For a conscious citizen, a responsible political party, and an accountable government, nothing can be greater than national integrity and sovereignty. No matter how many wars were fought in the world, they were all for universal defense. The war waged by the Nepali heroic ancestors against the British was also for the sake of sovereignty. However, due to weak military power, Nepal was forced to sign the Treaty of Sugauli in December 1815, handing over the entire territory of Mahakali West to the British. This was confirmed on March 4, 1816, after the signatures of Rajguru Gajraj Mishra and Chandra Shekhar Upadhyay from the Nepali side and Lieutenant Colonel Paris Brads from the British (Company) side.
The treaty stipulated that Nepal should relinquish all the lands west of Mahakali and Mechi that had won the war, that the British representative should be stationed in Kathmandu, that Gorkhali should be recruited into the British army, and that Nepal should be deprived of the right to retain American or European staff. As a result of this abusive treaty, Nepal lost two-thirds of its territory to Darjeeling, Tista in the east, Nainital in the southwest, Kumaon, Gadwal, and Bashar in the west.
One hundred and thirty-four years after the Treaty of Sugauli, on February 19, 1950, the Prime Minister of Nepal, Mohan Shamsher Rana, and the Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, negotiated another treaty. The agreement was signed between Indian Ambassador Chandreshwar Prasad Narayan Singh.
Although Nepal has been expressing disagreement with Articles 2,5,6-7 of this treaty, it seems that the full implementation of some treaty articles can completely change Nepal’s map. The best part of this treaty is Article 8. This will help in building a greater Nepal by revoking all previous treaties and agreements with Nepal. The second good side is Article 1. It helps to return Nepali land while acknowledging Nepal’s sovereignty, geographical integrity, and independence.
In such a situation, there is no justification to negotiate with India by keeping only 51,500 hectares of land and 606 km border dispute in Susta of Nawalparasi and Kalapani area of Darchula as the main problem. The main problem now is the implementation of the 1950 treaty, the second is issue of illegal dams built by India and the third is the trade and transit problem between the two countries. Only by raising these issues collectively with India can the justification of the talks be confirmed.
In particular, the Sugauli Treaty covers the entire territory east of the Kali River and west to north China, including Kalapani, Limpiyadhura, Kuti, Nabhi, Gunji, Chhangaru, Tinker, Susta, Mechi area, Tanakpur, Sandakpur, Pashupatinagar, Hilethori, etc.
Even though it has been clearly stated that all of them belong to Nepal, taking advantage of Nepal’s weakness, India has usurped about 60,627 hectares of land from West Darchula to East Taplejung without any evidence. In addition to this, Nepal is trying to build a 1792-kilometer National Postal Highway connecting West Kanchanpur to East Jhapa in the Belauri section of Kanchanpur and a road from Gaddachauki in Bhimdatta Municipality Ward No. 10 of Kailali to Jimuwa.
In fact, Nepal has not violated its diplomatic dignity by claiming only the territory specified by the Treaty of Sugauli, while the spirit of the Treaty of Sugauli of 1816 has been terminated by the Treaty of 1950. On the other hand, India has taken this as a weakness, asserting its cultural character of expansionism and retaining control over Nepal’s heritage. After the 1950 treaty, parts of Darjeeling and Sikkim, up to Tista in the east, Nainital, Kumaon, Gadwal in the southwest, and Bashar in the west were not given back to Nepal. In such a situation, Nepal could not clarify its argument with India on these issues in time. If this trend is not stopped, it cannot be said that India will not build an east-west highway on about 1850 km of Nepali land in 23 districts of the Terai.
Although it is not allowed to build dams within 12 km of the border as per international law, India has built dams within a short distance. So much so that a dam has been constructed in Ishnath Municipality-1 of Rautahat covering an area of ten thousand yards. India has been taking all the water in the river to itself by violating the international norm of releasing five percent water for animals.
Nepal should be able to move forward for negotiations by gathering historical evidence for the return of pre-treaty territory rather than for the return of territory obtained from the Sugauli Treaty.
In this way, all the water is taken away in winter and all the water is released to Nepal during the rainy season. However, so far India has not shown any interest in holding talks with Nepal on this issue. The right of transit of landlocked nations was established as a natural right by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea in 1988, guaranteeing the freedom of transit to and from the coastal states for the purpose of using the sea.
However, the 1999 transit treaty between Nepal and India has completely curtailed this right. Even though Nepal is naturally rich, the main reason for not being able to earn money is India’s 1999 transit policy with Nepal. The importance of the coastal region for a landlocked nation and its impact can be seen in Switzerland. Switzerland, an economically weaker country than Nepal four decades ago, has emerged as a strong economy globally in a short period of time by providing smooth transit facilities. So, Even as India approaches Nepal in the 21st century, Nepal has remained in the status quo despite being rich in natural resources. In fact, India’s expansionist and encroaching thinking may prove to be wrong if we think that India can easily solve the problem at a time when it has no relations with any of its neighbors.
How can a Greater Nepal be meaningful?
As a landlocked country, Nepal was forced to depend on Indian imports yesterday and still is today. However, India, which has accepted our sovereignty, is taking this compulsion as an opportunity and trying to colonize Nepal by monopolizing Nepal’s geographical, social, economic, political, trade, transit, and water resources.
Despite knowing that the dams built by India and the trade and transit treaty between Nepal and India are against international law, he has been dominating Nepal’s heritage. In order to get rid of the Indian monopoly, the government should be able to move forward on the basis of treaties, agreements, and international norms to get rid of the Indian monopoly.
The Government of Nepal should be able to move forward for negotiations by gathering historical evidence for the return of the territory before the Sugauli Treaty rather than for the return of the territory acquired by Nepal from the Sugauli Treaty. If India is not ready for this, Nepal should be able to solve the problem with the help of international organizations such as the United Nations (Security Council) and the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to protect its territorial integrity and sovereignty. Since the Sugauli Treaty ceased to exist after the 1950 Treaty, both India and Nepal are well aware that the entire territory lost by the Sugauli Treaty should be reclaimed by Nepal.
Because, as long as the old treaty-agreement between the two countries is not deactivated by the new treaty-agreement, it is the duty of the state to continue the work of the previous government. As there was no treaty or agreement from March 4, 1816, and July 30, 1950, the Nepalese territory from East Tista to West Sutlej legally belongs to India.
However, since Article 8 of the 1950 treaty has nullified the Sugauli Treaty of 1816 and 4 March, and since then there has been no treaty or agreement between the two countries, especially since the 1950 treaty is not past but is present. Therefore, the entire territory lost by the Sugauli Treaty in accordance with Article 8 of this treaty confirms that there is still a strong basis for Nepal to get it back. Confirming this further, Pushpa Ranjan, India’s foreign affairs expert and editor of the EU-Asia News Network, in his article published in the Indian newspaper ‘Daily Tribune’ said that before the Sugauli Treaty, areas like Darjeeling and Tista in the east, Nainital in the southwest, Kumaon, Garhwal and Bashar in the west were under Nepal. And after the Sugauli Treaty, Nepal has lost those areas.
In his article, he has also presented the notion that a giant Nepal has been established as the 1950 treaty has repealed all the treaties including Sugauli. He also said that Article 1 of the 1950 treaty recognized the territorial integrity of the two countries, adding that the land from Tista to Sutlej belonged to Nepal and not to India. He confirms that the disputed territories that are currently seen have belonged to Nepal only before 1830 as India has prepared an official document only after 1830.
Therefore, if Nepal raises this issue in the United Nations, it has even presented the idea of becoming a Greater Nepal as per Article 8 of 1950. Even if such a message comes from a foreign expert in India, the Government of Nepal will not be able to move forward with India to resolve major issues such as land, dams, water, trade, and transit. This is not the time to hide who will tie the bell to the cat’s neck, this is the time to fight for rights.
Mahakalipari Sutlej, Kumaon, Gadwal, Dehradun, Nainital, Simla, Mechipari Darjeeling, Sikkim, Mirik, Kharsang, Kalingpung, Siliguri and Tista 70 km away from Nagarkot is the time to return the border of Nepal to Sikkim and Bangladesh.
About 372 square kilometers of Nepali land in Kalapani, Lipulek, and Limpiyadhura, which are seen as a burning problem now, which India is trying to legalize, is just an ivory tusk. In other words, even if the outer teeth talk about the Kalapani region, the inner teeth want to keep the territory obtained from the Sugauli Treaty.
This is because India has a good idea of returning the entire territory lost by the Sugauli Treaty to Nepal as per the 1950 treaty, so India may have resorted to this kind of diplomacy to divert Nepal’s attention elsewhere. As soon as India weakens in the talks, I will leave Susta and Kalapani areas. However, in the current situation, the Government of Nepal should not accept such a proposal.
Yesterday, India managed to take full advantage of the way we were weakened by the easy entry of Indian troops into Nepal by our responsible bodies, by keeping India a witness in every decision of the state, by not denying every influence and pressure from India and by not implementing the treaties and agreements between the two countries.
Of course, learning from that, Nepal must swear not to repeat the mistakes and weaknesses of the past and build a greater Nepal as per the 1950 treaty. For that, the Government of Nepal, political parties, and all Nepalis should talk to India with one voice and one objective.
In the end, we will be worthy of being called the sons of the earth only if we can seriously analyze the various events, phenomena, mistakes, and weaknesses from the past to the present and move beyond party interests for the sake of our national integrity, sovereignty, and independence. If we do not move forward recognizing this golden age of today and protect our sovereignty, integrity, and independence, not only will the dream of building a greater Nepal remain unfulfilled, we will never be able to be forgiven by Mother Nepal and Nepal will cease to exist.