Ram Shrestha: India's Mis-Guided Nepal Policy
India's Mis-Guided Nepal Policy
By Ram Shrestha
The Indian government and establishment visualize their country as possessing the manifest destiny of dominating the whole of South Asia, like their erstwhile masters of the British Raj. More so, they do consider themselves a regional power with overwhelming economic, political and military clout.
In this great game, Nepalese nationalists are merely minor irritants to be swatted away when the opportunity arises, or like in Sikkim to be outwitted and used to achieve a forced union. We have enough politicians/quislings who would play the same traitorous role for a few pieces of silver. The Royal Government of Bhutan has been cowed down to toe the Indian line in return for all-inclusive support for their heinous policy of ethnic cleansing.
The Indian policy of clandestine support to the Nepalese Maoists should, therefore, be seen in the frame of reference of sub-continental supremacy.
At the official level, there are, of course the usual (feigned) vociferous protestations of support to combat the 'terrorist menace' and even token grants of military hardware. However, the freedom of movement accorded to the Maoists on Indian territory, the unfettered cross-border violence and intimidation and the generous support by the intelligence agencies do speak a completely different story.
The Maoists, with Indian sustenance, have indeed succeeded in destabilizing the Nepalese political system. The economy is on the verge of collapse. The military presents a picture of helplessness. It is inconceivable that the Maoists alone could have brought the country to the brink of disaster.
The highest level "security" meeting in Delhi could only have considered ways and means to accelerate the process of disintegration. Certain political parties and vested interests are already making the necessary noises, e.g. demanding a constituent assembly and a republic. The behaviour of such anti-national elements is unconvincing and duplicitous. We may recall that even before the formation of the Deuba coalition government, the premature visit of the foreign minister, K. Natwar Singh, was announced, so that he could fish in troubled waters.
The mouthpiece of the Indian establishment, "The Himalayan Times" (22nd August 2004) announced in a first page headline that India plans to airdrop food items in the capital (shades of the Berlin blockade!). This was outright mischievous or a trial balloon, because the very next day, this Indian newspaper retracted quoting the Indian embassy spokesman. This gentlemen was, however, quite forthright in saying: "In case the government of Nepal ever makes such a request, the Indian government will give prompt and serious consideration to it." The existence of such a contingency plan cannot be refuted. Its realization would mean the beginning of the end of Nepalese independence, because it would lay bare the utter inability of HMG to provide basic foodstuff to its citizens and the impotency of the army to protect the life-line of the capital.