By N.P. Upadhyaya
National politics has become volatile. Interestingly, this political fluidity is associated with a bit of inherent idiocy that is being exhibited by our “heroes and builders” who have been tentatively exported to Nepal by the friend across the border.
It was almost an exodus of the Maoists back to the home country hoping that the entire State mechanism could be controlled and manipulated by the Indian regime through the Nepal Maoists who have had been well trained and indoctrinated by the Indian regime.
Instructions are being obeyed which is visible. Isn’t it?
India as a nation state though possesses abundant hatred against the proliferation of Communists inside its own territory and elsewhere also, however, the same Indian regime preferred to groom Nepal Maoists providing secured shelter to the Communists of the neighborhood in its soil but, as the luck would have it, they had been specially designed to damage Nepal through their own leaders.
The damage has already been done and continues unabated since April 2006.
It was almost a similar case of Lendhup Dorje who through a tacit agreement with the then Indian regime headed by Mrs. Indira Gandhi helped India to gulp his own nation with no regrets in the beginning.
Needleless to say, this traitor Dorje died an unsung death which is what he told to some media outlets prior to leaving this material world for good, so wrote Sudhir Sharma in one of his fresh but frightening articles on the disappearance of Sovereign Kingdom of Sikkim from the world map.
But the timing of the Sharma’s article too may have some meaning underneath. But what? Second laboratory?
India at one point of time used and over used the Nepal Maoists while they were enjoying New Delhi’s hospitality and in lieu of the help extended then to our Maoists, the Indian regime extracted political benefits from the ones whom the foreign regime have had once groomed with great care.
The benefits included the ouster of Nepal’s Royal Institution once and for all. Monarchy had to be thrown because the institution did not obey to the Indian dictates generally. King Gyanedra was the last victim of India.
The net result has been that the exported radical communists who have been ruling the nation as of today have made it a point to design the process of national development in such a way that ultimately benefits the core security interests of the Indian regime.
However, in the recent days, the national politics is dominated by the issue pertaining to the far flung country-the Bolivarian country Venezuela.
The men handling the united Communist party at the top possess some sort of hatred for the United States (?) and state that the US imperialists must not have interfered into the exclusive matters of the Venezuelans. This meant the Nepal Communists, the former Maoists mostly, preferred Nicolas Maduro as President to continue who is about to flee the country, it is highly likely.
Whereas the men in the government, for example, Prime Minister KP Oli prefers not to annoy the lone Super Power thinking perhaps political benefits in the distant future that may come from the US and thus have taken a soft line in condemning the US poking its nose in the Venezuelan crisis.
Though the government tried to dilute the Prachanda’s rough statement to an extent that could be digested by the US, however, the US did not apparently take the government’s stance much different and accommodative than what had been made by Nepal Communist party Chairman Comrade Prachanda on January 25, last month and he did it so deliberately with a fervent hope to bring in about a grand rift in between the Nepal Government and the US administration. This presumption appears close to the reality because the rumored Delhi man did it during the absence of PM Oli from the country. Prachanda was instructed by India to pounce upon the US, observers believe.
PM Oli upon return from his DAVOS conference tried to convince the US of the lapses that appeared in the US-Nepal relations but Ambassador Randy Berry who met the PM at his official residence was not happy with the PM saying that it was a “tongue slip” of the Party Co-chairman Prachanda.
In the process, the US envoy have had already skipped the diplomatic meet summoned by the Nepal Government but was cleaver enough to send his deputy to attend to the said meet wherein the Nepal PM was also present along with the country’s foreign minister.
Sensing that PM Oli was playing double with him and that Oli was also ignoring his say both in the party and in government, an overly annoyed and irritated Prachanda-the fiercest one of the NOIDA era-speaking at a political program in Kathmandu said that “not to think that the Maoists have no existence in the nation but instead be informed that the nation now urgently needs an even stronger Maoists than the previous one if need be”.
This was a direct challenge directed towards the PM Oli who, as Prachanda concludes, has been ignoring and minimizing the role of the former Maoists chief Comrade Prachanda.
Should this mean that Comrade Prachanda has already been approached by New Delhi authorities to remain at war with PM Oli as and when Delhi instructs him? Should this also mean then that some more thousands people have to sacrifice their lives as in the past? If Delhi so desires and backs then definitely is possible. Destabilization of the country should begin now hopefully.
This could also be taken as a war of New Delhi on PM Oli through the effective use of their long time tested and trusted friend Comrade Prachanda who had a long stint in New Delhi enjoying local SSB security?
But the news that Prachanda has met the US Ambassador Randy Berry and the US has already extended an invitation to the former Maoists leader has somewhat puzzled the Nepali population. The US is with whom? With Oli or with Prachanda? Randy berry must not forget that Prachanda has a horrific past. Seduction too has several routes perhaps.
Nepal PM Oli is being taken as a China man in New Delhi and thus may have planned Oli’s ouster from the government and install Comrade Prachanda as new Nepal PM. But PM Oli is a Delhi’s man more trusted than Prachanda say those who understand PM Oli better from his Mahakali days.
But yet that Prime Minister Oli’s ties with India have derailed in the recent days gets reflected when the sitting Foreign Minister Pradip Gyawali said this Sunday, 10 February 2019, that “India and China could not discuss ‘Lipulekh’ in Nepal’s absence.
The Foreign minister also point blank said that Nepal would not sign on the Nepal-India border strip map unless ‘Kalapani’ and Susta land disputes were resolved.
By the way, India and China had agreed in Beijing, 2014, that Delhi and Beijing would henceforth would regulate their bilateral trade through the Lipulekh. And this they did without asking Nepal’s permission in advance as Nepal rightfully claims Lipulek to be its landmass.
Mind it that Nepal FM has directed his gun towards Delhi only after Prachanda has challenged PM Oli. Perhaps this may have some meaning.
This means that Nepal has neither good relations with India nor with China. It is also stated that China too has gulped several thousands of hectares of Nepali landmass in the adjoining Dolakha district of Nepal, so claimed the noted border expert some two years back in one of his eye opening articles.
The Goliath i.e. India has swallowed 15 Singaporean landmass from Nepal’s territory and yet India claims that Nepal-India have traditional relations. Nothing of that sort exists. All fraudulent claims from across the border.
Looking at all these political developments what could be said that India and China are not only in Kathmandu politics, but the third subtle smart player too has found its place in Nepal. But what could be the prime interest of the US in Nepali politics other than to bring in Nepal as a close partner in the Indo-Pacific command or say strategy? The European Union is here from the very beginning.
It should be noted here that Nepal established diplomatic ties with the USA much ahead of our diplomatic linkages with India or for that matter China.
This way, the US is Nepal’s longtime friend and a good development partner. The US-Nepal ties had touched a new height when slain King Birendra’s zone of peace proposal had been awarded recognition by the Reagan Administration.
Now while talking on the US plea made to Nepal to play a key role in Indo-Pacific strategy, says Dr, Bhaskar Koirala, the Director of Nepal Institute of International and Strategic Studies (NIIS) says that that “let’s not take the US proposal in a different narrative”. The US may have sought, says Dr. Koirala, that the help of Nepal to institutionalize peace in the nations that come under the ambit of the vast expanse taken commonly as the Indo-Pacific region could have also been thought by the US while proposing Nepal.
“Nepal can act like a peace maker in the Indo-Pacific command”, is what perhaps Dr. Koirala wants to hint through an interview that he granted to one of the media outlets of Nepal-The Annapurna Express online portal.
What is more surprising is when Dr. Koirala emphatically claims that “In a recent visit to Vietnam to attend the Third edition of Indian Ocean Conference held on August 27-28, I met the US First Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Alice G Wells who told me that the US has been providing $500 million as a part of Nepal’s engagement in the Indo-Pacific strategy”.
In Hanoi Alice Wells said in her speech that, in her own words, “that one example of their Indo-Pacific Strategy is the MCC Grant to Nepal worth 500 million US Dollar”.
“MCC will be used for road maintenance and expansion of the transmission lines”, the US Minister told Dr. Koirala.
Dr. Koirala is correct that he met with the US Minister in Vietnam and that her private talks with Koirala wherein it was disclosed that Nepal is receiving @ 500 million under the Indo-Pacific strategy all have come to true as the incumbent US Ambassador in Kathmandu in a fresh tweet has said, in his own words, “Congratulations and best wishes to Khadga Bahadur Bisht, the newly appointed Executive Director of the Millennium Challenge Account, MCA-Nepal.
Ambassador Berry further says in his February 10, 2019 tweet that “it was a major breakthrough as we prepare to begin @500 million projects with the government of Nepal.”
Should this mean that what the US Minister in Vietnam had promised to Dr. Koirala last year in August has come to true from the fresh tweet of the US Ambassador Randy berry.
As if this were not enough, a fresh US Embassy tweet says, in part, “The US Pacific Command and the Nepalese Army Mahabir Ranger Regiment conducted a joint military partnership between US and Nepal”. This tweet is dated 11 February 2019.
And here is the supplementary tweet from the same embassy which says “trainings like these not only hone skills like marksmanship, demolition, glacier training and avalanche safety, they also build camaraderie and strengthen the US-Nepal Military relationship”.
Now this means that Nepal is already in the Indo-Pacific camp. But since it is a bilateral military exercise and thus nothing to suspect the very motive of the joint exercise as Nepal has been doing such joint military drills with several countries including China, Pakistan and India, however, what is a matter of concern to Nepali observers is that the US-Nepal military drills are being conducted in and around Nepal’s Mustang which adjoins the Chinese border. Mustang is a very sensitive area.
“When nations stand on the side of principles, not behind one power or the other, they earn respect of the world and a voice in international affairs”, it is strongly believed by Dr. Bhaskar Koirala.
“And you do not have to see it as the US trying to contain China from here Nepal”, so believes Dr. Koirala-an Old China hand in Nepal. Nepal matters for America and vice versa.
And almost this is what Anil Sigdel, the Director of the Washington based think tank “Nepal matters for America” too had talked to this scribe one month back. Dr. Sigdel and Dr. Koirala appear to be in the same page on Nepal’s joining the Indo-Pacific Club as proposed by America.
Nepali observers opine that Nepal’s joining the Indo-Pacific club as proposed by the US is not at all a bad idea, however, Nepal must exhibit its political and diplomatic acumen in such a way that such a diplomatic exercise neither annoys the US nor it blunts Nepal’s highly acclaimed credentials of the adherence to the policy of non-alignment both in letter and spirit.
Scholar Chandra Dev Bhatta opines that Nepal must play a diplomatic role that is smart and tactful in the changed context.
“In many cases, Chinese investment has harmed rather than helping the economic wellbeing of communities within the region by burdening the governments with unsustainable debts and funding projects that have no commercial job creation value,” Alice G Wells, US principal deputy assistant secretary at the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, told a group of South Asian journalists, Nepal included, during a media tour to the US some two months ago.
This explains to some extent as to what concerns the US Administration. The China factor.
“The Indo-Pacific strategy is not contradictory to the Belt and Road Initiative. We can reconcile the two broad foreign policy concepts, one coming from the US and the other from the northern neighbor China”, concludes Dr. Koirala.
This does mean that Nepal can easily be friendly to both the concepts-the one from the US and the other from China.
Now let’s look into the politics of the greater South Asia more so of the troubled Afghanistan.
Afghan Taliban Spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid has, February 11, 2019, said that if the Taliban do end up having a say in the Afghan polity one day they will approach Pakistan as a brother and a neighbor seeking comprehensive ties based on mutual respect just as we seek such relations with all other neighbors. He acknowledged that Pakistan had remained the most important hub for Afghan refugees during the Soviet invasion and that it was even considered a second home by Afghans.
In an exclusive interview with a Pakistani private TV channel, Zabiullah Mujahid also outlined the motivation for talks with the US the conditions in which they are prepared to negotiate and their vision for a new political order while insisting that the Taliban are holding talks with the United States on their own initiative.
Taliban’s Afghan Taliban Spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid made this observation right on the day, February 11, the US acting defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan arrived in Kabul which was his first stop in a week of travel that will also take him to NATO headquarters in Brussels to discuss with alliance defense ministers the state of U.S peace talks with the Taliban and President Trump’s desire to withdraw thousands of American troops from the NATO-led mission currently supporting the Afghan security forces.
Patrick Shanahan has very freshly replaced James Mattis who was sacked by President Trump, December 2018, on some matters where the two sharply differed.
Shanahan told reporters traveling along with him that he still has no orders from the president to withdraw any of the roughly 15,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, of which half are contributing to the NATO Resolute Support mission and half are assigned to the U.S.-only Freedom’s Sentinel counterterrorism mission.
In the meanwhile, lauding the China aided CPEC projects in Pakistan, the Chairman of Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed has said in the United Kingdom that China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is China’s vote of confidence in Pakistan and its promising future.
Mushahid Hussain Syed was speaking to student at the School of Oriental and African Studies at a seminar organized by Abdurrehman Chinoy, the Co-President of Queen’s Mary Pakistan Students Society. Senator Anwar-ul-Haq Kakar also spoke on the occasion writes Murtaza Shah for the News, a Pakistani Daily newspaper dated February 7, 2019.
Mushahid Hussain Syed said that China posted confidence in Pakistan and invested billions when no other country was ready to look at Pakistan and many countries were calling Pakistan a write-off case. “Today, things have changed and the naysayers are nowhere around. Now the talk has shifted to Pakistan’s legitimate position as a global and international player. That’s all.
Nepal matters for America; of the Indo-Pacific club, and Senator lauds CPEC
By N.P. Upadhyaya