Anglo-Nepal Commercial Treaty of 1792 A.D.

Introduction

The Anglo-Nepal Commercial Treaty of 1792 A.D. was the first official agreement between the British East India Company and Nepal. It was signed on 1st March 1792 A.D., with Rana Bahadur Shah representing Nepal and Jonathan Duncan, the Governor of Bombay, representing the British East India Company.

This treaty opened up the markets of Nepal to the British East India Company, allowing them to engage in trade. It also established rules and regulations for their commercial interactions.

Political Background of the Anglo-Nepal Commercial Treaty of 1792 A.D.

The Commercial Treaty of 1792 A.D. was signed by both governments because it offered clear political and commercial benefits. It wasn’t just a commercial agreement; it also showed political solidarity and an alliance between the two parties.

Political Relations before 1792 A.D.

Before the Commercial Treaty of 1792 A.D. , the relationship between the British East India Company and Nepal was intense, especially during Prithvi Narayan Shah‘s Unification Campaign. Nepal had adopted a policy of retaliation and abstinence against the Company Government.

Nepal even defeated the Expedition of Kinloch, who had tried to assist Jaya Prakash Malla. As a result, the British East India Company wanted to improve its relations with Unified Nepal for commercial and political purposes. To achieve this, they launched several friendly expeditions to Nepal.

However, a state of rivalry arose when the Western Kings, who lost their kingdoms during Bahadur Shah‘s unification efforts, started opposing him. To prevent uprisings from the petty kings of the West and to obtain weapons, Bahadur Shah actively contacted the Company Government.

They also aimed to resolve border disputes in Tirhut and Champaran, which would lead to a closer relationship between the two parties.

Negotiations of The Treaty

General Cornwallis, the then Governor of the British East India Company, wanted to establish commercial connections between India, Tibet, and Nepal. To achieve this, he requested Abdul Ibrahim and Gajaraja Mishra to contact the Palace of Nepal and assist in fulfilling the treaty.

On the other hand, Bahadur Shah of Nepal wanted military assistance from the British Government to expedite his Unification Campaign. There were growing tensions between Tibet and Nepal, which further pushed Bahadur Shah to seek a treaty.

However, some courtiers in Nepal were against obtaining military assistance from the British Government. Despite this opposition, Nepal ultimately agreed to sign the Commercial Treaty of 1792 A.D.

Provisions of the Anglo-Nepal Commercial Treaty of 1792 A.D.

The Anglo-Nepal Commercial Treaty, signed on March 1st, 1792 A.D., aimed to facilitate Indian trade expansion to Nepal, Tibet, and China. The main provisions of the treaty were:

1. A 2.5 percent customs duty was imposed on goods imported by traders from both countries.

2. Goods taken to any part of both countries could not be subjected to customs duty more than once.

3. If officials from either country collected excessive customs duties in violation of the treaty, they would be penalized by their respective governments.

4. In case the goods of merchants from both countries were lost or stolen in either country, the country where the incident occurred was responsible for compensating the affected merchants and punishing the criminals.

5. Any violence or repression occurring between merchants of both countries would be investigated, and strict punishment would be given to the culprits.

6. If customs duty was imposed on the border of one country, it could not be charged again if the trade involved a third country.

7. The treaty aimed to avoid disputes between the governments and the people of the British East India Company and Nepal.

Analysis of The Treaty

India proposed the Anglo-Nepal Commercial Treaty of 1792 A.D. to expand its trade to Tibet and China. The British saw Nepal’s market as relatively small and wanted to use Nepal as a route for dealing with Tibet. Hence, they included a clause to prevent double taxation of customs duty.

However, the treaty was not fully implemented. Bahadur Shah, who sought military support for the Nepal-Tibet War, did not receive any assistance.

When Bahadur Shah was removed from power in Nepal, this treaty was used against him, causing guilt and tensions. The lack of implementation and hostility contributed to the Anglo-Nepal War.

Conclusion

In short, the Anglo-Nepal Commercial Treaty of 1792 A.D. marked one of the initial attempts to improve Indo-Nepal relations after Nepal’s unification.

Although the treaty was not fully realized, it was an important step in establishing diplomatic connections between the two countries.

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