Nepal is currently suffering very badly from the acute shortage of petroleum products because of India’s inhuman and illegal blockade. The Indian blockade has definitely caused tremendous hardship to Nepalese people but people are patient and seem to be prepared to face it rather than capitulating to India’s unnecessary conditions, pressures and interference. This, however, should be taken in a positive note because the blockade has opened the eyes of the rulers, leaders and officials in Nepal. It has at least made all of us to think of an alternative arrangement for the supply of fuel. Thus, this blockade has taught all the Nepalese a good lesson that we should not be over dependent on a particular country and give it a monopoly on strategic matters including the supply of fuel.
Fuel has become a powerful strategic commodity and a key tool in the international political and strategic power play in the world. India has used this strategic weapon to make Nepal accept its unacceptable conditions. However, Nepal has so far resisted India’s irrational and illogical blockade and is trying to seek an alternative for the supply of fuel.
This is not the first time India has used this weapon. In fact, it is the third time India has imposed blockade against the land-locked Nepal. But unfortunately, Nepal never learnt lesson from the previous two blockades and did not seek to make an alternative arrangement. Thus, we are suffering from Nepal partly from India’s decision and partly from our own indecision. Had Nepal made an alternative arrangement taking lesson from the earlier blockades, this situation would not have arisen now and Nepal’s position viz-a-vi India would not have been so vulnerable as it is now. Thus, Nepalese rulers, leaders and officials, in a way, are responsible for this situation.
In the international strategic sphere, monopoly power is an ugly tool, which no one can ever be prepared to provide to any country and organization for any nature of work. Moreover, supply of fuel is such a vital issue on which Nepal had to be sensitive right from the beginning. India’s intention has always been malicious, which is not a recent phenomenon but a perpetual one. Right from the Sugauli Treaty, which stripped Nepal of more than one-third of its territory, India has always been trying to maintain its monopoly in all spheres of affairs in Nepal. Since then Nepal’s only strategy has been to keep its sovereign status and independence safe from India’s hegemonic design. It is this reason why Nepal has often faced tremendous difficulty at different intervals of history.
But Nepal never foresaw the possible blockade even after two worst blockades imposed by India in the past. Every Indian blockade has a malicious design of limiting Nepal’ sovereignty and independent status. India’s design is becoming more obvious which all Nepalese people have now come to know more clearly. India’s policy in Nepal is guided by its three-pronged strategy. India is weighing all three strategies and is at work to implement them. Its ultimate goal is Sikkimization of Nepal. This strategy includes the design to ultimately annex Nepal by force or by tricks, which was done in the case of Sikkim in 1975. Until then Sikkim was an independent country but India applied all possible means to finally annex it into Indian union. Prior to Sikkimization, its plan in Nepal is to apply Bhutanization model under which India wants to control security and foreign policy matters and make Nepal strictly follow New Delhi’s diktats as Thimpu is currently doing. The third one is Fiji model under which India is desirous to capture the central power in Nepal through engineered election. In Fiji, majority people are of Indian origin and in election pro-Indian candidates win the election and India tries to control the entire state apparatus through them. This situation in Fiji did not emerge overnight but took long process and time. After a long and planned exercise, India has been able to create present situation in Fiji. In Nepal, India is currently working for Fiji model, under which New Delhi has been exporting its people to Nepal and encouraging them to settle in Nepal. At the same time, India is exerting pressure upon Nepal government to grant newly arrived Indians citizenship certificate. This is being done to ensure majority of Indian people in Nepal so that Indians could win majority in the next election by which India could directly control Nepal’s governance and affairs. The current blockade is the well orchestrated design and plan of India to which, unfortunately, some of our own people are supporting. What can be more ironic than this when Nepalese people are extending support to those who have imposed blockade against us and forcing our fellow citizens to suffer?
Nepalese rulers, leaders and officials have never learnt a lesson in serious manner from every blockade. The last blockade was in 1988/89 or 26 years ago. But Nepal did not do anything to devise an alternative strategy in case of such blockade. Instead, Nepal’s dependency further intensified in all sectors. As a result, India has used this weapon against Nepal time and again. Had Nepal made an alternative arrangement visualizing such an eventuality, India would not have tried to squeeze Nepal every time.
Now, Nepal is trying to bring fuel from China in order to solve the present crisis. However, it should not be mere temporary phenomenon. A permanent arrangement has to be made with China so that fuel can be imported from both of our two immediate neighbors even during normal circumstances. If we are able to import fuel from China, India will think twice to take such a harsh decision in future. Thus, India’s present blockade should be taken as big and serious lesson by all of us and we have to accordingly devise an effective strategy to cope with the situation to be arisen from such blockade in the days to come. Moreover, Nepal should not waste time to internationalize this issue as India has denied Nepal its free transit rights which has been granted by international laws.