Indian Foreign Secretary Shringla’s Nepali Language Skill Is Good: Will It Make A Difference?

“India wants to hide the problems of its bilateral relations with Nepal under the carpet, while Nepal wants to bring them to the surface and make their friendship more genuine. This is the basic difference between the approaches of the Indian and the Nepalese establishments.”
(Visiting Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringala paying a courtesy call on President Vidyadevi Bhandari at the President’s residence Shital Niwas on Thursday. Kathmandu, 27 November 2020. Photo: Roshan Sapkota, RSS)


By N24 Staff Writer, KATHMANDU:- Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla, who arrived in Nepal for a two-day official visit on Thursday, November 26, 2020, is probably the first Indian Foreign Secretary to have a fluent Nepali language skill. After landing at the Tribhuvan International Airport, Shringla chose to speak in Nepali with the journalists and highlighted the purpose of his visit.

“I am extremely happy to be here in Nepal. India and Nepal have very close friendship. We are going to have a lot of meetings today and we will talk about how we can move our friendship ahead,” Shringla said.

Shringla was scheduled to hold his first meeting with Nepal’s Foreign Secretary Bharat Raj Paudyal, following which, he would meet Nepal’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Pradip Kumar Gyawali. Shringla would then call upon Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and President Bidya Devi Bhandari.

Though soft in tone and skillful in Nepali language, Shringla will cunningly try to convey the Indian message and agenda of maintaining “status quo” relationship with Nepal, while Nepal will try to move to a more comfortable zone for friendship with India.

India does not want to talk substantially on the border dispute issue of Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiadhura, which Nepal would like to see as a major issue.

India does not want to open up its skies for civil aviation purpose of Nepal, so that Nepal could connect freely with Europe, Asia and the US.

Regulating the open border between Nepal and India by keeping records of who enters and leaves the country is also on Nepal’s prime agenda. But for India, it is not an essential issue.

India does not want to give back Nepal’s territories of Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiadhura, while it only maintains a tight vigil on Nepal’s international flights and thus, only limits the scope of travel and tourism in Nepal.

“India wants to hide the problems of its bilateral relations with Nepal under the carpet, while Nepal wants to bring them to the surface and make their friendship more genuine. This is the basic difference between the approaches of the Indian and the Nepalese establishments,” said an analyst, who did not want to be named.

As Shringla is the fourth high-level Indian official visiting Nepal following the visit of Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar in August 2019, it is expected that India will ultimately heed to the sensitive concerns of Nepal vis-a-vis India.

The more Nepal and India commit to a genuine and problem-free relation, more is the chance that both the countries will grow confidence in each other as the two sovereign countries of South Asia living side by side, and growing simultaneously.

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