Sunday, April 26, 2009

South Block screwed up BIG

Indrani Bagchi

India needs to wake up and smell the coffee in Nepal. Last week, India exhibited some truly clumsy diplomacy in Kathmandu, which was astounding for the fact that it showed India as the nasty big brother that Nepalis often accuse India of.
“Prachanda” Pushpa Dahal’ s showcause notice to the army chief, Rukmangad Katawal, was high-handed, dictatorial and rightly attracted the ire of the other political parties. But to see the Indian ambassador hot-footing it to Baluwatar, pleading with Prachanda to desist, showed the kind of desperation that has completely laid India bare in Nepal.
Even given fears that the Nepalese Army may have been considering a “coup” may have been uppermost on his mind, surely diplomacy throws up better ways of doing things. If the US, or any other country had done this to India, South Block would be up in flames.
Its been clear for a while that Prachanda wanted to throw out Katawal and install the Maoist-friendly Kul Bahadur Khadka in his place. Its also been clear that Katawal has been resisting efforts to integrate the PLA cadres into the army. That may be something the Indian army can screw up its nose at, but that should be the Nepalis’ business.
Prachanda, as elected PM is fully within his rights to question the army chief, because no matter what, the army has to serve the popular government of the day. How did South Block forget this mantra?
Katawal is no great lover of the Maoist government, and has been known to be very close to the deposed king Gyanendra, having been adopted by his father King Mahendra.
But for democratic India to intervene on behalf of an army chief in Nepal is to send out absolutely the wrong signals. Its blatant intereference in the internal affairs of another country, for one. Second, it shows that India would rather support the army than a popularly elected government, even if you don’t like the colour of their stripes.
Nepalese media have published detailed records of how foreign secretary Shiv Shankar Menon tried to persuade the UML chief touring China that he should stop the sacking. Now that was really clever.
Katawal is now “burnt toast” as someone said, ruefully. Because no matter what India says, or perhaps because of it, Prachanda will get rid of him. Then he will resume his now interrupted visit to China and sign that treaty of peace and friendship that South Block was so against.
When elections were held in April 2008, it was a fair and participatory process that threw up the ruling combine in Kathmandu which had few outstanding debts to India, like the older political parties, army or even discredited royalty, the traditional pillars of Nepal.
India has known, since then, that things could never be as good as they had been, when India ordered and Nepalese followed. The Maoists are not India-friendly, and South Block is not Maoist-friendly. The Maoists want to spread their risks by getting China into the game as well. No surprises here, and India should have been mature enough to deal with this particular challenge.
India is partly responsible for Nepal running to the arms of the Chinese - that’s now very clear. India has many levers to ensure that its interests are addressed in Nepal, if only India chooses to utilize them. But beyond that, India needs to cut Nepal some slack. Let them go, guys. Cut those apron strings.

Friday, April 24, 2009

And India has its day as heat gathers

The Coup that has been planned backed by Indian expansionist and enter Indian army into Nepal.

A report from the RAW paid newspaper. RAW has on pay roll a lots of journalists in Nepal apart from its propaganda machine APCA publication that is a whorehouse with Nepali girls being employed for sex and sex only by Indians.

It sounds surreal, reads like a page from a nail-biting thriller.
On Thursday, 25 generals were present at the meeting of Principal Staff Officers at the Army Headquarters. The agenda was a serious one: Maoists are in a larger mission than to eliminate Nepal Army. They were out to derail the peace process and destroy Nepali democracy. And something had to be done to stop that.

It was PSOs and Valley commanders first meeting after the Maoist-led government issued a clarification letter to Chief of Army Staff Rookmangud Katwal.

The meeting started with DGMO (Director General of Military Operations) Gaurav Rana, saying that this was a historical moment and therefore it called for a frank discussion. “We are facing a tsunami and we must stop it,” he said. “The virus which is trying to destroy the Army is in this room.”

Himalaya Thapa, who heads the No. 1 Brigade added, “The root of the trouble is here. We must look for it and get rid of it.” A number of other generals also spoke at the meeting.

All the ire was vented against Lt. Gen. Kul Bahadur Khadka, who remained silent right through the meeting. Khadka, second in command in the Nepal Army, is the supposed Maoist choice to succeed Katawal.

At last, it was Katawal's turn. He said, “We should not let politics enter our house. We should stop this tendency to knock on the politician's door for promotion.”

For the first time, Lt. Gen. Khadka found himself completely exposed in front of the generals and the Nepal Army establishment, said a senior Army officer recounting Thursday's event.

He and other Army officers recounted to the Post late Thursday how on Wednesday they came close to mounting a “soft coup” to counter Khadka and the Maoist plan. The threat, they said, pushed the Maoists on to the back foot.

This is how the plan was. Maoist leaders, ministers and other selected individuals would be arrested. Former king would be put in Nagarjun Palace in “line arrest.” Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Nepali Congress President Girija Prasad Koirala and a number of other leaders would be cut off from the public.

Singhadurbar, Baluwatar, YCL and Maoist offices, the Ministers' Quarters at Pulchowk would be put under 'siege.' At the UN-monitored cantonments, the arms containers would be guarded, but the PLA combatants would not be harmed and would be allowed to leave the cantonments for home or for foreign employment. UNMIN monitors would be put in helicopters and flown to Kathmandu. “They would be treated with dignity,” said an Army officer.

“It was a plan that just was not a military coup,” said the officer. “I don't want to disclose the exact timing of the move. Such things are always kept secret.” There were hints that the “soft coup” would have taken place possibly in the wee hours on Wednesday.

All this started after the prime minister demanded Katawal's resignation on Sunday. By Monday, insiders say, Katawal seemed enthused by a renewed confidence. “By then he had received strong backing from India and he felt emboldened. For our part, we gave him a lot of moral support,” said another senior officer. “We told him 'don't worry. We will get the support. We proposed a coup. We had no time to lose. Losing time meant the Maoists would get Katawal.”

Having listened to all the calls from Army officers, Katawal finally said, “That's not the right way to go about it. He suggested that the best way to move forward would be through the confines of the statute.”

It was important for Katawal to take the president in confidence. “India played a crucial role to establish the link between the Army and the president,” the officer said.

“We were not the planners for presidential rule,” said the officer. “We were involved only in the military side of the operation.” An official with the president's office said, the president was under tremendous pressure from the Army to react, adding: “But we were not pushing for presidential rule.” The pressure on the Army was huge, said the officer. “Maoists and Kul Bahadur were using each other to execute their plan. Kul Bahadur would be made the chief as soon as Katawal submitted his clarification. The plan was to get rid of Katawal by any means. Even by killing or abducting him, or putting him under house arrest. Making Kul Bahadur the chief by hook or crook.”

According to the officers, Kul Bahaudr had submitted a plan to the Maoists months in advance and they liked it. The Army chief would get a 35-year service period; others 30- year period; all 19,000 Maoist combatants would be integrated in the Army; PLA commander Nanda Kishor Pun “Pasang” would be made Major General and many others would get brigadier positions; there would be no new entries in the Army for a while; and 50 percent of the Army would be used for development work.

Kul Bahadur, according to the officers, had also lobbied with the Maoist-led government not to give the eight generals (whose retirement has been temporarily stayed by the Supreme Court) extension. Kul Bahadur, they added, also gave the generals the impression that the Army chief was unsuccessful to defend their case with the Defence Minister.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Sood goes to Delhi

Indian Ambassador to Nepal Rakesh Sood today left for New Delhi for consultations. Sood, who met Prime Minister Prachanda this morning, is expected to brief the Indian Government about the recent political developments in the country including the government's plan to sack the Chief of Army Staff Rukmangud Katawal. Spokesperson of the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu, Tshering W Sherpa said that ambassador Sood left for New Delhi for consultations with the authorities and would be returning to Kathmandu in a day or two.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Is this a sovereign country

Kathmandu, Apr 21 (PTI) The Maoist governments move to force the ouster of the Nepal Army chief seems to have isolated the ultra-left group, with the main Opposition party disrupting parliament and moving to polarize politics in the country against the former rebels.

The Prachanda-led government served an ultimatum to the Army chief Rukmangad Katawal, ordering him to explain why its directives on the removal of eight generals and halting recruitment in the army were ignored by him. The move to issue the notice is being interpreted as an indication of government's plan to remove the army chief.

Nepali Congress and 15 other political parties, including key coalition partner CPN-UML, have opposed the Maoists decision to seek clarification from Army Chief Rukmangad Katawal without proper ground.

Fears have been expressed that the deadlock between the government and most of the political parties could derail the stalled landmark peace process in Nepal.

Information Minister Krishna Bahadur Mahara yesterday said a notice was issued to Army Chief, seeking a clarification on the military's recent recruitment, its hastiness in reinstating eight generals retired by the government and its decision not to participate in the National Games.

The Nepali Congress, led by former premier G P Koirala, boycotted the Parliament yesterday in protest against the governments move to seek clarification from Army Chief, terming it as strategy to weaken the national institution.

But maoists willnot be able to kick out Katawal as he has India behind him. Koirala did also want to sack him but India said not to do so and now sooner or later Rakesh Sood will start making rounds of baluwatar and threaten Prachnada not to sack him.

The relation between the India and Indianspy agencies and Nepali Army top brass is since along cordial. The massacre of late King Birendra and his family under the protection of 10,000 Army men in the Narayanhiti Royal palace was the design of RAW and Nepali army top brass helped execite it.
If the army cannot protect its patron King how can it protect Nepali people. But RAW will use all its power like newspapers and paid journalists and New Delhi will come to rescue Katawalas he is their man and they have to protect him.

A speciaal RAW agent Dhurb Painly has come to kathmandu to gather all the information and report back to RAW headquarters. He was posted in Kashmir before. The Sood and his agents the political parties will help Katawal and Maoists will have to back off.