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Fruitless Mukherjee’s visit further weakens Nepal’s sovereignty

By Our Reporter 
Indian President’s state visit to Nepal last week though was termed successful by both the governments of Nepal and India, the public at large were unhappy the way he was treated in Nepal. Most people thought that he was given unnecessary importance by giving a holiday on the day of his arrival and President Bhidya Bhandari visiting the TIA to receive and see off him.
They argued when Indian government never gives a holiday during Nepal’s President’s India visit and when the Indian President and Prime Minister do not reach ]the airport to receive their Nepali counterpart, there was no need for Nepal to treat the Indian President that way. Many termed this practice as ‘Lampasarbad’ or total surrenderism of the government of Nepal to the Indian establishment.
It was the highest level of visit by the Indian leaders after the blockade. No Indian president had visited Nepal since K R Narayanan’s 1998 visit.
Indeed, the Nepalese people were not in mood to welcome the Indian president as they had not forgotten the infliction of pain they suffered from the five-month Indian blockade imposed by India against Nepal from September 2015. India had imposed the blockade as the Nepalese politicians did not follow the instructions of Indian Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar to postpone the promulgation of the constitution. Later, India poured its anger by backing the ruthless movement of the people-rejected Madhesi leaders and imposing the inhuman blockade when the Nepalese were trying to overcome the pains of the devastating earthquake of April 2015.
Above all, the unofficial curfew imposed in Kathmandu during his visit drew more flak from the public. People, including journalists criticised the government for creating unnecessary inconveniences to the public during the President’s visit.
Mukherjee visited Nepal when the public were expecting a visit from the Chinese President Xi Jinping in place of Mukherjee. Many people believe that the KP Oli-led government was pulled down under the Indian design to foil XI’s Nepal visit in October. Xi instead visited Bangladesh and pledged a support worth 14 billion US dollars, which is bigger than Nepal’s annual budget.
The Nepalese people who have not overcome the pains they suffered due to the blockade imposed by India did not appear in the street to greet the President. Two years ago, when Indian PM Modi landed in Kathmandu thousands of people had come to the street to greet him. But this time the people stayed at home which suggested that his visit was not welcomed by the people. Only the government that came into power in the Indian blessing welcomed him. This is evident from the people of Pokhara who flew black flags and destroyed the gates built to welcome him in Pokhara. However, the Madhesi people in Janakpur who opposed President Bidya Bhandari’s visit last year received him with warm respect, which only showed increasing infiltration of the Indian nationals in Nepal’s Terai.
Again no important agreement was signed between Nepal and India during the President’s visit. Earlier, it was reported that the visiting delegate would sign agreement to build an important project in Nepal. What he told was to develop Ghat at Pashupatinath and circuit covering major religious and cultural sites of Nepal and India.
Although the leaders did not tell what President Mukherjee instructed them, it was obvious that he exerted pressure on the leaders to make amendment to the constitution as per the demands of the Madhesi people. The stressful face of Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal throughout Mukherjee’s Nepal visit also hinted at this. As a powerful minister in the Congress (I) Government under Mana Mohan Singh, Mukherjee had a role for bringing the Maoist and the seven-party alliance together, no present-day Nepalese leader had a gut to reject his demand. Prime Minister Dahal might have received support from him during the conflict era as he was stationed in New Delhi while his militias were attacking the police posts and army barracks killing innocent people. Mukherjee once had told the media that 12-point agreement could be impossible without his support. As, Nepal is sure to lose more from the visit of the Indian President and signs have already been there—the effort to amend the constitution with a provision that enables anyone who has obtained the naturalised Nepali citizenship certificate, to become president and prime minister.

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