BY N.P UPADHYAYA
Birds of same feather flock together:
Nepal Prime Minister KPS Oli has proved himself that he prefers India first over China despite repeated insults from the southern neighbor which tested the political acumen of Mr. Oli when India imposed a six month over economic blockade on Nepal.
Words and deeds have differed:
The trauma still haunts the mind and souls of the common Nepalese. It was no less than the quake that hit Nepal in April 2015, if one were to recall.
Though PM Oli passed the rough, tough and humiliating examination subtly supported by “nationalistic credentials” ( it was a garb in effect) and the overwhelming help he received from the people across the country, save a handful of mentally retarded people and the “elite media” who sided with the blockade regime all along the Nepali ordeal, however, he failed to continue with his nationalistic stands for long when he could have done so very easily as the most powerful Prime Minister of Nepal after the freshly concluded national elections.
Thus Oli’s pretense of a nationalist hero has been exposed and the dirty Medanta Hospital frequent visitor (free treatment that it was each time in the past) has once again come to light. He can’t make fool of the people for long. The reality has come to the open now whatever he speaks in defense of his India visit now set for the month of April next month.
Clandestine bids were there to damage the gains of Oli from various quarters mostly from India and here is PM KPS Oli falling into the trap of Hyderabad House which has all along charted the future politics of Nepal beginning the sudden escapade of late King Tribuvan to India in the early 1950s.
Nepal remains defeated since then, bluntly speaking. Oli will add one more block much to the comfort of the proven inimical regime.
An opportunity was there to save his and the country’s image for long time to come has thus gone to the dogs thanks to the arm twisting tricks of the Indian establishment which has mastered in this art.
The uninvited arrival of the iron lady of the BJP who is also the foreign minister of India mesmerized the prime minister in waiting Oli much ahead of his elevation to the post to what Oli occupies now.
PM Oli has no grounds to boast now that he represents a tall and ever sovereign Nepal. Oli’s bowing down to the dictates of India has proved once again that he can’t break the tradition of visit India first. In all likelihood, Oli in doing so has, in an implied manner, hinted the all weather friend northern neighbor China, that for him Medanta hospital debt has to be repaid first and then it is China with whom ties and brotherhood can be maintained later.
China has reasons to be unhappy:
However, nothing has been lost. In a quite surprising move, Beijing has accomplished a great game that may have or will in all likelihood alarm and scare the Indian establishment for long time to come. This sudden development is that a powerful section of the leaders from the Tarai plains or say Nepal’s Madhesh have been very tactfully invited by Beijing for a luxury trip to China.
This event is in itself a grand gain for the Chinese regime over its immediate rival for multiple reasons. Ghar Mey Ghuss Key Mara….
This initiative taken by the Chinese regime will go a long way in providing political stability in Nepal. Moreover, such a move taken by Beijing will force the leaders thus visiting Beijing to take China in good stead though it may hurt the sentiments of the Indian regime for obvious reasons.
It is now immaterial to enter into a fruitless debate over as to which force on earth advised Beijing to invite these leaders from the Tarai plains. Instead the debate should now be concentrated on the smooth handling of the politics in the neighborhood by the Chinese authorities. In doing so, moreover, China has signaled that for the Chinese regime, Nepal and her leaders belonging to various political parties with differing “faith and beliefs” were Nepalese first and then whatever they wish to call themselves domestically.
This is China’s diplomacy to which India needs to learn from its arch rival. Indeed the Tarai leaders of Nepal are no less nationalist than the rest of the population.
Reports that have emanated from Delhi talks of Nepal PM Oli being accorded warm welcome and that India this time was ready to assist Nepal in whatever way it can. South Block mandarins have claimed while talking to a set of visiting Nepali journalists that India was ready to go to any extent in helping Nepal in the latter’s developmental needs and that India may even award yet another port facility to Nepal should PM Oli demand.
The change in the Indian attitude, say India watchers in Nepal, is apparently driven by the fear that India must open its congested hearts for Nepal or else Nepal may slip into the Chinese fold.
The fear is real in that the ruling elites in Nepal together with the population here consider China now as an option to India should the latter could not repeat the economic blockade of the recent past.
The blockade card perhaps remains intact:
Thus PM Oli is advised not to get lured by the Indian (temporary) generosity exhibited by the host country during his visit there but should remain ever vigilant while talking and dealing with the clever Indian authorities including PM Narendra Bhai Modi whose real persona the Nepali population observed closely while braving the most heinous economic blockade.
The ever worst Indian Ambassador posted to Nepal, Ranjeet Rae, while talking to some Nepali media men in Delhi has said that India will have no problems even if Nepal prefers to expand its relations with China.
One can understand his inner pain while saying so.
It is here that Ambassador Rae is speaking a lie. India shall never tolerate Nepal expanding and enhancing its ties with China. If India thinks just the otherwise as hinted by Ambassador Rae then it is not India that Nepal has been enduring with since early 1950s. He should recall his tenure here in Nepal and think for a minute as to how he contributed in damaging Nepal-India ties and yet he speaks now like a tamed cat.
Can Ambassador guarantee that his country shall not repeat the economic blockade on Nepal should Nepal exhibit its visible tilt towards China which is what is going to happen?
Oh! The blockade that was….:
If PM Oli is smart enough then he should convince his friends in Delhi not to impede the convening of the SAARC regional body. The Pakistani Prime Minister who was on a whirl wind tour to Nepal recently was very much hopeful that the SAARC regional body could reinvent itself this time and that the regional meet shall be held in his country. However, reports from Delhi suggest that India is yet adamant in disrupting the convening of the regional meet under this or that flimsy pretext.
The fact is that despite Pakistan’s fervent desire in favor of the meet of the South Asian regional body, India will damage the prospects of such a meet for understandable reasons more so for the fear of China being present as an observer during such a meet if that happens at all.
Though India has toned down its verbal attacks on China of late for fear of being attacked, yet looking at the Indian habit what could be guessed is that she may begin crying foul when an opportune moment approaches or is being instigated by some powerful country. The chance remains.
Why is India then against the meet of the regional body then? The answer is that India cannot tolerate to listen to the astounding progress that its immediate rival Pakistan has bagged through the heavy engagement of China under the scheme of the CPEC-the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
China in the mean time has transformed itself into an economic powerhouse. As the world changes its approach from geostrategic to geo-economics, China of late is dedicating its foreign policy to engage countries in its vicinity through initiating various economic initiatives.
Of the six proposed Corridors, to recall, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, CPEC, is believed to be the one of the shortest and smartest routes as it passes through only one country but yet connects various regional economies together, so writes Maryam Nazir, assistant Research Officer at the IPRI, Pakistan, in one of the prestigious journal of the country, 2017.
The CPEC has received, needless to say, global attention as the flagship project of the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative and has been designed as a passage with nodes of concentrated economic and commercial activities, such as the establishment of industrial zones, energy and transportation infrastructure that shall eventually augment economic revival in Pakistan. The much publicized Gwadar being the most important part of this Corridor which has been considered as outward opening connecting China and Pakistan primarily to the other regions in the neighborhood.
Around US$ 33.7 billion, which constitute 73% of the entire CPEC investment, has been allocated to the energy sector to ensure, writes Maryam Nazir, unhindered supply and energy security. Pakistan’s chronic power losses and shortages of nearly 4,500-5, 000 MW cost Pakistan 2-2.5 per cent of its annual GDP. As part of the Corridor’s fast track Early Harvest Projects, EHPs, over 10, 400 MW of energy generating capacity will be developed between 2018 and 2020. Electricity will primarily be generated by wind, coal, hydel and solar sources. It is assumed that the entire energy spending will contribute 17, 000 MW of energy to the national grid by 2030-some twelve years after.
Given this scenario, as China-Pakistan relation grows stronger, India is modestly advised to join hands with its arch rival neighbors and reap the benefits of shared development of the region with the help of China-the rising power that it is at the moment.
The Pakistan PM Abbassi too may have said the benefits his country is receiving from the CPEC initiative to Nepal Prime Minister Oli.
Now it all depends upon PM Oli on how he “balances” Nepal’s ties with both the neighbors, the one is India-an expert in imposing economic blockades and the other, read China, so far has remained honest to its commitments made to Nepal.
Reports have it that China is to invest billions and billions in the improvement in the energy sector in Nepal similar to what she has been doing in Pakistan through the CPEC.
One hitch in the mean time has cropped up in Nepali politics and that being PM Oli invited to China as well coinciding at the same time to attend to a BOAO annual conference. However, sources close to the UML say that PM Oli may drop the idea of his China trip as he has special attachment for Delhi-the seat of learning distorted ideas plus the presence of Medanta Hospital in Delhi. The debt needs to be repaid.
A tradition attached with coercion compels Nepali side to pay courtesy call on the Delhi babus first. China comes later.
Though this is the fact and the humiliating Nepali fate yet the chances of imposing economic blockade from the “friendly host partner “that India is ever remains.
Yet PM Oli has made it loud and clear that Nepal’s foreign policy henceforth shall be based on a policy of friendship which will be a balanced one.
However, his haste in visiting India first frustrates his own admission and which, to a greater extent, must have alarmed China.
China has now reasons to suspect the very “balanced policy” to be adopted by Nepal in the days ahead.
Speaking after releasing a book on Nepal-China relations in Kathmandu, Monday, PM Oli said relations with all the friendly countries will be based on equality. “We emphasize on friendship, our policy is of friendship and hence it can’t be unequal and unbalanced.
Whether Oli wishes to hint his Indian hosts that now she has to deal with a changed Nepal but not of that Nepal which remained ever subservient to the Indian dictates. If it is so then kudos to him or else such statements have been sounded in the past as well having no impact on the Indian regime. The coercion continued.
Interestingly, Oli made these rough and tough statements, for some in the neighborhood, in the presence of the incumbent Chinese Ambassador Yu Hong who must have smiled listening to Nepali stand points. Perhaps the Chinese envoy may have taken it as a joke of the highest order.
Ms. Sujata Koirala speaking on the same book releasing ceremony categorically stated that Nepal and China have enjoyed profound relations and that China has “never” interfered in Nepal’s internal affairs.
In saying so the Nepali Congress leader in an implied manner hints that India has poked its dirty nose in the internal affairs of Nepal in the past and that China has never committed such heinous acts.
Should this mean that Koirala family too prefers now to keep a distance with a regime of their choice and preference?
For the road: Pakistan Foreign Minister: Khawaja Asif says his country is a peace loving country and we want cordial relations with all neighboring countries. The Minister said that efforts are being made to develop strong relations with Afghanistan and Iran as well as Russia.
While Pakistan and Nepal wish to have cordial and balanced ties with their immediate neighbors, India on the other prefers to poke the nose of rival countries.
India once again has been objecting to China building roads inside her own territory close to Doklam. India claims that such a move taken by China disturbs Indian sovereignty. India again in the same manner claims that China’s helping hands in Pakistan too poses a threat to its sovereignty.
A note posted recently in Twitter reads in part: “Why should China inform India when it builds a road in its own territory? Why does CPEC, a China-Pakistan Economic Cooperation project built in Pakistan become a sovereignty concern to India? The problem lies with India’s own mentality. No blaming others.
Very freshly, the Indian regime has gulped some fifty acres of Nepali land in Western Nepal adjoining the Indian border. For expansionist India this is not an issue.
One more for the road:
Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan, Mr. Yao Jing, and National Security Advisor, NSA, Lt. Gen. Naseer Janjua (Retd) met to discuss Pakistan-China relations and the CPEC. NSA termed China the most reliable friend and partner of Pakistan. CPEC is a key to regional prosperity and sustainable peace in the region, said the Chinese envoy.
So when each and every country needs peace and tranquility in this part of the world then why India opposes such initiatives? What could be the motive of India? Keep on guessing.
And also this for your record:
Washington: A World Bank economist, who co- authored a report prepared jointly by international donor agencies said that China-Pakistan Economic Corridor was among those rare projects that would create large economic surpluses and would have a positive impact.
Is India listening?
(Columnist Upadhyaya is the editor of the Telegraphnepal.com)