With Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi slated visit Nepal on August 3 to 5, there is hope that the visit would help mitigate India's hegemonic attitude towards Nepal to some extent.
The Indian establishment has long been manipulating Nepal-India relations for long to serve its own vested interest. In this context, it will be simply gullible to expect any significant shift in the orthodox Indian policy vis-a-vis Nepal. However, his visit might help in minimizing distrust dogging the relations between the two countries as Modi is perceived to be positive towards the immediate neighbours of India.
Apart from other political and economic issues, the proposed Power Trade Agreement (PTA) between Nepal and India is going to be featured prominently during the visit.
The draft proposal sent by India regarding the PTA to Nepal in May invited a great deal ofcontroversy. Some of its provisions are craftily orchestrated to block any other foreign country except India from investing in Nepal's hydropower sector.
The stance of the political leadership, which otherwise has been acting as a puppet of New Delhi, that the PTA must also facilitate other countries to invest in the sector is commendable.
Their decision to amend the draft proposal to treat power trade and power production separately and enabling Nepal to sell energy to any other country other than India can also be taken positively.
Investors around the world are desperate to make their foray into Nepal’s hydropower sector but they are apprehensive about the possible market as the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) is resisting from signing new power purchase agreements (PPAs). In this context, only the balanced PTA can be expected to boost up their confidence about their ventures in the sector.
But, the serious question is if the southern neighbour would accept the amendments the Nepali leadership wants in the draft on PTA.
History alludes that Nepal has been blatantly cheated by the southern neighbour on bilateral pacts on water resources.
Unequal, unclear and problematic provisions contained in the Koshi, Gandak or Mahakali treaties attest to this fact.
Through the Mahakali Treaty (1996) India has only captured over 90 percent water of the Mahakali river, thus lampooning the genuine interest of Nepal.
While signing the treaty, India had not only committed to develop Pancheshwor Multipurpose Power Project but also promised as high annual profit as Rs 46 billion to Nepal from it.
Forget about these hollow promises, even the Detailed Project Report (DPR), which was supposed to be prepared within the six months of inking the treaty, has not been prepared so far.