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What is a foreign trip for?

By D.M. Thapa

As is the tradition of newly appointed prime ministers of Nepal going first to India, our newly elected prime minister Sher Bahadur Deuba is also making such a sojourn and holding on to tradition. After all, Nepal is a traditional country and it would be a sin to break any tradition. Let the Chinese stay where they are, they come second in the list of priorities.

If America beckons, Deuba would probably run to America, forgetting even China. And China deserves this as they are as equally wily and nasty like India, if not more. Both these neighboure of Nepal, only want to exploit it, though they show off gestures of profound friendliness and offer huge funds for impoverished Nepal.

Well, this time also, when he makes this routine pilgrimage to India, prime minister Deuba along with his wife will be given a rousing reception by the Indian prime minister, though one can’t say how Deuba will cope there because he likes to drink a lot and Indian prime minister Narendra Modi doesn’t drink a drop of whisky. Probably the Nepali Embassy officials will have to run around to make Deuba happy after he returns from the reception.

He will visit the Raj Ghat, meet ministers, meet businessmen and probably get a slap on his back from Modi, who will say India will do everything for Nepal. And Deuba will make his usual grunts to say thank you.

But how can we believe what the Indians say? The Terai people must realize that India opened it dam gates after dozens of Nepales had already lost their lives due to the floods and thousands had been displaced during this rainy season. Why can’t India, China, America and the so called human rights pro countries of Europe build dams in Nepal and also canals for irrigation? It is ironic that while floods are displacing people and blocking major highways, many others have not also been able to plant paddy! The major media never bring up this issue, the so called civil society leaders remain silent, and it is no surprise that our political leaders who have been groomed and also “roomed” by foreigners say nothing.

Why should our prime ministers, most of whom don’t know the “D” of diplomacy go on foreign jaunts just to have their back slapped and at a great expense of the nation’s treasury? The same funds could be used for the flood victims and also the now forgotten earthquake victims. But no, as long as the leaders and their followers, including officials of the Foreign Ministry, can go abroad and have some sort of a vacation, everything is alright. Who cares about how the ordinary Nepalese are suffering.

The Americans, Europeans and others all praise Nepal for achieving democracy and bringing peace. Yes, we are very happy about democracy, though a chaotic one, but is there real peace? What about good governance, good health care, social security, good education and so on and so forth which are taken for granted by the Westerners? Shouldn’t say anything about these things and do something? Is a new constitution only enough?

Let us hope if not in an international forum, prime minister Deuba, after having his back slapped, will at least be able to raise such issues with Indian leaders and the media instead of just suturing which I heard some Indian media persons calling a “total disaster”.

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