Half a century ago, in 1950, a treaty called the "Peace and Friendship Treaty" was concluded between Nepal and India. The 10-point treaty was signed on behalf of Nepal by the last Rana Prime Minister, Mohan Shamsher Jang Bahadur Rana and, on behalf of India by the Indian ambassador to Nepal, Chandreswar Prasad Narayan, on 31 July 1950 (16 Srawan, 2007 v.s.) (See Appendix I for the text of the treaty). Along with the treaty (generally known as "The 1950 Treaty"), letters of exchange were also drawn up between the two countries. These letters regulated the implementation of the treaty and also added additional agreements on other subjects (See Appendix II for the letter of exchange text).
Said to be a treaty of peace and friendship, in reality this treaty is a black mark upon the name of peace and friendship. For Nepal it is humiliating and unequal. It is harmful to Nepal's sovereignty, independence, security, national integrity and well-being. These claims have been put forth from the very beginning by the patriotic forces and people of Nepal, who have come forth calling for the treaty to be revoked, and have struggled in this cause The Indian rulers just liberated from British colonial rule, continuing the policies and attitudes of that very colonial power, forced the treaty upon Nepal by way of the last Prime Minister of the collapsing Rana regime. To the present day the Indian ruling class has held to that policy. And in Nepal too, no government formed after 1950 has taken a step—none has been capable of taking a step—to revoke the treaty. This displays clearly the character of both countries' reactionary rulers—the expansionist character of Indian rulers, and the anti-national, agentist and capitulationist character of Nepali rulers. But Nepal's patriotic forces have waged a continuous movement for revocation of the treaty.
What are the Main Elements of The 1950 Treaty ? And Why Revoke It ?
Why do Nepal's patriotic forces demand revocation of the 1950 Treaty? Are we opponents of Nepal-India friendship? Are we opponents of India? No. We are on the side of peace and friendship between Nepal and India and wish to further such a relation. Nor are we opponents of India and the Indian people. We support the revolutionary movement of the Indian people against the Indian ruling class, but at the same time we wish to establish a relation with India based on peaceful co-existence. Thus opposition to the 1950 Treaty and demand for its revocation are not opposed to a wish to establish friendly relations between Nepal and India, nor are these stances opposed to India itself. Rather, it is essential to revoke the treaty precisely in order to lay a genuine foundation-stone upon which Nepal-India friendship can be developed. Demand for revocation of the treaty is motivated not by opposition to India but by the goal that Nepal stand as a fully sovereign and independent nation. Understood in this light it will be clear that demand for revocation of the treaty is only in opposition to the hegemonic and expansionist policy of the Indian ruling class, or to Indian expansionism.
How is the 1950 Treaty in opposition to Nepal's sovereignty, independence and well-being? Why is the treaty unequal for Nepal? Why is it oppressive and bitter for Nepal, though made in the name of friendship? A general examination of the treaty and its attached letters of exchange make these things clear.
Articles 2, 6 and 7 of the treaty are of a type that have very serious consequences. Article 2 states that if, due to any serious rift or friction with a neighbouring country, there appears to be a possibility of a breach in the friendly relations persisting between the two countries (Nepal and India), both governments vow to take responsibility for mutually informing one another. This Article, formulated with the post-revolutionary People's Republic of China in mind, reflects an oppositional mentality toward China. The fact that Nepal was not informed during the Indo-Pakistani wars shows clearly that, in India's own case, this Article was not observed.
It can be seen that this provision of the treaty sought to prepare the ground for a military alliance between Nepal and India, and to place Nepal under an Indian "security umbrella". Displayed in this is India's ambition and strategy of setting itself up as the hegemonic power in the entire South Asian region. In this connection there are yet more dangerous points contained in the letters of exchange attached to the treaty.
In Point 1 of the letters of exchange it is stated that neither country will tolerate any threat to the security of the other due to foreign aggression. To resolve any such danger, by means of mutual consultations, the two countries will devise effective counter-measures. This amounts, in effect, to a military alliance.1 Moreover, for Nepal, situated between its two huge neighbours, to conclude such a treaty with one of them is naturally taken as the formation of an allied front against the other neighbour.
In Point 2 it is stated that Nepal will import from Indian soil with Indian assistance and approval, the arms, ammunition, war materials or essential items that are necessary to its security. By means of this provision it was sought to close off the possibility of bringing in materials essential to Nepali security from anywhere except Indian soil.• and it has been so interpreted. It is under cover of this provision of the letters of exchange that the secret 1965 agreement was made. And on that basis, when Nepal bought arms from China during the Panchayat era, in protest India went so far as to impose an economic embargo.
In Point 5 it is stated that neither country will employ any foreigner who might affect the security of the other. This too is an attempt to impose Indian expansionism's security perception upon Nepal. It also deals a direct and deep hatchet blow to Nepal's sovereign right to take its own decisions in its capacity as an independent nation. On the basis of this point, for example, India opposed the decision to give China the contract for construction of the Kohalpur-Banbasa portion of the East-West highway, and indeed it was subsequently given to India.
In Article 6 of the treaty it is stated that both countries will accord national treatment to subjects of the other for purposes of their participation in industrial and economic development or development-related concessions and contracts, as a sign of the friendly neighbourly feelings between the two countries. Similarly, in Article 7 it is written that within their own state territories the governments of Nepal and India promise to accord reciprocally on an equal basis rights of residence, property ownership, participation in business and commerce, movement, and other such privileges. Although this provision—for Nepal to accord Indians rights just like those of Nepalis and for India to accord Nepalis rights just like those of Indians within their respective territories—looks like equal treatment, in fact it is gross inequality in the name of equality.
was some Nepali text here What must be paid attention to here is the fact that in comparison to India, in terms of both size and population, Nepal is extremely small, and in terms of level of development there is also a great difference between the two countries. In this situation there is no possibility that the privileges given to Nepalis in India could earn them an equal place in competing with Indians. Rather, Nepalis in India will be able to attain only to doing manual labour, becoming coolies and guards, and living out ordinary lives. But by giving those same privileges to Indians in Nepal, they will be able to succeed in seizing control of Nepal's industry, commerce and its entire economy. If, for example, Indians are given the right to buy property, Indian capitalists have the capacity to buy the whole of Nepali lands. In contrast, even if the entire population of a small country like Nepal were to enter India, it would not interfere with India's nationality, internal peace, social security or development. But if just 1 or 2% of India's population enters Nepal with privileges of residence, property ownership, and economic activity, it will not merely interfere with Nepal's internal peace, social security and development process, ultimately it will do away with Nepal's status as an independent nation, its national autonomy will be crushed. The Nepali people will not be sovereign within Nepal; Nepal's sovereignty will be in danger.
In the third point of the letters of exchange it is stated that for some time India will protect Nepalis from the unlimited competition with Indians within Nepal that is provided for by the treaty provision that accords citizens of each country national treatment by the other. It is just stated that such protection will be accorded "for some time"; there is no clarification of how long that may be. In this situation India can at any time make the argument that the period of protection is now over. Moreover, that protection applies only to the privileges provided for in Article 6 of the treaty. That leaves the provision of privileges of national treatment that are given in Article 7 for India to use or demand unconditionally.
2 According to Point 4 of the letters of exchange, if Nepal wants to take special assistance for the development of Nepal's natural resources or for any industrial project, should another foreigner and the Indian government or an Indian citizen make equal bids, Nepal must give priority to the Indian bid. On the one hand this displays Indian expansionism's desire to consolidate Nepal's natural resources under its exclusive control and keep Nepal's economy under its own lock and key. On the other hand it devaluates Nepal's sovereign right to decide whose assistance to take or not take, and whose work to accept or refuse.
Yet it is also the case that some of the articles of the treaty have still not been fully applied. It can still appear that at present, by giving Nepalis somewhat greater facilities, the treaty works on behalf of Nepal. But Indians will and are demanding the privileges given by the treaty and its attached letters of exchange. When Nepal was establishing the •Country Code•?was Muluki Ain? If so fix•, 2020 v.s., the Citizenship Act, 2020 v.s., the Land reform Act, 2021 v.s. and other laws, India opposed them as violations of the 1950 Treaty. Thus the provisions of the treaty are not merely unequal, they are so seriously harmful that ultimately they will imperil the independent existence of the country itself. Viewed in this light, the main elements of the 1950 Treaty and its attached letters of exchange are the following:
(i) It was prepared as part of the overall design of bringing Nepal under the security umbrella of India. It seeks to position Nepal as a nation in military alliance with India. This has dealt a blow to Nepal's sovereign existence and independence.
(ii) The 1950 Treaty acts to impose decisions or interfere in decisions that are subjects for Nepal to decide itself in its capacity as a sovereign and independent nation. From such matters as who to employ or not employ, who to take assistance from or not, or where to obtain arms, to the creation of legal regulations to be applied within one's own country, the treaty has produced obstructions. Thus the treaty has acted to block Nepal's sovereignty and has become the basis for maintaining Indian expansionism's political hegemony over Nepal.
(iii) Nepal endures extremely unequal treatment in the name of equality through the arrangements for each country to accord equal treatment to the other's citizens in all matters of industry, business, trade, property ownership, residence, and employment. This has negative effects on Nepal's peace, social security, people's livelihoods and overall development. Its impact is not limited to this, but produces the danger that Nepalis will become foreigners within their own country and, ultimately, that Nepal's independent existence itself will be done away with.
In these ways the 1950 Treaty and its attached letters of exchange represent the security stance of Indian expansionism and the interests of the Indian ruling class in maintaining political hegemony over Nepal, subjugating Nepal economically and creating a monopoly market for India through the described special relation between the two countries. For these reasons India's expansionist rulers want to maintain the treaty just as it is. It is not for Nepal to subsist under anyone's security umbrella. Nor is it for Nepal to have a "special relation" with anyone. It is for Nepal to take the high road, standing as a sovereign and independent nation, developing a self-reliant economy. And so, for Nepal the treaty is humiliating, unequal and detrimental. For these reasons Nepali patriots have been raising a continuous call for revocation of the treaty, struggling for its revocation. The Nepali people also say: After revoking the current treaty, according to needs let another treaty be made—one based on mutual respect and equality. This struggle between expansionism and independence has being going on for a long time.
Revocation not Review
In this context the CPN(UML) government of 1994-95 placed a proposal for review of the treaty before the Indian government. While our party took that proposal as a positive one, we made clear that it is not a matter of review—the treaty must be revoked. The party statement on this matter made clear that because the described special relation and expansionist hegemony, not friendship and equality, are the foundation-stone of the treaty, revision is not sufficient—the treaty must be completely revoked. Expansionist and slave mentalities must be completely destroyed. The proposal for review was called positive only in the sense that it is the first time that a formal proposal has been put forth at the governmental level expressing a lack of desire on the part of a Nepali government to keep the treaty just as it is. If talk of review is raised in honesty, ultimately the path of complete revocation will have to be taken. The threatening opinions expressed by the press and writers close to the Indian government—that because the treaty contains no provision for revision it can be revoked at Nepal's wish—have already shown that the situation is one in which the path of revocation must be taken. From the outset our party made clear that if the CPN(UML) government was not raising the issue merely as a formality and in order to deceive the Nepali people, then it would have to take determined steps for revocation. After the fall of the CPN (UML) government, other governments- even the gevernment of Nepali Congress are also talking of reviewing he treaty. But they do not seem to be serious about their own proposal. Thus it remains just as necessary far all patriots to unitedly push for the revocation of the treaty.
The Argument for Letting the Treaty Lie Dormant Serves Expansionism
The argument is put forth that because the 1950 Treaty is now moribund and inactive it should not be brought into agenda. If the treaty is indeed moribund and inactive, then why carry its corpse, which will only make us all the more psychologically subjugated? In actuality the talk of the treaty being dead and inactive is not in accord with reality. The influence of this treaty is apparent in the ongoing problems of the uncontrolled, unregulated open border, unchecked entry, the constant flow of undocumented Indians, migration and employment. The situations in which India has opposed work permits, put on pressure to give the Kohalpur-Banbasa road contract to India, even imposed an economic embargo as a form of "process of opposition" when Nepal was buying arms from China—all these are still fresh. Even in those matters where the treaty has not been applied in practice, India periodically voices its opposition and, calling the treaty the main basis of Nepal-India relations, demands that the treaty be followed to the letter.
What needs to be given sufficient attention here is this: if the treaty were really moribund and inactive, then why would Indian rulers show their displeasure and make threats when the topic of its revocation, or even just its revision, is raised? Why would they want to maintain the treaty just as it is? It is clear that the treaty is continuing even now to act as the protector of Indian expansionism's interests. If it can be yet more completely activated, that will fulfill more of the Indian rulers' desires. And so, those who put forth the argument that because the treaty is already moribund and inactive it should not be stirred to life are, knowingly or unknowingly, acting in the service of Indian expansionism.
Courageous Steps Must be Taken for the Sake of National Independence
How much may our current problems be increased as the natural result of revocation of the treaty? And how disadvantageous for us may be the conduct that Indian rulers may display in a process of revocation? Are we capable of enduring it? There has been much discussion of questions like these too. Some people are genuinely worried about these matters, and so they express their doubts: 'Perhaps it would be better not to go for revocation...?'. Others seek to use the fear created by this line of thinking as a coat of armour to cover up their own agentist natures.
In this context, for us the first and overarching question is this: Do we want Nepal to stand as a sovereign, independent nation or not? If we do want this, then we must be prepared to give up any current benefits or facilities as part of the price of real sovereignty and independence, and this is so whether the natural consequences of revocation are responsible for such austerities, or whether they result from Indian rulers intentionally trying to impose excessive hardships on us. For example, after revocation of the treaty a situation could be created in which those Nepalis living and working in India will experience additional lack of facilities or may be obliged to return to Nepal. We must be ready to arrange employment and shelter for Nepalis inside Nepal. As we take steps to oppose her expansionist interests, India can also create other immediate complications for us. We must be prepared for that too.
If we are to fulfill our desire to survive in sovereignty and independence, sooner or later this situation will come about. And so we must be capable of taking courageous steps in time. Let us not later repent after letting the time for nation building slip away. We must be able to show that whatever hardships may arise, the Nepali people are ready to liberate their own nation from subjugation and are capable of taking their own country forward on a progressive path, establishing friendly relations with all other countries only on the basis of equality, and engaging in mutually beneficial exchanges. In reality it is only in this way that a strong foundation for nation building can be established.
Secondly, it must be understood that the demand for revocation of the treaty is not opposed to sovereignty, independence and just benefits for India; it is for the sake of our national sovereignty and benefits for our nation. It is the weakness of Nepal's reactionary rulers that they do not set out these matters clearly and move forward in the direction of developing relations on a new basis. For all the negative consequences of India's expansionist policy, our national independence is oppressed by the "India phobia" of our rulers. The capitulationist policy of our reactionary rulers, who seek to prop up their governments by gaining the support and confidence of imperialists and expansionists rather than governing based on the trust and strength of the people, bears much of the responsibility for the situation that Nepal is in. If steps are taken for the sake of Nepal's sovereignty, independence and well-being—revoking the treaty according to its own provision and proposing that another friendship treaty be made—in the present age it will not be so easy for India to exhibit contrary behaviour either. A close relationship with Nepal is also a necessity for India.
Thirdly, in India there is not only the ruling class, there are also the justice-loving Indian peoples. We must call on them to support us in our campaign to revoke the 1950 Treaty. To some extent such opinion has already appeared in India. Close friendly people-to-people relations will also pressure the reactionary rulers to establish friendly relations on the basis of equality.
CPN (Unity Centre)
12 Phalgun, 2051 v.s.
Translated with minor revision
June, 2000 A.D.
Treaty of Peace and Friendship Between the Government of Nepal and the Government of India
Signed at Kathmandu and Brought into Effect, 31 July, 1950.
The Government of Nepal and the Government of India, recognizing the cordial relations that have persisted between the countries for centuries;
Desiring yet further to strengthen and develop these relations and to perpetuate the unbroken peace between the two countries;
Have resolved to enter into a treaty of peace and friendship with each other, and have for this purpose appointed the following persons:
For the Government of Nepal, Sri 3 Maharaj Mohan Shamsher Jang Bahadur Rana, Prime Minister and Commander-in-Chief, Nepal.
For the Government of India, Indian Ambassador to Nepal, His Excellency Sri Chandresvar Prasad Narayan Singh
Who, having inspected one another's credentials and found them to be correct and in order, agree to the following articles:
Article 1: There shall be everlasting peace and friendship between the Government of Nepal and the Government of India. Both governments agree mutually to acknowledge and respect the complete sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of the other.
Article 2: Both governments undertake to inform each other should any major rift or friction with any neighbouring nation appear likely to cause a breach in the friendly relations subsisting between the two governments.
Article 3: To establish and perpetuate the relation referred to in Article 1, the two governments agree to maintain diplomatic relations with each other by means of representatives along with such staff as necessary for proper performance of their duties.
Those representatives and their agreed upon staff will be mutually granted all those diplomatic privileges and immunities customarily accorded by international law. Under no circumstances will the privileges accorded on this basis be less, in the case of either government, than the rights accorded to persons of equal status of any other nation with whom the government has diplomatic relations.
Article 4: The two governments mutually agree to appoint Consul-Generals, Consuls, Vice-Consuls and other consular representatives who will reside in agreed upon cities, ports and other places. Consul-Generals, Consuls, Vice-Consuls and other consular representatives will be given executors or other valid authorization papers of their appointment. Such exequaturs or authorization papers can be withdrawn by the issuing country if it deems it necessary. In such cases, as far as possible the reasons for withdrawal will be indicated. The persons mentioned above will enjoy on a reciprocal basis all the rights, privileges, exemptions and immunities accorded to persons of equal status of any other country.
Article 5: The Government of Nepal has the right to import from the territory of India or through its territory those arms, ammunition and materials needed for its security. The procedure for putting this arrangement into effect will be decided upon by the two governments through mutual consultation.
Article 6: As a symbol of Nepal and India's friendly, neighbourly feelings, both governments agree to accord national treatment to subjects of the other government who are within their territories with regard to participation in industrial and economic development, and in concessions and contracts related to such development.
Article 7: The Government of Nepal and the Government of India agree reciprocally to accord to subjects of the other government who are within their territory equal privileges in matters of residence, ownership of property, participation in business and commerce, movement, and other such privileges.
Article 8: Insofar as matters dealt with here are concerned, this treaty cancels all treaties, agreements and engagements entered into on behalf of India by the British Government and Nepal.
Article 9: This treaty will come into effect from the date on which it is signed by both governments.
Article 10: This treaty will remain in effect so long as neither country seeks to end it by giving one year's notice.
Signed by both parties in Kathmandu on the 16th day of Srawan in the year Bikram Samvat 2007, or the 31st day of July in the year 1950 A.D.
Letter of Exchange Relating to the Treaty of Peace and Friendship Between the Government of Nepal and the Government of India.
31 July, 1950
Having concluded the Peace and Friendship Treaty and the Business and Commerce Treaty between Nepal and India, by means of this letter we now express our agreement on certain other subjects to regulate the treaties.
1. Neither country will tolerate danger to the security of either country due to foreign aggression. In order to resolve any such danger, through mutual consultations, the two countries will determine effective counter-measures.
2. With the assistance and approval of India, Nepal will import from Indian territory arms, ammunition or war materials and essential goods necessary for the security of Nepal. The Indian government will provide easy transport arrangements for such arms and ammunition.
3. In relation to the provision of Article 6 of the treaty to provide national treatment, for some time India will give protection to Nepalis from unlimited competition within Nepal. The two governments will determine the nature and conditions of such protection.
4. If Nepal wishes to take foreign assistance in the development of natural resources or any industrial project, should another foreign and the Government of India or an Indian citizen make equal bids, the Nepali government must give priority to the Government of India and Indian citizen. This will not affect assistance from the United Nations or special agencies.
5. Neither country will employ any foreigner who might affect the security of the other. In times of necessity either country will represent the other.
Excellency, with the utmost respect I request your approval.
Mohan Shamsher Jang Bahadur Rana
Maharaj, Prime Minister
Supreme Commander, Nepal
N.B. An identical letter addressed to Mohan Shamsher J.B.R. as the representative of the Government of Nepal and signed by Chandresvar Prasad Narayan Singh on behalf of the Government of India was written and presented at the same time.