While Nepal expects good neighborly treatment from India and it has been accordingly demonstrating its honest behavior, India is playing foul trying to squeeze Nepal and pushing it further towards the corner. It’s been almost one and half month since India has imposed blockade, which has caused tremendous difficulty in Nepal as trade and supplies have virtually been crippled. This is New Delhi’s design to fail Nepal so that it will be easier to keep this Himalayan republic under its ugly grip.
India has imposed the blockade under the pretext of supporting the movement and cause of the Madhesi people. But it is all farce and intrigue. Madhesi people should not be mistaken by Indian design. India does not support Nepal and Nepalese people but only its lackeys. If we look at retrospect how India has always tried to bully and squeeze Nepal on different occasion ignoring simplest neighborly spirit and violating established international norms, values and laws, India ill design becomes clear. This is not the first time India has imposed the blockade but has done on different occasions. India has always been using the weapon of blockade and halt of fuel supply to make Nepal accept New Delhi’s harsh conditions.
The present blockade is different from the past ones. In the previous blockades, Indian government was the sole perpetrator. Now India has created so many its agents and gofers that they are collaborating with New Delhi to suck up Nepal. The ongoing Madhes movement is not the spontaneous movement of the Nepalese people but instigated and engineered by India. The genuine Madhesi people are not involved in the movement as the very demands of the agitators seek to harm the genuine Nepalese Madhesis.
One of the demands is the citizenship for all those who are living in Nepal and the other demand is to constitutionally grant the naturalized citizens the right to be elected to the key post of the country like president, vice president, prime minister and the chief minister. India has been backing these demands, which is unjust and irrational. Both of the demands are detrimental to Nepal and harm the genuine Madhesi people. Even India has not granted such rights and facilities to its own people. The Indian law bars people, who settled in India after 1971, to participate in the voting in any of the election. Only the people who settled in India before 1971 are allowed to vote. So the people settled in India after 1971 are not entitled to get all state benefits let alone the right to get Indian citizenship. As far as the other issue concerning the right of naturalized citizens is concerned, India has constitutional and legal provision of not allowing the naturalized citizen to acquire the key position of president, prime minister and so on.
Had Indian constitution and laws allowed the naturalized citizens to acquire such key positions, Sonia Gandhi would have become prime minister or president of India long ago. When India itself does not have such provision, why it is forcing Nepal to accept this condition and why it is interfering in Nepal’s internal affairs. What will India react, if any other neighbor or external power advises India to have this or that in its constitution? Thus, India needs to treat its neighbor in the same way, it seeks from other countries especially when it comes to its own internal affairs.
Now Nepal seems to have learnt a lesson and has approached China for the supply of fuel and other essentials after India imposed the blockade. This is a good move Nepal has initiated. Accordingly, China, too, has responded positively and has already provided 1000 metric tons of petrol to Nepal as grant and Beijing is ready to supply fuel to Nepal regularly on commercial basis, for which a memorandum of understanding has already been signed. Nepal, now, is expected to expedite this process and finalize all details for importing fuel from China. It should be made a permanent arrangement even if India lifts embargo in future. But there is a practical difficulty to solely depend upon China for the supply of all essential commodities because of road conditions. Thus, Nepal and China need to jointly work to widen Kathmandu-Keyrung road and improve Aranika Highway so that these roads are in operation throughout the year and also become Nepal’s line.
The other most serious and important issue is the Nepal-India border. Although some have been calling it open border, no agreement and treaty between Nepal and India has ever accepted the open border. During the Rana period and even later, there was a passport system and anyone who wanted to go to India required to take permission from Nepal government while any Indian wishing to enter into Kathmandu Valley also needed written permission of the Nepal government. India says the 1950 treaty is the basis for relations between Nepal and India. But the 1950 treat also does not state anywhere the concept of open border. It is therefore right time Nepal needs to start regulating Nepal-India border and keep records of every Indian entering into Nepal. This is necessary because some criminal Indians are found to have been involved in the violent activities in the border area and elsewhere. It will also be in the interest for both the countries.