Policy dialogue held on small-scale aid in borderland and cross-border ties

NL Today

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Kathmandu: Centre for Social Inclusion and Federalism (CESIF) on Friday organized a round table discussion on ‘Small Scale Aid in Borderlands and Cross-border Ties’, reflecting on two of its publications: Dynamics of Small-Scale Foreign Aid in Nepal’s Borderlands and Evolving Nepal-China Cross Border Relations and Its Impact on Borderland Citizens.

CESIF Executive Chair Vijay Kant Karna reflected in his opening remarks the importance of research on Nepal’s trade and border relations with China and India.

Madhav Sapkota, Member of Infrastructure Development Committee (HoR), Samjhana Thapaliya, Member of International Relations and Tourism Committee (HoR), Former Secretary Krishna Gyawali, Former Secretary Lal Shankar Ghimire and Secretary of Ministry, Commerce and Supplies, Madhu Marasini were the prominent speakers during the discussion.

Presenting the findings on “Dynamics of Small-Scale Foreign Aid in Nepal’s Borderlands,”Milan Acharya, a researcher at CESIF, said that China’s small-scale aid focuses solely on the northern frontier districts bordering Tibet. Of late, India’s small scale aid and projects have increased in the northern region. The research found that China has a tendency to override state mechanisms and procedures and its small-scale aid is unregulated compared to that of India’s.

Sharing the findings of the research “Evolving Nepal-China Cross Border Relations and Its Impact on Borderland Citizens,” Prabisha Basnet, a researcher at CESIF said, “The Dalai Lama issue remains a major obstacle. Unilateral border closures, stringent checks, and declining trade also impacted cross-border marriages and cultural exchanges.”

The dialogue brought together diverse views from the parliamentarians and experts. Former Secretary Krishna Gyawali said that although small aid assistance is very important, its sustainability after departure of donors’ funding also needs to be taken into account. He saw lobbying from politicians as the most important factor for small scale funds at the local level. Secretary Gyawali noted that the objective of small scale aid must be aligned with national interest, with appropriate monitoring, operation maintenance and accountability mechanism. Former Secretary Lal Shankar Ghimire expressed his concern on Nepal having an agreement with Tibet, a province of China instead of its central government.