Very recently, the hashtag #BackOffIndia was trending on Twitter. That certainly seems to be the feeling of the majority in Nepal after India unofficially blocked the trade route to its neighbouring country.
Of course, India will not make it official because it is illegal in international law to do this to a country landlocked by all sides.
It is not the first time India has resorted to such tactics against Nepal nor is this a recent cause of provocation in an otherwise, healthy relationship. Having said that, there are undercurrents to bilateral relations which have soured but left simmering just like the equations with Pakistan have been left unresolved to develop into a gangrene.
Since 1950, things have been not quite par even though there has been lot a give and take: economic as well as socio-political hues between the Nepalese citizens who are not too different in their religious and casteiest lineations – something that is reflected in the constitution of the mountainous country over the years.
The immediate provocation and the current outrage is being pinned to the new constitution where the Madhesi tribe – who form 30 % of the population – are being ignored by the three Pahari parties, they claim.
Two weeks into the crisis, the Nepal embassy in India objected to the reportage in Indian media saying this premise was based on wrong facts and the new constitution is anything but that. That argument without specific citations may not cut much ice.
But such claims and counter-claims have been standard fare in the bilateral relations and not too different from any international stand-off on average.
If you try to objectively look at every issue discussed under the sun, as per this Wiki page, government officials and diplomats of each nation have left as much pending on every attempt to come to a solution.
To keep it pertinent to the latest stand-off, it is still important to note the trend since Narendra Modi took over as Indian premier and visited Nepal among his early priorities.
Since 2014, India had a withdrawn hand in its dealings. Though it made its preference on the then-proposed constitution, it also made a $1billion aid agreement and were the first to reach out and help in earthquake relief.
None of the Nepali citizens protested over that, though. They also have not protested when hundreds of thousands got employed and taken refuge in India but refuse to give jobs to a few Indians in their country.
So while the Indian government eased off, which is what the outraged Nepalese wanted, the government went ahead with the constitution changes – the version which India disliked.
Having been challenged naively, India also miscalculated and responded in the way they did.
Bilateral talks rarely achieve much in taking a step forward at a time, but when ignored relations can go hurtling back 10 steps.
While Nepal continues to tackle the crisis with their own understanding and compulsions, it raises a big question mark on India’s foreign affairs, headed by …..
No prizes for guessing that.
When he is not able to contain the rising prices of food as well as pro-Hinduistic forces running amok, Modi has been making foreign trips to all corners of the world.
On the other side, the blockade has forced the hands of those who matter to effect a change of guard. The new prime minister, KP Oli, is a known adversary of India in the past.
An enemy of enemy is a friend.
The fact is that Nepal is suffering hardships something they don’t deserve too. There are reports that $4bn of charity relief money has been lying unused in earthquake relief.
Question is who is a friend now of Nepal and how many enemies have India made with their flawed handling of foreign relations.