KOLKATA — Actions by the Nepal government this week have further souring relations between New Delhi and Kathmandu where Maoists are increasingly calling the shots.
First, in a virtual rebuff to India, Nepal's Foreign Minister Sahana Pradhan pleaded with high level Chinese delegation visiting Kathmandu to extend the Tibet rail into Nepal. The request is particularly significant against the backdrop of Nepal's warning to India not to go ahead with a proposed highway along the India-Nepal border. And a weekly magazine, Nepal, has blown the cover of Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) officials posted under diplomatic cover in the Indian embassy in Kathmandu.
The magazine published in Nepalese, Indian officials say, couldn't have named all the RAW operatives without the help of a section of the Nepal government. The magazine exposed Suresh Dhundiya, Kathmandu RAW station chief, and his deputies Alok Tiwari posted as First Secretary (Education) and K. V. Johri, a counsellor. It also named top RAW officials posted in Kathmandu in the past: former RAW chief H. Tharakan, S. B. S. Tomar, S. S. Rajan and Ravindra Ohri. The cover of Intelligence Bureau's and Military Intelligence's men in Kathmandu, Arvind Kmar and Colonel Manmohan Singh respectively, has also been blown.
Significantly, the magazine targetted only RAW and other Indian espionage outfits like IB and MI although intelligence outfits of several countries, including USA, China and Pakistan are known to very active in strife-torn Nepal. Pradhan's advocacy of greater connectivity between China and Nepal has stung New Delhi. Ruffling India's feathers, Pradhan bluntly requested Wang Jiauri, head of the international liasion department of the Communist Party of China's central committee, to extend the rail from Lhasa to Nepal as soon as possible.
Moreover, Nepal and China have signed an agreement to widen and modernise the Lhasa-Kathmandu road and resume the Kathmandu-Lhasa bus service from January. Nepal is also turning to its northern neighbour for oil supplies much to India's chagrin. Pradhan's request to extend the Tibet rail to Nepal is a big bonus for Jiauri whose original agenda was to get to known the Maoist leadership which is ideologically anti-India. Both Beijing and New Delhi cultivated the royal palace but in the changed scenario China seems to have scored over India as far as wooing the reds is concerned.
Sources say that ambassador Shiv Shankar believes that Pradhan's China card and the expose of RAW officials are interlinked and is therefore advocating greater secrecy in intelligence-gathering operations to safeguard India's "assets" in Nepal.
Visit Khaleej Times: