] Rana rule in Nepal ended just 3 months after the treaty was signed. The treaty allows free movement of people and goods between the two nations and a close relationship and collaboration on matters of defense 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 the last Rana Prime Minister of Nepal, 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 Indians (in millions) aka. Madheshis in Nepal living, owning property and working or doing business in Nepal as a beneficial aspect of the treaty for India. Reciprocally, many Nepalese live, own property and business in India.

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 Nepal king enacted Citizenship Act of 1952 that allowed Indians to immigrate to Nepal and acquire Nepalese citizenship. But as more and more Indian immigrants from Bihar started acquiring Nepalese citizenship, most Nepalese became resentful of this provision.

Text of the Treaty[edit]

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, recognizing 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 neighboring 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 neighborly 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.

Prepared by LP

Background[edit]

The Himalaya Nation of Nepal borders northern India in the south, east and west. During British rule in India, Nepal's ties with the British Government 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, the Rana rulers of Nepal feared that China would support the Communist Party of Nepal and sponsor a communist revolution overthrowing their autocratic regime.[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 defense and foreign affairs with the Rana rulers of Nepal.[3][4]

Criticism of the treaty[edit]

This treaty is called unequal by most Nepalese as Nepalese law does not permit an open border and Indians by law, shouldn't be able to buy lands and properties in Nepal or 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 especially among Pahari 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 the Rana rulers and Indian establishment, 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 overthrow the autocratic Rana rule with Chinese backing, India and the Rana regime 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 after the advent of democracy in Nepal, 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] In 1975 after the annexation of Sikkim by India, Nepal began openly lobbying for renegotiation of the treaty and proposed itself as a "Zone of Peace" between India and China, where military competition would be off-limits. India refused to endorse the proposal.[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.[7]

See also[edit]

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