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NP Upadhya

Arrival of unwanted Indian guest: Threat to South Asian political stability

BY N. P. UPADHYAYA
NP UpadhyaShe came uninvited, observed and then won.
The presumed China man, proven by default, left no stone unturned to greet the undesirable guest. She has a habit of coming to Nepal unsolicited as she considers this country not only a protectorate a la baby Bhutan but also a colony thanks to the kind courtesy of the former Medanta Hospital visitor of the not so distant past. KPS Oli thus proved to be a farce at least his nationalist image got shattered. Thanks, better late than never. Or else China would have felt awkward.
The Prime Minister in waiting KPS Oli melt down as if he was made up of wax and she, Sushma Swaraj, the iron lady of the Indian BJP’s twisting machine succeeded in sending spine chilling waves in the spinal cords of the Chinese regime – the northern neighbor. Failure of Chinese subtle diplomacy!
It may have taken more than four years or so for China to find a reliable partner in Nepal and Beijing had almost found one in KPS Oli’s persona that got crushed by just an uncalled for visit of Sushma Swaraj – the one who is taken by the Indians as a person having a destructive mindset full of jealously and hatred for China.
Ask neighbors what India means to them?
Her mission to Kathmandu was just to show to the world, more so to China, that KPS Oli was their man but not of the Chinese which got proved when the former out of sheer excitement not only greeted the “unasked for Indian guest” but also threw a sumptuous dinner in her honor perhaps to signal the Chinese authorities that old relations count much comparatively speaking.
Care was taken not to make her feel tired and so the dinner was served at the very hotel wherein she resided. This special treatment? Medanta Hospital debt repaid.
The Chinese must have come to their senses. At a go, the Chinese lost everything that they have had cultivated over these years in finding a friend in Nepal after the ouster of Nepali monarchy. President Xi Jinping must have been told of this sudden development, a sad one indeed, which may, in all likelihood, shift the China President presumed upcoming Nepal visit.
The uncalled for Sushma visit to Nepal was just to abort the much talked President Xi’s Nepal visit in which she bagged considerable success.
Even Dr. Shekhar Koirala from the Congress took this Indian visit as an unconventional one and termed it as a mysterious one.
Yet nothing has been lost if KPS Oli could convince his new found partners in Beijing that he had to greet the redundant guest in order to “balance” the relations between the two neighbors then China, expert in seasoned diplomacy, may give a second thought for the President Xi Jinping’s Nepal trip likely happen in two month or so. But is that an easy task? Will Beijing take Oli’s version in a good taste?
The Indian FM was here to convince the next Nepal rulers, the Left Alliances, to welcome her mentor – the former tea shop owner, PM Narendra Bhai Modi, first and then later the Chinese President may make a trip to Nepal. The idea behind this being “first” is driven by the thought that China should understand that Nepal ever remained under Indian sphere of influence and that there should be no illusion in the minds of the Chinese that they could win over Nepal in Kathmandu. Delhi is the winner this time around. Beijing must have fallen flat. China’s loss is India’s gain this time.
And this unfortunately happened which may compel the Dragon either to come in Nepal in a big way or leave this country to the mercy of the Goliath.
Dragon must not fail is what is the desire of the Nepali population save a few high flying Indo-pendent Nepali leaders. Aggressive diplomacy at times work.
Now the question is whether China would prefer to yield to the Indian hegemony in Nepal? Or would devise some special mechanisms to distance India by building mega projects, some may be even in the form of grants, that generates employment opportunities for the fleeing Nepali youths and even may think of investing in Nepal-China Economic Corridor, NCEC, that benefits the entire Nepalese population.
The corridor option would be the best a la Pakistan.
Beijing must begin working hard if she were to have a stronghold in Nepal caring our sovereignty though. Pursuance of aggressive diplomacy is what could be suggested at this juncture.
Any delay in materializing of the execution of such exercises would mean that China has voluntarily allowed India to go ahead with her anti-China strategies, like in Lipulek wherein China together with India duped Nepal and China expects benevolence from the former? The Himalayan blunder yet remains to be corrected by Beijing.
This means that China still cannot rely on Nepali leaders who may have exhibited their visible tilt towards Beijing. Oli for a few years, more so after the inhumane Indian blockade, took the courage to shift his political allegiance towards Beijing which now has become clear as to why he have had done so. A paradigm shift observed in Nepal vis a vis the relations with its immediate neighbors. India overwhelmingly dominates the political scene now.
Just a retaliation that it proved to be. And Beijing got lured by Oli. Our sympathy goes to Beijing.
Beijing thus should understand the subtle message that Oli exhibited after greeting the most unwanted guest from India who privately met practically all the Nepali leaders who count in politics as if the leaders represented different countries well within the country itself. The intent that is a malicious one is very clear and it is this weakness of the Indian visitor which could well be exploited by Beijing by meeting the entire set of Nepali leaders at one table and offering its help or whatsoever that allows all the sections of the Nepali society to think that China considers Nepal as a single entity albeit being governed by different sets of people but were Nepalese living inside the boundaries of her Southern neighbor.
Perhaps some factories being built through the kind assistance of the Chinese in the Tarai belt would do well in sending the message across the country that for China, Nepal and the Nepalese people were one and united. However, India may not allow the Chinese to go its desired way in Nepal to do so for multiple reasons.
Objections to the Chinese advancement in the Tarai belt may come not only from India but also from Nepal leaders having clear India tilt as has been seen on many occasions. Yet China could use its diplomatic acumen to convince this set of leaders that her advancement in Tarai belt was not aimed at harming the Indian interests. The objections also may crop up from the newly unified UML party.
A short trip to Beijing could well be managed for key Nepali leaders too could work, hopefully.
All said and done, KPS Oli has disturbed the peace of mind of the Chinese establishment. If it were a balancing act then that too needs to be gulped by Beijing for which Oli needs proper and adequate homework, for example, extend a formal invitation to the Chinese FM Mr. Wang under the pretext of the preparation of President Xi’s upcoming Nepal visit.
When in power PM KPS Oli could take some minutes with FM Wang, if at all he lands in Nepal, and convince the visiting Chinese guest that the latter should understand his geographical compulsions that compelled him and his UML team to greet the Indian caller.
The fact is also that beginning Chairman Mao, Nepal Kings were advised by the Chinese side to go along with India but not at the cost of the Chinese.
Even King Mahendra and Birendra practiced this balancing act as advised by Chairman Mao and later by Deng-the paramount leader of modern China.
If the Chinese FM arrives in Nepal, he is advised to do so for a variety of political reasons, and then the said event may assuage Beijing to a greater extent may consider that it so happened per chance. However, will Oli do so remains yet a blunt question? Oli may assume the post of the Nepal PM yet he will have some partners in his cabinet who have remained as trusted and tested allies of India for some good years in the not so distant past. Thus it is very hard for the men in Beijing to get convinced in an easy manner as may have in the minds of the heroes and builders of new Nepal who were yet to take control of the nation-state. The building perhaps will go the India’s desired way. Guaranteed fact but if Oli corrects his fresh unpardonable blunders. .
High placed sources claim that Sushma visited Nepal just to distance China from Nepal and the local leaders did exactly what India wanted and thus her mission to Nepal got accomplished. China is a far flung neighbor now.
A Latin word describes such event as Vini, vidi, vici which means that “she came, she saw and conquered”.
Nepal should learn some lessons from neighboring Pakistan. This country allowed the Chinese to go their way for shared benefits. The leadership in Pakistan is one and remains united as and when it comes to their internal development. China has entered Pakistan in a big way assuring the latter that days were round the corner when the world would look at Pakistan as the Asian Tiger. And allowing so, Pakistan shall never compromise her sovereignty.
The CPEC has already become a brand symbolizing the strong bond in between the two: China and Pakistan. While China is sure to benefit much from this mechanism then the other partner that is Pakistan too immensely benefits from the China invested mega projects currently in progress despite bad mouth by some inimical neighbors. The strong will and determination of the leadership of the two countries remain assured in that both the partners shall share the benefits in a convincing manner which in the long run may act like a catalyst for other countries neighboring both China and Pakistan. The CPEC bodes well for the entire countries of the belt which promises of the opening of the routes to Central Asia and through it to the European countries.
While China factor is considered as a threat in Nepal by some interested quarters then it is the Indian leadership, across the length and breadth of the Indian nation, born 1947, were all praise for China and expect that the Delhi rulers too would do well in recognising China as an emerging power whose increasing clout in this part of the world can in no way be halted.
For example, days after CPM’s Kerala Secretary Kodiyari Balakrishnan’s remarks praising China raked up a controversy, CM Pinary Bijayan echoed a similar sentiment on last Saturday when he praised China as an emerging Super Power and hit out at the Center, Delhi, for supporting the United States and some other countries.
“Globally, there is an effort to isolate China and the RSS wants an “axis” comprising US, Israel and India, which is against our, Delhi’s, earlier forreign policy that was based on anti-imperialism “, Bijayan said at a party function in Kannaur.
“China is growing as a super power of the world. The US is making efforts to constitute broad Military Alliances against China in this context……India is transforming its foreign policy to suit to the US interests against China”, Pinaryi Bijayan said while inaugurating the delegates ‘ session of the CPI( M)’s, in his home district.
This means that Modi’s current foreign policy shift is being challenged by his own men in India who share differing views and possess all praise for China.
China has thus entered India. Modi can’t stop the Chinese advance in India.
This is not all, praising China further, Pinarayi said that Beijing was in the process of making great achievements on the economic front. Almost 30% of the global economic growth was being contributed by China alone and it had achieved all the goals it has set for itself including 6 to 7% GDP growth rate, he said.
Not surprising then Dr. Devendra Raj Pandey, Finance minister in the early 1990s says of the fresh visit of Indian FM Swaraj, uninvited though, that “we must have good, better, relations with India, but not at the cost of China and cooperation schemes already agreed upon and in the pipeline”.
Dr. Pandey, to recall, was the one who had witnessed the 1990 June 10 Nepal-India joint communiqué which is still valid and is at par with a treaty a la 1950.
Dr. Pandey was beaming then upon his return from New Delhi on that day.
Kamal Thapa, the known chameleon of Nepali politics, in a very mysterious manner boycotted, proceeded towards Chitwan, the lunch thrown in honor of the Indian FM by PM Deuba at Baluatar. Thapa claims that the visit of Sushma was not only ill-timed, unnatural but unconventional one as well. Thapa is presumed as a trusted ally of Delhi.
Sushma’s visit had nothing to do with current Nepali politics but was aimed at distancing China from Nepal. She bagged considerable success in her one point agenda though.
Astonishingly, Dr. BR Bhattarai, the highly presumed India man who spent some good nine years plus in Delhi too has taken Sushma’s Nepal visit as “unseasonal and most unwanted”.
Whether BRB spoke on his own or was told to speak so will have to be watched. In diplomacy, at times criticisms emanate from one’s own trusted partners as the one just described.
Rumors have it that the Indian FM unashamedly requested Nepal leaders to deposit Nepal’s foreign and defence policy to India. Even she dared to speak so while meeting Nepal President. The President, we have been told, turned RED listening to this Indian demand.
However, how PM in waiting responded to this Indian request would make some sense though Oli and his team remain silent over this Indian misadventure.
The UML was the party which had intensely lobbied for Mahakali Treaty which India wanted.
Oli’s volte face, speaking on political terms, appears to submerge Nepal in the Indian Ocean.
Trust deficit has now become a common element among the Nepali population as to how they should view their own leaders. If Oli can overturn then any leader(s) could change their face the other moment should India lure him or her. Oli’s nationalist credentials, a hard won one, has now become a laughing stock now among the nationalist media to say the least who have had a hope that Oli would do all he could to make India apologies for all the ills and wrongs that India, 1947, did during the inhumane blockade.
No apology. No regrets but yet India entered into Nepali politics and apparently won through the kind courtesy of our own declared “incompetent leaders”- Oli included. His private talks with Sushma bodes ill for the entire nation which may have its own sort of impact on the regional affairs. This private talk may have its profound impact on the South Asian political stability-the tussle in Kashmir included no doubt.
China though has been contributing much to restore stability in the entire region through various measures taken in the recent times, in these years so to say, the Nepali stance now has practically troubled the SA stability. Oli must be held responsible if and when the stability gets disturbed. Kashmir is a flashpoint yet.
Let us now concentrate Sushma’s one on one talks with Prachanda who spent some good ten years in Delhi and waged a proxy war against his own motherland. So what may have transpired between the two is not hard to understand.
As of Deuba, is clear that Sushma had not come to see him but instead her one point agenda was to lure and seduce Oli and the next mission was to distance Oli from the Chinese establishment. She did her job well.
China’s ambition that she will enter South Asia through Nepal-China economic corridor has thus been tentatively capped. It is here now where the Chinese diplomacy should begin working and act fast to dilute the Nepal-India private bonds, developed three days ago, that may have been agreed upon Oli’s ascendance to power. China should in no way be the loser. Friendship that talks of shared benefits, CPEC for example, lasts longer but not the one that is based upon the fear of averting yet another economic blockade.
Oh! The coercive diplomacy:
Pakistani leadership should be congratulated that they are one when it comes to the Chinese investments in their country and its dealings with India – whether it be Kashmir issue or for that matter nuclear arrangements. Through CPEC, Pakistan has gained much and is sure to change its face come 2030 – a matter of some ten years from now.
All put together, Nepali politics has again become volatile but Oli centered one. How Prime Minister in waiting Oli, balances the two giant neighbors will determine the South Asian political stability. Oli’s political acumen is under test now. The countdown begins.
For the Road the Kashmir day February 5, 2018: Dr. Karan Singh, son of Maharaja Hari Singh says his father never signed over full accession of Kashmir, it was annexed under a temporary law until plebiscite. India agreed to plebiscite in 1948 and even appointed a Commissioner.
Later it backed out. (Source Twitter Sabena Siddiqui).
The Kashmir issue continues to be a flashpoint from where the already deteriorated SA Stability may further get complicated if not settled suiting to the demands of the majority of the Kashmiris.
Needless to say, China containment policy enunciated by Shyam Saran is in play now. Mr. Saran prefers India to play a role that blocks the advancement of China through Nepal to South Asian nations. If Saran were to be believed then he now desires the Indo-US axis come into action that could check China’s steps.
China would do well by inaugurating a commercial bank in Kathmandu whose branches should be in Biratnagar, Birganj, Bhirahaba, Pokhra. Road connectivity inside Nepal should be taken as a priority if she wants to enter South Asian landmass. This will perhaps send some messages to a nervous India that is pursuing Shyam Saran Doctrine. Nervous India nervous Modi and nervous Shyam Saran and his fraternity formed with a design that is to contain China. Understand the Indian nervousness.
Is China listening?

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