Sugauli Treaty loss of Nepal


Sugauli Treaty

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The territorial effects of the Treaty of Sugauli.

The Sugauli Treaty (also spelled Segowlee and Segqulee) was signed on December 2, 1815 and ratified by March 4, 1816, between the British East India Company and Nepal, which was a kingdom during that era. This ended the second British invasion of the Himalayan kingdom during the Anglo-Nepalese War (1814-1816). The signatory for Nepal was Raj Guru Gajaraj Mishra aided by Chandra Sekher Upadhyaya and the signatory for the Company was Lieutenant-Colonel Paris Bradshaw. The treaty called for territorial concessions (areas which Nepal attacked and captured from India) on the part of Nepal, the establishment of a British representative in Kathmandu, and allowed Britain to recruit Gurkhas for military service. Nepal also lost the right to deploy any American or European employee in its service (earlier several French commanders had been deployed to train the Nepali army).

Under the treaty, about one-third of Nepalese territory was lost, including Sikkim (whose Chogyals supported Britain in the Anglo-Nepalese War); territory to west of the Kali River like Kumaon (present Indian state of Uttarakhand), Garhwal (present Indian state of Uttarakhand); some territories to the west of the Sutlej River like Kangra (present day Himachal Pradesh); and much of the Terai Region. Some of the Terai Region was restored to Nepal in 1816 under a revision of the treaty and more territory was returned in 1865 to thank Nepal for helping to suppress the Indian rebellion of 1857.

The British representative in Kathmandu was the first Westerner allowed to live in the kingdom. The first representative was Edward Gardner, who was installed at a compound north of Kathmandu. That site is now called Lazimpat and is home to the British and Indian embassies. The Sugauli Treaty was superseded in December 1923 by a "treaty of perpetual peace and friendship," which upgraded the British resident to an envoy. A separate treaty was signed with India (independent by now) in 1950 which restored fresh relations between the two as independent countries.

Until the Sugauli Sandhi (treaty)

Until the Sugauli Sandhi (treaty) was signed, the territory of Nepal also included Darjeeling, and Tista to the east, Nainital to the south-west and Kumaun, Garwal and Bashahar to the west. However, today these areas are a part of India. As a result, Nepal shares no boundary with Bangladesh now and the two countries are separated by a narrow strip of land about 21 kilometres (13 mi) wide, called the Siliguri Corridor‎ or Chicken's Neck. A huge majority of Nepalese still live there (almost 2 million). Efforts are underway to make this area a free-trade zone.[28] The border dispute between India and Nepal has often been a cause of tension between the two countries.

Unequal Treaty

Sigauli Treaty is known as an unequal treaty because this treaty made Nepal suffered only losses and British India gained a huge territorial advantage. The British got the facilities of corridor in the east and in the west, also it got all the facilities and benefits. No provision of facility and concession was made for Nepal. The territory of Nepal that had been unified and expanded to Teesta in the east, Kangara Fort in the West and nearly to the confluence of Ganga and Jamuna in the south, was curbed on all the three sides. So far as the international treaty is concerned, any treaty should be done on the basis of equality, mutual goodwill and understanding, but the British forced Nepal into the treaty under compulsion and duress. Therefore, experts on international treaty view that Nepal may not be forced to recognize the Sugauli treaty as a sound treaty.

The treaty was not signed willingly by Nepal

1. The British East India Company prepared the draft of the treaty with the signature of Lieutenant Colonel Paris Bradshaw on December 2, 1815. It was sent to Nepal with a 15-day ultimatum for counter-signature and asked to return it to them. Nepal did not like the terms and conditions of the treaty, so it did not sign within that period. The British then spread rumour that they were launching attack on the capital, Kathmandu, and even carried out troop movement to show Nepal that it was serious. When Nepal thought that the attack on the capital was inevitable, it was forced to accept the treaty.

2. As it was a treaty imposed on Nepal, the King and high ranking officials did not want to sign it. But as Nepal was under duress to accept its terms, Chandrashekhar Upadhyaya, who had accompanied Pandit Gajaraj Mishra to the British camp at Sugauli, put his signature on March 4, 1816 and gave it to them.

3. As Nepal had signed the treaty under coercion after 93 days against the 15-day ultimatum, the treaty came into effect from that day.

Validity of the treaty

1. Article 9 of the treaty says that the treaty shall be approved by the King of Nepal, but there isn't any record of the treaty being approved by King Girwana Yuddha Bikram Shah.

2. The British had feared that Nepal might not implement the treaty signed on March 4, 1816 by Chandrashekhar Upadhyaya. Therefore, Governor General David Octerloni, on behalf of the British Government, ratified the treaty the same day and the counterpart treaty was handed over to Upadhyaya.

Therefore, the treaty, which was signed by Chandrashekhar Upadhyaya for Nepal and by Parish Bradshaw for the Company Government, was approved only by Governor General Octerloni. As the treaty was not approved by the King of Nepal, there can be question and curiosity on the legality of the treaty.

Boundary conflict

As the treaty was not clear about the boundary delimitation, its effects have persisted even to the present time:

1. The treaty failed to mention clearly in so many sections where the borderline would actually pass through. There have been problems in demarcating the boundary line and in erecting border pillars at several places. Now the area of such disputed places has been estimated at around 60,000 hectares. In many of these areas, there are still claims, counter-claims, discussions, controversies and arguments from both sides.

2. The result is that even today there are accusations of encroachment and disputes at 54 places of the Nepal-India borderline. The prominent areas have been identified as Kalapani- Limpiyadhura, Susta, Mechi area, Tanakpur, Sandakpur, Pashupatinagar, Hile Thori etc.


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