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Machhapuchre Bank

With Anticipations

When the Indian media now tells the world that neighboring Bhutan may be afforded the concession of dealing separately with China as a bi-product of the elections held in that India-controlled neighbor and allots the change to the direct Xi-Modi talks, the silence in the usually vociferous Nepali political sector and its adjunct Nepali media is stunning. It took the late King Mahendra to remind a Nepali audience in course of his first state visit to the United Kingdom in 1960 that the political obsession in Nepal with her two neighbors China and India was in contradiction to the fact modern Nepal’s first diplomatic ties were held with Britain. The change since 1990 resumed the same blind China-India obsession to the point that the British Embassy here must issue Nepali citizens entry visas from its embassy consulate in New Delhi as a concession perhaps of this Nepali penchant. If the Xi-Modi talks could so affect India’s Bhutan policy, the effects the talks would have been felt on our Sino-Indian obsessions have only been measured in its silence. This is significant.
In the first place, the Indian media, by making public the results of very private one to one talks of the Modi-Xi talks suggests that very fundamental changes in traditional Indian regional politics is underway even when it applies to ‘hands-off’ Bhutan. This extent of cooperation between the two Asian giants is verifiable elsewhere too amidst the global flux of current days. The United States, it seems, by President Donald Trump’s rejection of the Indian invitation for his attendance at January’s Republic Day parade, is suggestion something equally significant. So is the Indian purchase of Iranian oil or the multi billion worth Russian arms purchase since both these countries are under American sanctions. The independence demonstrated in these moves, one dares hope, may also apply to differing China policies of India and the United States as a result of which also, one is tempted to conclude, is the Indian admission of change in Sino-Indian approaches to the neighborhood. This would of course dishearten the engineers of Nepali India-propped politics which over decades deconstructed realistic Nepali politics to the detriment of Chinese security interests here. This explains the silence.
For advocates of change such as us, we cannot but welcome any semblance of real cooperation between India and China that fosters amidst this global flux. It does not take a Doklam for such a change to be energized in Nepal. It merely needs corrections brought in by Indian and Western engineered tilts in Nepali politics. The non-results of the last decade of radical cosmetic-ism has not only increased Nepali awareness of eroding Nepali capabilities but should have also wizened our neighbors of the unreliability of the self-styled stalwarts of Nepali change. Indian policy makers cannot be blind to the fact that anti-Indian-ism has never been so pervasive as under the current dispensation at the popular level in this neighboring country nor can their Chinese counterparts ignore the unreliability of our change-agents in managing Chinese security interests in areas where security matters for them. Indeed, both these countries should by now be abundantly clear that today’s Nepal has been turned into a hot bed of international confrontation and the Nepali leadership of today has prompted this unhealthy situation solely for a share in the unhealthy spoils. Yes Sino-Indian cooperation is overly due but in the Nepali case, this round, the Nepali interest must prevail if such cooperation is to yield permanent fruits. One awaits the corrections with anticipation.

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