Friday, October 30, 2009

Why Nepal hates India:-Delhi’s Maoist headache

Bharat (aka India) has problems with all the countries surrounding it. No other country on the planet has had war with all her neighbors. Bharati attempts at taking over Nepal have backfired. Even though Nepal is Hindu majority country, it does not want to be part of Bharat. Delhi has been interfering in the internal affairs of Nepal for the past six decades–at one point imposing a trade embargo on the land locked country. It’s impossible to imagine that Delhi can be convinced to play a creative and helpful role in Nepal’s peace process. Bharat is aflame, from the tip of Nepal down to the depths of Andhara Pradesh in a rebellion that control about 40% of the land mass of Bharat. The flaring Maoist insurgency within Bharat and the emotional kinship that Nepali Maoists want to share with their Chinese brethren is a huge impediment to Nepali-Bharati relations.
The mountain Hindu kingdom of Nepal; India wants to take it over. The Maoists more freindly with China then Delhi want to keep Nepal independent

The Maoists recently quit the government protesting Indian interference. Peace is in jeopardy in the Himalayan state. The issue–getting rid of a pro-Indian general who had refused to listen to the Pro-Chinese Maoist rime Minister. The Maoists are a huge migraine headache for Delhi. The Maoists support the Naxaliteswhich control 40% of the Indian landmass. Once in power the Maoists continue their links with the Naxalites. Red Nepal: Clear and present danger to India

The Maoists are mad at Delhi for the interference. If India continues its diktat, the Maoists could retreat to the mountains and begin the war once again. China has a lot of influence in Napal.

The Bharati establishment has to stop interfering in Nepal’s internal affairs, which is making Delhi’s relations bad with her neighbros to the North, West, East and South. Looking at the countries which surround Bharat, one can see that all are unfriendly. Delhi needs deep introspection, and take measures to make neighboring countries more friendly rather than alienating them. Nepal wants to scrap much hated “Treaty of Friendship” with India

The 1950 Treaty of Peace and Friendship between India and Nepal allows for free movement of people and goods between the two nations and a close relationship and collaboration on defence and foreign affairs. For New Delhi, the treaty is a tool to lessen Beijing’s influence on Kathmandu. But it has been drawing flak in Nepal, with the Maoists who now outnumber others in the Himalayan country’s Constituent Assembly demanding revision of the treaty.

Bharat can continue to view the North with suspicion. Delh can let the Maoists be the over-riding objective of its Nepal policy or be a good neighor. The choice is for Delhi to make. It can continue to pro-actively interfere in Nepal as it has been doing since 2005 or it can learn to appreciate the growing communists in Nepal and deal with them. Interference has been counterproductive for Delhi.

Naxalite insurgency spreading like wildfire in Bharat. Hindustan's Maoist insurgency map. There are secessionist movements in almost every state in "India" encompasisng more than 200 districts. The Naxals have been supported by the Maoists in Nepal. With the Maoist victory in Nepal the Naxals and Maoists of Bharat are increasingly more assertive

India seems to have lost the battle for influence in Nepal. Once the Big Brother that controlled every aspect of of Nepali life, Delhi has little influence on decision making in Kathmandu. When Delhi tries to force its will, the Nepalis don’t listen. Nepali Maoists fouhgt a long and protracted war of independence from Indian interference. The people of Nepal won, and put the Pro-Chinese Maoists in power.

The Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao arrives in Kathmandu on her first visit to its Norhtern neighbor. Bharati interference has brought the peace process to the brink. Nepal is grappling with its most serious political crisis since the king abdicated power to parliament. Nuclear flashpoint: How India lost Nepal to China

India has to make certain difficult policy choices, reconcile the contradictions between its stated aims and actions, determine whether it remains committed to the process it helped facilitate, and use its leverage accordingly.

The fragile Madhav Nepal-led ruling coalition faces a severe crisis of legitimacy and a belligerent Maoist opposition. The Maoists have boycotted the legislature-parliament, paralysing government business to the extent that the budget has not yet been passed. They have demanded a house discussion on President Ram Baran Yadav’s “unconstitutional action” over-riding the Maoist government’s decision to sack the then Army Chief General Rukmangad Katawal in early May — a demand rejected by the other parties in government who see no wrong in what the President did. The Maoists have also launched a street movement, with the slogan of instituting “civilian supremacy” and a “Maoist-led national government.”

The Constitution-writing process is in limbo, with the Constituent Assembly changing its timeline for the sixth time, raising serious doubts whether the statute can be prepared by May 2010. The peace process lies dormant, with little progress on the integration and rehabilitation of the Maoist People’s Liberation Army, presently in United Nations-supervised cantonments. The political polarisation in Kathmandu has left the state weak and unreformed, further fuelling semi-militant ethnic movements of Tharus in western Tarai, Madhesis in eastern Tarai, and Limbus in eastern hills. The Hindu. (Prashant Jha is a Kathmandu-based journalist.)

Maoists insurgents in Nepal and Naxalites in India. The Naxals control 40% of the land

This ever growing enmity will not allow Indian policymakers to make any concessions to the Nepali Maoists. Indian policymakers want the Maoists to kneel down, come to its terms of reference, and to hand them the job of running the country. The Nepali Maoists seem to have ditched that traditional style of ruling if their public rhetoric is anything to go by. There is no military solution to the problem. Delhi has tried it and failed. The Maoists took over Nepal and are gaining in strength in Bharat. Delhi finds itself in a fix. Given such a precarious situation, the question about who will blink first and how is important. If Maoists indeed succeed in toppling this government either by playing within the contradictions of colourful partners of the coalition or through a mass revolt, it’s not convincing that they may be able to run the country without India’s support. If they do have something of this sort in their mind, they must have done sufficient homework to rope in China into the country as never before.

Domestic roots

The present crisis, result of the ouster of the Maoists from the government in May, has domestic roots.

There is a deep trust deficit between Nepal’s older political parties and the Maoists. The former feel that the Maoists have not changed the ultimate aim of “state capture” and are not committed to multiparty democracy. The inability of these parties, both the Nepali Congress and the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist), to challenge the Maoists politically has added to their insecurity. The Maoists see the others as “stooges of feudals and reactionaries,” unable to reconcile themselves with the popular aspirations of change, and to accept that Maoists are legitimately the strongest political force in Nepal.

Add to this the trust deficit between the Maoists and the Nepal Army, especially under the previous chief, General Katawal, who the Maoists had sought to dismiss. The top brass of the army sees the Maoist intentions to integrate the PLA as an attempt to “politicise” and “take over” the army. Maoist dogmatists see the army as the final pillar of the old state that has to be reoriented drastically. The more moderate politicians, across the spectrum, recognise the need to “democratise the army” as stated by the peace accord, and “integrate” a part of the PLA — but then develop cold feet, fearing this would mean one less balancing force against the Maoists. The elevation of the more sober and restrained Chhatraman Singh Gurung as the first Janajati Chief of the Army this week has had a positive effect though, reducing tension levels.

It was this alliance of the parties and the army that led to the ouster of the Maoist government and the resulting stalemate. But India was at the centre of the crisis in May — actively opposing the Maoist move to dismiss the chief, backing the army, and then helping Madhav Nepal cobble together a majority in the house. The Indians had warned the Maoists not to “touch the army” and felt this was a Maoist move to take over all state institutions. New Delhi was increasingly uncomfortable with the Maoists’ increased engagement with China, the anti-India rhetoric of top Maoist leaders, and developed doubts about their commitment to democracy.

Since then, New Delhi has actively backed the present Madhav Nepal government — hosting him during a five-day India visit, telling interlocutors not to destabilise the present arrangement, and helping to smoothen intra-coalition differences.

New Delhi’s role

India has a choice. It can continue to let its suspicion of the Maoists be the over-riding objective of its Nepal policy, and see the country slide into confrontational politics and greater anarchy. Or it can seek to build bridges, and play a pro-active role in engineering the kind of consensus it has done since 2005 to veer Nepal back towards a stable trajectory. But for that, policymakers have to ask themselves difficult questions.

Is India still committed to Nepal’s Constitution-writing and peace process? If yes, how does it reconcile that with the opposition of powerful sections in the Indian establishment to the integration of even a part of the PLA in the Nepal Army, as stated in peace accords? Would they prefer the present drift where the country has two armies? Or are they banking on the PLA splintering off into lower level extremist groups, which looks unlikely given the strong chain of command and party discipline?

How does sustaining the present government aid the process? Does India recognise that as long as this government is in place, Maoists may not cooperate in drafting the Constitution, and without their numbers, no statute can be passed? What are the implications, for Nepal and for India, if the Constitution does not get written on time? In fact, how does encouraging a Kathmandu power structure that excludes the Maoists square up with the political reality on the ground where they are immensely strong?

How does fragmentation of the Madhesi mainstream political parties — recent moves by Delhi have added to their divisions — help the cause of stability in the Tarai? Does India still believe in using the Tarai and the Madhes movement as a counter to the Maoists and a strategic lever? Is there a recognition that continued semi-anarchy in the Tarai and a weak state right across the border could imperil India’s own security interests?

The point is not to place the onus on all that is happening in Nepal on India. Of course, domestic actors have been irresponsible. There is a deep disconnect between Maoist intentions, actions and rhetoric, and dogmatists within still dream of a communist republic. There is lack of clarity within the Nepali Congress and the UML. Factionalism is rampant. Short-term interest based politics has trumped the larger commitment to the process. And no solution can be imposed from outside.

Nirupama Rao will get acquainted with political actors, make the right noises, and back the present government during her Nepal stay. But her visit would be truly successful if she uses the trip to publicly reiterate New Delhi’s commitment and support to past political and peace agreements; tell all actors that no form of authoritarianism, right or left, is acceptable to India; build bridges with the Maoists; privately reassess India’s approach to the present power alignment; and encourage a creative roadmap to get the Nepali process back on track.

India is now trying to put in place a pro-Indian government and keep the Maoists out of power. This could be very dangerous, because it could lead of widespread Anti-Indian riots. Already the Indian companies working Nepal face an uphill battle. Various project have been put on hold and trade is in jeopardy.

Gen Hossain Mohammed Ershad, the first host of Saarc in 1985, said bluntly in a TV documentary sponsored by India’s foreign ministry that one of the main reasons for creating the grouping was that India’s smaller neighbours were ‘allergic’ to the big neighbour. ‘So we decided to bring everyone together to deal with the problem.’ Former US Senator and ex-ambassador to New Delhi Daniel Patrick Moynihan proclaimed that India is a big country, which behaves small.

I have yet to come across a serious, objective discussion in any of the newspapers why India’s neighbours are allergic to it. Instead of blaming Pakistan’s ISI sleuths who probably play a hand whenever they find an opening in determining or undermining India’s ties with its neighbours, would it not be useful for Indian intellectuals and analysts to have a meaningful discussion as to why India’s RAW or IB are unable to neutralise the damage? India helped create Bangladesh out of Pakistan, but Dhaka today has better ties with Islamabad than with New Delhi. Is it because of ISI alone? Buddhist Sri Lanka, Hindu Nepal, they all seem to have better ties with Pakistan than with India. Shouldn’t there be a commission of inquiry set up by India to investigate the lapses by its ministers, officials and sleuths that have brought the country to a pass that bewildered Moynihan? Dawn. Is India really a big nation, which behaves small? By Jawed Naqvi. Monday, 14 Sep, 2009 | 07:12 AM PST.

Delhi is surrounded by problems of its own making. It is hated in South Asia for good reason. The “Indian Union” has had wars with all her neighbors, and it constantly interferes in the affairs of all of them. It calls all of them “failed states” proposing a raison d’etre under which it can absorb them into this huge behemoth called “Akhand Bharat“–an land mass which encompasses most of Asia– from Kabul in the West to a mystical land called Raj Kilhani, which is east of Bali in Indonesia. This is the “Bharat” that religious Bharatis dream of.

The ongoing political strife in nearby Nepal threatens to affect Indian companies working out of Nepal while India Inc continues to fight the global downturn. Hindustan Times

The Sri Lankans hate the Indians for supporting th the LTTE terrorists. The Bangladeshis are fed up with the “Rakhi Bahni” which tried to rule Bangladesh under an Indian general. The Burmese would rather be isolated than deal with a Delhi bent upon making it a protectorate, The Maldives almost drowning don’t want a lifeboat from Bharat. The Chinese have huge boundary disputes with Delhi. In the early days of independence Delhi thought that it could grab Tibet and thus bifurcate China into small pieces, perpetuating the colonial division of China. Mao Zedung would have none of that and took over Tibet, Aksai Chin and told Delhi to lay off Tibet. Then of course there are the Pakistanis, a huge impediment to Bharati hegemonistic designs in West Asia.

India is walking a diplomatic tightrope as Nepal tries to form a new government, aware that excessive meddling in its traditional “backyard” could risk pushing the fragile Himalayan democracy closer to China.

India has always seen Nepal as part of its strategic sphere of influence, but that has been challenged in the past year since the election of Maoist Prime Minister Prachanda, who before he resigned last week had edged closer to Beijing. India treads fine line in Nepal’s political crisis

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