Mains Practice Question


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What is the significance of the India-Nepal relationship? Discuss the key difficulties and prospects in the India-Nepal border dispute.
A Simple Introduction about India-Nepal Relationship

India and Nepal enjoy a robust friendship and cooperation founded on an open border and deep-seated familial and cultural ties. Nepal shares a border spanning over 1850 kilometres with five Indian states: Sikkim, West Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, and Uttarakhand. Extensive defence cooperation is a hallmark of the relationship between India and Nepal. The Government of India's development assistance to Nepal is comprehensive, focusing on grassroots infrastructure development. Projects encompass infrastructure, healthcare, water resources, education, rural, and community development. Cooperation in water resources, particularly involving shared rivers, is a pivotal area of bilateral collaboration. Since 1971, India and Nepal have maintained a Power Exchange Agreement to fulfil their power requirements along the border, leveraging each other’s transmission facilities.


It is the central part of the answer and one should understand the demand of the question to provide rich content.

The territorial dispute revolves around a 372-square-kilometer area encompassing Limpiadhura, Lipulekh, and Kalapani at the India-Nepal-China trijunction in Uttarakhand’s Pithoragarh district. Nepal asserts historical and evident ownership of these lands.

Genesis of the Issue

  • The Treaty of Sugauli, concluding the Anglo-Nepalese War of 1814-16, led to Nepal ceding territory to the East India Company. Article 5 of the treaty removed Nepal’s rulers’ sovereignty over the land east of the Kali River.
  • British Surveyor General of India's maps from 1819, 1821, 1827, and 1856 depicted the Kali River as originating near Limpiadhura.
  • A map issued in 1879 referred to the river in the local language as "Kuti Yangti."
  • However, the last map printed by the British before their departure from India in 1947 depicted the Kali River’s source near Limpiadhura.
  • Until 1962, villages in this area, including Gunji, Nabhi, Kuti, and Kalapani (also known as Tulsi Nyurang and Nabhidang), were included in Nepal government censuses, with villagers paying land revenue to the Kathmandu government. However, this changed during the conflict between India and China that year.


The ending of the answer should be on a positive note and it should have a forward-looking approach.

Resolving this dispute peacefully and through historical evidence is crucial for maintaining the strong relationship between India and Nepal. Their long-standing cooperation in various sectors,  including defense, development, water resources, and power exchange, makes a collaborative solution even more important.


Other Points to Consider 

Map work: Limpiadhura, Lipulekh, and Kalapani

Treaty of Sugauli

Anglo-Nepalese War


Previous Year Questions

1. India is an age-old friend of Sri Lanka.’ Discuss India’s role in the recent crisis in Sri Lanka in the light of the preceding statement. (2022)
2. The USA is facing an existential threat in the form of China, that is much more challenging than the erstwhile Soviet Union.” Explain. (2021)


21-May 2024