Friday, 8 August 2014
Nepal visit by NAMO
INDO-NEPAL RELATIONS: VISIT OF NAMO Indian Prime minister Shri Narendra Modi ( I prefer to call him NAMO as its more catchy & gives a sense of personal touch) visited Kathmandu on 3-4 August 2014. It has been a historical event in context of Indo-Nepal relations. Media & experts in both countries gave an extensive coverage to this visit giving all the positive side of it. What, however, was missed by most, was why it took an Indian PM so long to visit this strategically important neighbor? The last visit was 17 years back by IK Gujral who himself had a sort stint as PM. Nepal always had a fascination for me since 60s.While in Army and later in Special Frontier Force, when I was handling a special operation in Arunachal Pradesh, travel from Delhi to the rail head- Tinsukhia or Dibrugarh in Assam was in it self a mission, These two stations were the take off point for Siang, Lohit and Tirap districts of Arunachal Pradesh. In those days there was only one train ie. Assam Mail running between Delhi to Tinsukhia/Dibrugarh involving almost 3 days. The Broad gauge was only up to Barauni Jn & beyond it was meter gauge. The train between Barauni to Tinsukhia used to run under the command of the Army with the Senior most officer travelling acted as the Train –in-charge. The stations between Barauni till final destination had special attraction of foreign goods smuggled from Nepal. The wanders on stations, carrying imported items like Chinese fountain pens, cut pieces of trouser and shirt cloth etc. would sell their goods to travelers and even take advance orders for any particular item for next trips. During the visit of our daughter and son-in-law in December,2013, we suddenly decided to go on vacation to some new place and Kathmandu propped up as the best option. Our stay in Kathmandu was more than rewarding. We enjoyed every bit of our stay and found people very friendly, hospitable and helpful. We also happened to come across few retired soldiers of Gorkha Rifles Regiments of Indian Army who were too respectful and eager to help. We also spent few days at Pokhara- another fascinating town of Nepal. Why UPA Government at Delhi did not give required importance to Indo-Nepal on its part. can only be called a misplaced diplomatic priority, which NAMO has tried to bring back on line. Nepal is not only a buffer state between India and Tibet (now China) but have many things in common. Since majority population in both countries are Hindus, our historical,religious and cultural sentiments are entwined very deep. Besides,a large number of Nepali nationals are working in India with sizable number in Defense forces. Nepal has huge natural assets as most of the rivers flowing in Nepal from China finally feed our rivers as well. I have already given an account of it in my previous blog on “our most revered river- GANGA.”. On the whole, a master stroke by NAMO. I only hope all the decisions taken during his visit to Nepal are implemented on ground as well and soon. By the way some tips for those who plan to visit Kathmandu in near future- a. Fly from Delhi to Kathmandu on a clear day and try to get window seat on the left side of the air craft. This will give you lovely view of the Himalaya and its many snow clad peaks. On return flight, sit on right side. b. Try stay in Thamel which is central place of Kathmandu town with all the activities through out day & night c. Must try Nepali local beer. Popular brands are “ GORKHA” & “EVEREST” d. If interested in genuine Khukhari, purchase it from the authorized Nepal Khukhari shop in Thamel run by a retired Colonel of Nepal Army. e. If travelling in winter & wish to purchase jackets, coat parkas, wind cheaters etc, better get in Kathmandu. There are shops dealing genuine mountaineering equipments including American North Face brands Lastly, do get a travel guide book on Nepal & browse on inter-net various sites like trip advisor etc for more details.