Bridges of Peace: The case of Pithoragarh and Nepal

April 29, 2022

The bordering districts of India and Nepal share close cultural and traditional relationships nurtured by the communities on both sides that depend on each other for their livelihoods. The vibrant border markets and the thriving informal cross-border trade are the testimonies.

Since ancient times, India and Nepal hold a special relationship in terms of historical ties, culture, economy, trade and connectivity, defence cooperation, and humanitarian assistance. Nepal shares its border with five Indian states, viz. Bihar, Sikkim, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal spanning over 1,850 kilometres. Both countries share an open border, facilitating uninterrupted and regular movements of people, goods, and services for personal, commercial and emergency purposes. In the financial year 2020-21, their bilateral trade was around 606 billion Rs ($8 billion), with Rs 550 billion ($7.23 billion) exports from India to Nepal and Rs 56 billion ($736 million) exports from Nepal to India.

Besides the friendly relationship that exists between India and Nepal at the governmental and business levels, there exists a much closer community relationship at the local level. Such people-to-people connections help the locals in exploring better livelihood opportunities through social functions/marriages, hospitality and emergency services. It is estimated that more than 7 million Nepalese people work in various parts of India and hundreds of marriages take place between them each year.