Friendship Treaty of 1923 A.D.


The Anglo-Nepal Friendship Treaty of 1923 A.D. was signed on 22nd December 1923 by Chandra Shumsher and British Envoy W.F. O’Connor.

This treaty was a significant achievement for the Rana Regime as it recognized Nepal as an equal and independent state with vested sovereignty.

It is the only existing document before 1950 A.D. that officially acknowledges Nepal’s independence and sovereignty.

Background To The Friendship Treaty of 1923 A.D.

The treaty’s success can be attributed to the goodwill adopted by Chandra Shumsher during the First World War. Due to Nepal’s assistance in the war, the British Raj decided to elevate Nepal’s international status and treat it as an equal.

The British Raj showed gratitude by providing awards, recognition, and offers to Nepali soldiers and the government.

Furthermore, the growing anti-British sentiments in India and the impending collapse of the British Raj led them to express their gratitude to Nepal through this treaty.

Improvement in Indo-Nepal Relations

A major reason for signing this friendship treaty was the significantly improved and positive relations between the Rana rulers and the British Raj. The previous treaty, the Sugauli Treaty, had imposed burdens and losses on Nepal.

Even the Knox Mission and Kirkpatrick’s Mission didn’t succeed as expected. The Commercial Treaty of 1792 and Friendship Treaty of 1801 were also not properly implemented.

However, almost 100 years later, the Friendship Treaty of 1923 A.D. brought considerable benefits to Nepal.

After Jung Bahadur Rana became Prime Minister, the Company Government was welcomed more warmly, and the exclusionary policies were removed.

Subsequently, when the Shumsher family came into power, they fully adopted an appeasement policy towards the British Raj.

Appeasement Policy of the Shumsher Family

The Shumsher family, especially Chandra Shumsher, had a different stance on foreign policy with the British Raj in India compared to Jung Bahadur and Ranodip Singh.

While Jung Bahadur maintained political independence, Chandra Shumsher was willing to appease the British Raj to a larger extent. He saw the benefits that Nepal could obtain through such a devoted relationship with one of the world’s leading countries.

This approach led to the signing of the Anglo-Nepal Friendship Treaty of 1923 A.D.

Provisions of The Friendship Treaty of 1923 A.D.

The Anglo-Nepal Friendship Treaty of 1923 A.D. aimed to acknowledge the sovereignty of Nepal and foster a relationship of mutual coexistence and assistance.

It also facilitated Nepal’s import and export of goods from India. The treaty was an expression of gratitude from the British Raj, thanking Nepal for its devotion and assistance.

The major provisions of the treaty are as follows:

Perpetual Friendship

Both the British Government and the Government of Nepal commit to a lasting friendship and peaceful relationship. They recognize each other’s internal and external sovereignty with respect and dignity.


Neither state shall allow any form of opposition or revolutionary activities against the other state within their respective territories.

Nullification of Previous Treaties

Any previously incurred treaty or agreement between the two countries shall be declared void.

Arms and Ammunition Purchase

When in a state of mutual relations, Nepal has the right to buy arms, ammunition, or materials of war from the British Government or any third country.

Border Trade

Nepal can import goods and raw materials from the borders of the British Raj without informing the government officials at the border if the goods are for public consumption.

Peaceful Resolution of Disputes

Both states shall resolve any border, geographic, or political disputes through peaceful and perpetual discussions, aimed at benefiting both countries.

Analysis of the Treaty

The Anglo-Nepal Friendship Treaty of 1923 A.D. was a significant improvement for Nepal compared to previous and subsequent treaties.

It granted Nepal access to trade and import from other nations, reaffirmed Nepal’s sovereignty, and provided privileges to the Nepalese government from the British Raj.

The treaty was widely celebrated in Nepal as it restored the nation’s dignity and respect, which had been damaged by the Sugauli Treaty.

However, some historians argue that the generous terms of the treaty were an imposition and evidence of Nepal’s subordination. Nevertheless, the consensus remains that the treaty recognized Nepal as an independent sovereign nation.


The Anglo-Nepal Friendship Treaty of 1923 A.D. was a momentous milestone in Indo-Nepal relations, Nepal’s foreign policy, and its relationship with the British Raj.

The treaty helped restore Nepal’s pride, which had been compromised by previous treaties.

The dismissal of previous unfavorable treaties further solidified the significance of this treaty in the annals of history.