Indo Nepal Joint Action Forum is a working group for joint interventions in matters of trans-boundary issues concerning people and their environment, human rights, social justice and public affairs.
Nepal-India relations are historical but with the rising development needs of both sides’ discussion and interaction among scholars and intellectuals of both the countries will lead to a courteous relation that has existed from long. As two friendly neighbours, the need is also to understand each other & respect national interests, constraints and strengthen dialogues. We should try to be open with each other and express our concerns and hopes in our relationship so that it strengthens the age old links between the people of our two nations. Nepal-India relationship is too important just to be left to the whims of increasingly turbulent international order as both countries are strategic to one another from point of view of security, sustainability and interdependence.
Nepal is a sovereign and independent nation. It has remained so in the past even when most of Asia was in the clutches of a colonial empire. It is proud of this heritage and it wants to preserve it as the single most precious gift to the future generation. Preserving its integrity, self -respect and national independence is the vital element of Nepali national interest. On this point both Nepal and India are happily on the same wavelength. India has always remained a steadfast and staunch supporter of Nepal & respects its sovereignty and independence and it is this commitment that forms the most important pillar of our trust and friendship.
There relations between India and Nepal are also somewhat formalised through several treaties viz. Friendship treaty of 1950, The Mahakali Treaty of 1996 and the Kosi Agreement and several open border inter-community trade linkages. The reality also is that Nepal is a land locked country with India on one hand and China on the other, therefore becoming a natural strategic important geography. These treaties have remained contentious due to lack of regular confidence building measures between people of two nations at all levels. Diplomatic contacts, which have its own limitations and ups and downs have solely been the determinants of bilateral relations between the two countries.
The people of the two countries have felt the pressing need to have more joint forums, which can specifically address variety of concerns through participatory approach and have shared solutions. Therefore, the joint working group is based on the belief that people to people contact can smoothen the relations and locate the areas where more efforts are required.
A technology which can be used as an information sharing tool, community based work monitoring and evaluation platform or binding a theme together which can take shape of a programme that can reach to wider audience are few examples it offers as solutions. The first use of this technology was initiated in Mahendranagar (Nepal) in the aftermath of Uttarakhand Deluge of 2013 when several thousands of Nepali porters servicing the pilgrims in the Kedarnath valley along with others went untraceable and there was no information about them. Environics Trust in 1996 (then Academy for Mountain Environics) had done a survey of porters in Kedarnath valley, of those who carry people to the shrine. This is a kind of ritual that has carried on since then. To help trace the missing or untraceable nepali migrants, the idea of this voice server was implemented. The Nepal Embassy in New Delhi also appreciated the idea and offered help at the local level through CDOs.
The methodology is simple but the prompts have to be set right in order to create a welcome environment for the visitor to listen, understand and respond or select the menu. Maintenance is yet another important aspect which require consistent connectivity issues, error resolutions and resetting the prompt as and when the problem is noticed. The recorded message is moderated at the back end to classify messages based on location, issue, priority etc. but the essence of message has to be captured. In case the message is unclear or there is disturbance, the caller can be contacted for resubmission of message. So it is a two way system by which the moderator is also in touch with the caller for seeking clarification and linking people who can follow up the issue. The unique feature of the programme is its call back functionality.