Impacts of India’s Transit Warfare against Nepal (2)
Professor Bishnu Pathak

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Former PM Sushil Koirala instructed all concerned institutions and actors to open Nepo-China transit as soon as possible[80], but it could not go beyond lip-service. Despite repeatedly asking “what humanitarian and commodity supports you are looking for from China, please tell us” by Chinese authorities, Nepal has failed to put forward a concrete proposal. Besides, Nepal’s Ambassador in New Delhi, Deep Kumar Upadhyay, did not play a significant role to minimize the Nepo-India differences through diplomacy. He represents the Nepali Congress and Nepali Congress party, always encircled by vicious circle of confusion. That is repeated this time again.

Last, Nepal never tries to materialize the experiences learnt from past blockades by India. Jawaharlal Nehru initiated the soft blockade to Nepal in July 1950 for not entering third countries’ goods into Nepal via India [81]. The then PM Indira Gandhi also introduced a transit blockade in 1970, demanding a revisit on the provisions of trade transit treaty. Moreover, PM Gandhi wanted to use indigenous people[82] to intervene in Nepal[83]. While late King Birendra brought weapons from China, India’s PM Rajib Gandhi initiated a trade blockade showing trade and transit rights which expired in 1988. The blockade made a shortage of Indian imports such as gasoline, cooking oil, salt, food, and other essential commodities. However, the Panchayati Government brought the above-mentioned essential commodities by airlifting from Bangladesh, unlike the mute-procession of the former Nepali Congress-led Government. The principal cause was that India puts Nepal under its bigoted security umbrella. The blockade helped to restore multi-party democracy in Nepal in 1990[84]. There is a passport system even in Pakistan and Bangladesh[85] and Indo-Pakistan and Indo-Bangladesh borders are sealed, but Nepo-India wipes out such restrictions. Even Nehru once said, “Aggression against Nepal is tantamount to aggression against India”[86]. Unlike restricted border in the world, Nepo-India has a porous border which covers more than 1,600 km; east, west and south.

India supported democratic movement in 1950 and restoring democracy in 1990 in Nepal. In return, Nepal has delivered most of the noted irrigation projects to them. Most such deliverances were signed to India by heads of the Nepali Congress Government, initiated by its founder B P Koirala. Most of the times, Nepali Congress has been heading Nepal after 1990[87]. Nepal has roji–roti-beti[88] relations[89] with India. Even though, communists are closer to China. India has a fear that, once the Communist Government forms in Nepal with a strong tie between two major community forces[90], India’s hegemony from Nepal would be gone. Present transit warfare is also a failed step to stop communists from capturing state power. From communist-led Government of Nepal, India felt insecure. However, both never try to resolve such fear and suspicion through mutual dialogue[91]. The Government of Nepal has never dared to talk on this matter due to its inferior intricacy, but India by superior complexity.

Even the CPN (UML) was given a birth at Calcutta, India. The UCPN (Maoist) took full-fledged moral, financial, technical and shelter support from India while they were fighting against Nepal’s constitutional forces and monarchy in the name of the People’s War. However, UML and the Maoist did not bow their heads this time (2015) in the face of power, politics and property of India. None of the governments in Nepal in seven decades of democracy have been able to complete their full tenure successfully due to India’s influential role in the Government of Nepal[92].

Conclusion

The present crisis of transit warfare is the talk of the town, even in diplomatic communities. On October 8, 2015, the US Department of State advised its citizens to consider their plans to visit Nepal because of India’s blockades[93]. Therefore, Nepal produces huge speculations, horizontally and vertically. First, the PM Modi led-government tries to keep all neighbors under its umbrella rather than pursuing sovereign equality, territorial integrity, non-intervention and aggression and mutual respect. Second, India disrespects rights of transit trade of landlocked countries, humanitarian law, human rights conventions and treaties and world trade organization. Third, India is trying to re-elect present President Ram Baran Yadav again or from Tarai-Madhes leader, fully aware of the fact that the next President shall be from Pahade community. Fourth, Nepal has a fear that the delineation of boundaries of Tarai-Madhes province based on the population may lead to succession of Nepal in the long run, sending more people from the neighboring Bihar and UP. Besides, the more representation of Madhesi in Nepal’s state mechanism proliferates India’s power bargaining for its vested interests.

CPN-UML Chairman K P Oli[98] has been elected as a new Prime Minister with 338 (56.5%) votes from the Legislative Parliament on October 11, 2015. Oli defeated outgoing PM Sushil Koirala against 249 votes. Koirala violated the gentlemen agreement to support Oli for PM that had agreed in 16-point deal in June 2015[99]. India dispatched former RAW Chief A B Mathur with 930 million Indian currency[100] to defeat the candidate of PM Oli. To plot Koirala’s victory, a skull session (consultative meeting) was help among President Dr. Ram Baran Yadav, PM Sushil Koirala, former PM Sher Bahadur Deuba, Mathur and Ambassador Rae on October 10[101]. Same night, Mathur and Rae invited Tarai-Madhes agitating leaders of the United Democratic Madhesis Front into the Indian Embassy. Rae, skipper of Tarai-Madhes agitation said, “India has been supporting your Tarai-Madhes agitation. You could not stay as neutral. The winning of Oli as a Prime Minister of Nepal is a defeat of India. You need to cast votes to Koirala. If you do not support him, we will uplift the blockade”[102]. They voted in favor of Koirala, but he defeated with a huge margin. It is to be remarkable that the Front leaders boycotted the Constitution-making process in the CA II, but voted under the same Constitution. Thus, India has been providing moral, financial, technical and sending people to support Tarai-Madhes agitation.

India is alone in this South Asian region as its border directly and indirectly links with all member states of the SAARC. Except Bhutan, all neighboring countries such as Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka and among others have been competing “anonymity” relations with India as compared to peace, harmony and friendship. This happens while Indian Government tries to impose democratic oligarchy, security feudalism, capitalist socialism, justice anarchy, controlled friendship and authoritarian rule of law.

After Pakistan, Nepal’s transit warfare is India’s biggest foreign policy failure[103]. PM Oli told the Indian Ambassador to mind his own business. Prachanda says that Nepal is not India’s yes-man. Sushil Koirala is suspicious of India[104]. On September 22, from the Tudikhel speech, Prachanda expressed his unhappiness with Modi’s special envoy S. Jaishankar as Jaishankar humiliated and disrespected him[105]. Does Nepal’s special envoy visit in India disrespect any former PM of mainstream leader in such an ungrateful manner? The answer is no. Nepali Congress Prime Ministers never feel humiliation while an Indian ambassador directly holds a meeting with them, frequently without informing the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and without noticing protocol status. Can Nepal’s ambassador residing in New Delhi enjoy such talk with the Prime Minister of India? No, never. It is very difficult to meet even with a concerned Minister at New Delhi, despite repeated requests by Nepal’s ambassador.

Nepal’s mainstream leaders, despite the politico-ideological spectrum, are united against India’s Constitutional amendments[106]. Nepo-India relations should be redefined by India to safeguard both nation’s interests. The Kathmandu elite should realize that Nepal needs to deal with a new agreement as per the wishes of people with India[107]. India should remember how Nepali people were recruited[108] in the past to sacrifice against the British for Indian people.

General people turn to China for its active role of “warm-friendship” in Nepal, ignoring generations-old cold-friendship diplomacy, silence-negotiation, sadistic policy and mute-procession. Continuing the silence may raise a security threat from Nepal for the secession of Tibet due to a 1,400 km long porous Nepo-China border. China’s positive cooperation in Nepal may help to promote Panchasheel in this region. The need of SAARC is collapsed unless India abandons expansionist hegemony or China’s active participation in the SAARC.

The present crisis of Nepal, rather than being homegrown, has been imported from India. All agitating Tarai-Madhes leaders accepted that they are being backed by India. That is why people of Nepal are pressing the Government not to bow down their heads in front of India. There is a huge voice to take stern action to Ambassador Rae against the Goebbels’-style reporting. The whipping up of anti-Indian sentiments shall only be stopped once India lifts up the transit blockade and makes a public apology in front of the people.

ENDNOTES:

[1] “Oli” is a surname of K P Sharma (or K P Sharma Oli) who is a Chairperson of the Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist-Leninist)

[2] Ratopati. October 15, 2015. Bharatle Afulai Phasayeko Madhesi Morcha Netako Arop (Leader of Madhesi Front allegedly said India Deceived Us). Online Available in http://www.ratopati.com/news/8899/ (Accessed on October 16, 2015).

[3] The author appreciates Modi’s synergy of societal transformation following the bottom up approach. He analyzed Modi’s works into seven freedoms doctrine to Nepal. See, Pathak, Bishnu. September 28, 2014. India’s Seven Freedom Doctrine to Nepal. Online Available in http://www.e-ir.info/2014/09/28/indias-seven-freedoms-doctrine-to-nepal/ (Accessed on October 10, 2015).

[4] President Xi Jinping of China addresses during the 70th session of the UN General Assembly, UN Headquarters in New York

[5] BBC. September 24, 2015. Nepal constitution: New border protests block supplies from India. London

[6] Bhaumik, Subir. October 5, 2015. “India needs no Monroe Doctrine”. The Hindu. New Delhi

[7] CNN. October 3, 2015. Nepal accuses India of ‘trade blockade’ amid fuel crisis. Washington

[8] 10 percent Madhesi dwellers at the CA II

[9] Private vehicles including motor bikes are restricted to purchasing gasoline from the public pumps. Himalayan Times. September 30, 2015. Private vehicles barred from purchasing fuel. Kathmandu

[10] Most of the industries are closed in the lack of raw materials and petroleum products. Himalayan Times. October 4, 2015. “Industries on the verge of collapse”. Perspectives. Kathmandu

[11] Kathmandu Post. ’40pc of hotels, restaurants shut’. Kathmandu.

[12] Pathak, Bishnu. 2005. Politics of People’s War and Human Rights in Nepal. Kathmandu: BIMIPA Publications.

[13] Nepali Times. October 3, 2015. Blockade lifted. Kathmandu

[14] Kathmandu Post. October 5, 2015. India commits not to stop goods supply. Kathmandu

[15] ignoring great majority population

[16] The Government of Nepal Act 1948, the Interim Government of Nepal Act 1951, The Constitution of Kingdom of Nepal 1959, The Constitution of Nepal 1962, The Constitution of Kingdom of Nepal 1990 and the Interim Constitution of Nepal 2007.

[17] Constitution of Nepal 2015.

[18] Nepali Times. September 20, 2015. People’s Constitution. Kathmandu

[19] Some of the major events those led to promulgate a republic constitution were: last monarch reinstated parliament on April 24, 2006; 25-point code of conduct of truce on May 26, 2006; King’s power scraped by parliament on June 10, 2006; Comprehensive Peace Agreement on November 21, 2006; Nepali Congress decided to go into Republican State on September 26, 2007; the CA I elections held in April 2008; the first meeting of the CA I declared Nepal a Republic on May 28, 2008; the CA I dissolved on May 27, 2012; while Bhattarai-led Government failed to hold CA II elections, parties formed a neutral government under the Chief Justice on March 14, 2013; the CA II elections held in November 2013; NC, UML and UCNP-Maoist 16-point agreement on June 8, 2015; and a new Constitution promulgated on September 20, 2015.

[20] Himalayan Times. September 21, 2015. Statute protested in Saptari, Mahottari. Kathmandu

[21] Indian Express. September 20, 2015. India asks Nepal to resolve differences via peaceful dialogue. New Delhi

[22] US Department of State. September 21, 2015. Daily Press Briefing. Washington.

[23] Eherald post. September 29, 2015. Obama expresses happiness for new constitution in Nepal. Online Available in www.eheraldpost.com/en/obama-expresses-happiness-for-new-constitution-in-nepal/ (Accessed on September 29, 2015).

[24] Kathmandu Post. September 21, 2015. China congratulates Nepal on the promulgation of the constitution. Kathmandu.

[25] The New York Times. September 27, 2015. Xi Jinping of China Calls for Cooperation and Partnerships in U.N. Speech. New York.

[26] Kathmandu Post. September 30, 2015. Xi: Respect another country’s sovereignty. Kathmandu

[27] Republica. September 23, 2015. Germany, France, US greet new constitution UN ‘acknowledges’. Kathmandu

[28] Republica. September 16, 2015. UK, Germany, Russia welcome new constitution. Kathmandu

[29] Republica. September 23, 2015. Germany, France, US greet new constitution UN ‘acknowledges’. Kathmandu

[30] Gautam, Kul Chandra. September 28, 2015. Opinion: U.N.’s Mixed Messages on Nepal’s Constitution. Inter Press Service News Agency.

[31] Gautam, Kul Chandra. September 28, 2015. Opinion: U.N.’s Mixed Messages on Nepal’s Constitution. Inter Press Service News Agency.

[32] Himalayan Times. September 29, 2015. New Constitution Welcomed. Kathmandu.

[33] Republica. September 28, 2015. DPM Singh holds meeting with Bhutanese PM. Kathmandu

[34] Kathmandu Post. October 7, 2015. Indian Embassy asks NOC for Oil. Kathmandu

[35] Ibid

[36] Hill and Mountain dwellers

[37] Inhabitants of Tarai-Madhes, plain areas bordering with India

[38] Republica. October 6, 2015. EU countries to distribute humanitarian supplies in Nepal. Kathmandu

[39] Himalayan Times. September 29, 2015. Mahat warns of humanitarian crisis. Kathmandu.

[40] The Indian Express. September 24, 2015. Make seven changes to your Constitution: India tells Nepal. New Delhi.

[41] Namely, President, Vice-President, Prime Minister, Chief Justice, Speaker of Parliament, Chairperson of National Assembly, Head of Province, Chief Minister, Speaker of Provincial Assembly and Chief of Security Bodies.

[42] Kashmir Monitor. September 24, 2015. Make seven changes to your Constitution: India tells Nepal. Srinagar

[43] The Hindu. September 26, 2015. Vikas Swarup to be new spokesperson of External Affairs Ministry. New Delhi

[44] The Kathmandu Post. September 27, 2015. India has supported our agitation: Leader Rai. Kathmandu

[45] The Himalayan Times. September 26, 2015. Upendra Yadav stresses on implementation of past pacts, says 7-point demand not of UDMF. Kathmandu

[46] The Himalayan Times. September 24, 2015. 7-point proposal put forth by Madhesi parties: Laxman Lal Karna. Kathmandu

[47] Central Bureau of Statistics, Government of Nepal on September 30, 2015

[48] For instance, The Times of India. September 24, 2015. Nepal messed up its constitution, India messed up its handling of Nepal. New Delhi

[49] The Constitution of India. Modified on December 1, 2007. Ministry of Law and Justice, Government of India.

[50] Hasan, Zoya. 2004. Indian Elections 2004: A Setback for BJP’s Exclusive Agenda. New Delhi: Nehru University.

[51] Vembu. June 30, 2012. Sonia-as-PM in 2004: Has Kalam backtracked or is Swamy wrong? Firstpost.

[52] Article 84.8 under federal Parliament, “Notwithstanding anything contained elsewhere in this Article, women should account for at least one third of total members elected from each party in Federal Parliament. In case, one-third percentage of women are not elected while being elected under section (a) of clause (1), and section (a), clause (2) of Article 84, the party that fails to ensure one-third representation shall have to elect at least one-third of total numbers as woman in the Federal Parliament while electing members under section (b) of clause (1)”.

[53] Kathmandu Post. September 29, 2015. Protests rage across country against India’s blockade. Kathmandu

[54] Nepalese Students burnt effigies of India PM Narendra Modi (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8N9dl7Dndns), Modi’s effigy burned in Nepal (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zcSs5_u6NDA), Indian PM Modi’s effigy burned at Dhangadhi in Nepal (Online Available in https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3nZiy-z0z0M) (Accessed on September 29, 2015) and Republica. September 26, 2015. Narendra Modi’s effigy burned in Dhangadhi. Kathmandu

[55] Kathmandu Post. September 30, 2015. Delhi concerned over ‘whipping up of anti-India sentiments. Kathmandu.

[56] India-Forums. September 28, 2015. Nepal cable operators to stop broadcast of Indian channels. Indo Asian News Service

[57] OneIndia. September 23, 2015. CPI (M) slams Modi govt for ‘arrogant intervention’ in Nepal. Online Available in www.oneindia.com/contact.html (Accessed on September 29, 2015)

[58] Kathmandu Post. September 28, 2015. Indian position on Nepal ‘unfortunate’: CPI (M). Kathmandu

[59] Republica. October 6, 2015. Indian Congress urges PM Modi to restore India-Nepal ties. Kathmandu

[60] The Economic Times. October 5, 2015. Congress urges PM Narendra Modi to restore India-Nepal ties amidst crisis. New Delhi

[61] Kathmandu Post. September 29, 2015. NC Madhes leaders table 4-pt suggestion. Kathmandu

[62] Setopati. June 9, 2015. Parties sign 16-point agreement to draft constitution (With full text of agreement in Nepali). Online Available in setopati.net/politics/6953/Parties-sign-16-point-agreement-to-draft-constitution-(With-full-text-of-agreement-in-Nepali-)/ (Accessed on October 3, 2015)

[63] Karki, Rohit. India’s Interest on Nepal’s Federalism. Online Available in nepalforeignaffairs.com/indias-interest-on-nepals-federalism/ (Accessed on October 3, 2015)

[64] Nepal Research. Elections of 19 November 2013. Online Available in www.nepalresearch.com/ (Accessed on October 4, 2015).

[65] Pyakurel, Subodh. September 28, 2015. 15 point open letter to Modi from an angry Nepali. CatchNews

[66] Ibid

[67] September 14 to 18, 2015

[68] Nepal. October 4, 2015. Dakshin Dhakka (South Shaking). Kathmandu: Kantipur Publications.

[69] Nepal Foreign Affairs. September 28, 2015. Commentary: Back off India. Online Available in nepalforeignaffairs.com/commentary-back-off-india/ (Accessed on September 30, 2015)

[70] Srivastava, Pyush. August 30, 2015. Home Ministry fears for Madhesis in Nepal after alleged atrocities against the community. MailonlineIndia.

[71] Ibid.

[72] Ibid.

[73] CPN (UML) and the UCPN (Maoist)

[74] Nepali Times. September 26, 2015. Bhattarai quits Maoist party. Kathmandu

[75] Himalayan Times. September 28, 2015. BRB keep to join Madhesis. Kathmandu.

[76] Himalayan Times. September 29, 2015. Baburam Bhattarai’s stage set on fire, Ram Chandra Jha beaten up in Janakpur. Kathmandu

[77] Inaugural Address by the President of India Shri Pranab Mukharjee at the Concluding Conference on “Cooperative Development, Peace and Security in South Asia and Central Asia” on September 30, 2015. Online Available in www.facebook.com/presidentofindiarb/posts/714585015308149 (Accessed on October 1, 2015)

[78] Pyakurel, Subodh. September 28, 2015. 15 point open letter to Modi from an angry Nepali. CatchNews

[79] Personal communication on October 3, 2015 at park village resort, Kathmandu

[80] Kantipur. September 29, 2015. Chiniya Naka Khulaun Pahal (Initiation to Open China Transit Point). Kathmandu

[81] Nepal. October 4, 2015. Dakshin Dhakka (South Shaking). Kathmandu: Kantipur Publications

[82] Gurung, Limbu, Rai, Magar and so forth.

[83] Gurung, Khagendra Jung. Ashar 20, 2067 BS. “Indira Gandhilai Vedta (Meeting with India Gandhi)”. Nepal Weekly. Kathmandu

[84] Pathak, Bishnu. May 23, 2009. Nepal-India Relations: Open Secret Diplomacy. Situation Update 84. Kathmandu: PCS Center.

[85] Religious split occurred in India to Pakistan in 1947 and linguistic split to Bangladesh from Pakistan in 1971.

[86] Nepali Times. August 02, 2000. The enigma of distance. Kathmandu

[87] That attains restoration of multi-party democracy

[88] Pathak, Bishnu. May 23, 2009. Nepal-India Relations: Open Secret Diplomacy. Situation Update 84. Kathmandu: PCS Center.

[89] relation of employment, bread and daughter

[90] UML and the Maoists

[91] direct/indirect and formal/informal

[92] Pathak, Bishnu. May 23, 2009. Nepal-India Relations: Open Secret Diplomacy. Situation Update 84. Kathmandu: PCS Center.

[93] Kathmandu Post. October 10, 2015. Border blockade: US warns visiting citizens. Kathmandu

[94] a birth place of Hindu goddesses Sita

[95] the birthplace of Lord Buddha

[96] place of liberation (moksha) for both Hindus and Buddhists.

[97] The Economic Times. June 9, 2015. Nepal objects to India-China trade pact via Lipu-Lekh Pass. New Delhi

[98] 6th Prime Minister from the communist party and 4th from the UML

[99] Kathmandu Post. October 12, 2015. UML’s Oli elected new PM. Kathmandu

[100] The money was transferred via the State Bank of India to Indian Embassy Official. Josse, MR. October 14, 2015. “Urgently needed: strategy to ‘contain’ India”. People’s Review. Online Available in http://www.peoplesreview.com.np/ (Accessed on October 16, 201).

[101] Ibid

[102] Ratopati. October 15, 2015. Bharatle Afulai Phasayeko Madhesi Morcha Netako Arop (Leader of Madhesi Front allegedly said India Deceived Us). Online Available in http://www.ratopati.com/news/8899/ (Accessed on October 16, 2015).

[103] Bhushan, Bharat. September 23, 2015. India’s spectacular policy failure in Nepal. Catchnews.

[104] Ibid

[105] Dhakal, Bindesh. September 29, 2015. “Indian designs”. Republica. Kathmandu

[106] Bhushan, Bharat. September 23, 2015. India’s spectacular policy failure in Nepal. Catchnews.

[107] Ibid

[108] Gorkha Rifles Regiments and British Indian Army since 1815.

 

 


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