IRS |Institute of Regional Studies


News Updates

19th May - 28th May
  • Cheaper fuel prices in Nepal spur smuggling
    People in the bordering areas are getting their vehicle tanks filled with petrol and diesel in Nepal because of lower prices compared to Bihar. The high prices in the state have also led to cross-border smuggling of petroleum products from Nepal.
    Mahesh Agrawal, a senior member of Chamber of Commerce at Raxaul, told this newspaper that petrol was Rs83.57 and diesel Rs73.71 per litre in town on Friday compared to Rs66 and Rs55 (Indian currency) per litre respectively in Nepal. (Times of India, 26 May, 2018)
12th May - 18th May
  • Modi's ‘historic’ Nepal visit was aimed more at his Indian constituency than bilateral ties
    Prime Minister Narendra Modi started his two-day visit to Nepal from Janakpur, the heartland of Madhes or the southern plains whose residents are ethnically and socially close to Indians across the border. This Himalayan nation had not witnessed a visit by an Indian prime minister in close to two decades before Modi dropped in three times in the past four years, twice on a state visit and once as an attendee to the 18th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation conference in Kathmandu. Before Modi, the last Indian prime minister to make a bilateral visit to Nepal was Inder Kumar Gujral in June 1997. Modi’s feelers to Nepal this year started with two telephonic conversations with Nepalese Prime Minister KP Oli, and Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s visit to Nepal in February. Oli’s three-day visit to India followed in April. Modi’s desire to start his visit from Janakpur in the Madhesi-majority Terai region had two motivating elements to it. First, the government in Kathmandu had cancelled his visit to Janakpur and the Muktinath temple in northern Nepal during his second visit in 2014. Second, Janakpur is both the putative birthplace of Sita and, as the temporary capital of Province 2, important to the Madhesi plainspeople’s longstanding demand for proportional representation in the Nepalese parliament through a constitutional amendment, which New Delhi has pushed for through diplomatic pressure and direct economic interference. (India had actively backed the 135-day blockade that had frozen essential cross-border trade from September 2015 to February 2016 a week after the constitution was promulgated.) ( May 18, 2018)
  • Ruling Leftist Parties Merge into Marxist Leninist Party
    Nepal's two ruling communist parties merged Thursday to form a unified Nepal Communist Party, or NCP, after winning a parliament majority in last December's elections as a coalition of left-wing parties. After eight months of planning, the Party Unification Coordination Committee decided to unify the Communist Party of Nepal–United Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML) and the former Maoist insurgent group Communist Party of Nepal (CPN-Maoist Center), the country's two biggest left-wing parties.The final decision was made, as Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli held a meeting with representatives of both parties at the prime minister's official residence in Baluwatar, in which members of the NCP took the oath of office and secrecy.It was decided that the new party would be registered Thursday, marking the Madan-Ashrit memorial day. “Both CPN-UML and CPN Maoist Centre will dissolve,” said CPN-Maoist Center leader Janardan Sharma. “A new party will be registered at the Election Commission.” (Telesur tv, May 17, 2018)
3rd May - 11th May
  • PM Modi's Nepal Visit: “Trip A Reflection Of Our "Neighbourhood First" Policy, Says PM Modi.(NDTV 11 May, 2018)
  • In Nepal, PM Modi of India To Flag Off Bus From Sita's Birthplace To Ayodhya: 10 highlights of the visit
    1. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a statement that “These high-level and regular interactions reflect my government's commitment to the 'neighbourhood first' policy, in consonance with the motto of 'sabka saath, sabka vikas' (development for all),"
    2. Prime Minister will make several major announcements on bilateral ties between India and Nepal.
    3. PM Modi and his Nepalese counterpart, KP Sharma Oli, will jointly inaugurate the Ramayan Circuit Bus Route that will connect Janakpur, Goddess Sita's birthplace, to Ayodhya, Lord Ram's birthplace.
    4. High security is in place in Janakpur, Kathmandu and Muktinath where PM Modi is visiting. Close to 11,000 security personnel from both countries will be deployed during the visit.
    5. The PM said he is looking forward to his visits to Janakpur and Muktinath which attract a large number of pilgrims every year.
    6. After flagging off the bus, the provincial government in the town will host PM Modi at the Bahrabigaha's Rangabhoomi ground. A holiday has been declared in the province because of PM Modi's visit.
    7. PM Modi and KP Sharma Oli will hold one-on-one talks in Kathmandu later today. He will also meet the Nepal president, vice president and leaders of major political parties. In Kathmandu, PM Modi will offer prayers at the famous Pashupatinath temple.
    8. The foundation stone for a hydroelectricity project in the eastern Nepal district of Sankhuwasabha will be laid by PM Modi via video conferencing. Indian government-owned Sutlej Jal Vidyut Nigam is handling the project in Nepal.
    9. Tomorrow, PM Modi will offer prayers at the Muktinath temple, on the foothills of the Thorong La mountain pass. He is expected to announce a "surprise gift" for its development.
    10. PM Modi said in a statement. "I am confident that my visit will further cement our people-centric partnership with Nepal on the basis of mutual benefit, goodwill and understanding.
    (NDTV 11 May, 2018)
Credit: Maryam Mastoor