Nepal's anti India Tirade: Testing Indian Diplomatic skills

Dr VK Bahuguna

July 25, 2020, 08:28:15   

Nepal is closest to India not only in terms of, geography, civilization, religion and culture but also in terms of blood relations. The two countries are known since long as one nation two countries. Both the countries have an open border and a VISA free travel and Indian currency is freely used in Nepal. As much as 60 lakh Nepali citizens (out of a population of 2.81 crore) live in India and earn their livelihoods. Nepalese living in India therefore are source of significant remittance of foreign currency to Nepal apart from what more than 25,000 Gurkha soldiers send home while serving in 7 Gurkha regiments of the Indian Army.Most of the Nepali soldiers in Indian Army are Rais and Limbus of eastern Nepal and Gurungs and Magars from the west Nepal. According to the data of the Nepal Rashtra Bank for the fiscal year 2018 a total of 784 billion Nepali Rupees remittances were received from as many as 189 countries from abroad. Out of this 784 billion India lead the remittance with 93 billion Rupees. The remittance from India increased from Rupees 500 billion to NPR 784 billion over a period of past 5 to 6 years. However, due to Covid-19 the remittances will be less this year but those Nepalese living in India are still able to eke out a living being supported by Indians. 

Ever since, the monarchy was overthrown by Indian educated Maoist the democratic governance in Nepal has never been smooth and Nepal is in the grip of political instability. Most of the Nepali leaders lack a comprehensive vision for an all encompassing democracy and there has been long haggling over the new constitution between political parties especially between the hills and the plain terai areas. Political jingoism and one-up man ship is the order of day in Nepal among the Nepalese politicians. The corruption is all pervading and people are suffering a lot due lack of a sound trajectory of political and economic development. In new democracies a stable and visionary leadership is essential especially in poor countries like Nepal where people are used as pawn by politicians to cling to power.

This writer has strong links with many top Nepali professionals as he frequently visits there and is aware of the positive feelings of Nepalese towards India. We need to discuss the contours of the current turmoil in relationship between two countries. After the end of Monarchy and initiation of democracy there has been a foreign funded larger group in Nepal whipping up anti Indian feelings precisely to take control over the resources of the Nepal. These groups are controlled by local foreign funded NGOs and a few of them are operating as fronts for spreading Christianity in Nepal and are rapidly gaining ground as there is no organized resistance to them. Yet another group is propped up by China and the communist regime is being stage managed by China to systematically cut the umbilical cord between Nepal and India. There is yet another group of intellectuals who suffer from a complex of size of India and periodically join the anti India brouhaha by propping up these groups.

It is not unusual for two neighbouring countries to have disputes but mature leadership solve differences in amicable manner. The recent postures and knee jerk statements of Nepali Prime Minister Oli are indications of a stupid leader throwing childish pranks. The funny statement on birth place of lord Ram being in Nepal, his rude invectives on boundary issues and spread of corona from India is unbecoming of a Prime Minister of a country.Such pranks are nothing less than diplomatic hara-kiri by Oli who is struggling to save his Chair with the help of his patrons in China.

International affairs experts all over the world know that anti India postures of current Nepali leaders are nothing but a diplomatic gimmickry at the behest of China. The recent amendment in constitution by incorporating around 400 sq km of Indian Territory by disputing the source of emergence of Kali River in Kalapani in the Nepali map has escalated the diplomatic tussle to a point of no return. It was done by deliberately objecting to the opening of a road by the Defence Minister on May 8th connecting Chinese border in the Pithoragarh district of Uttarakhand at the Lipulekh pass.There is no historicalbasis for Nepal's claim on the territory east of Kali which is based on the Limpiyadhura origin. The historically agreed fact is, the River actually takes the name Kali near Kalapani. Nepal is now changing the site of origin of Kali River to a stream west of Kalapani which is absurd considering the provisions of 1816 Sugauli treaty which fixes the Kali River as Nepal's western boundary with India. The boundary was settled by this treaty and 150 Sq km of area from South of Kalapani to Tinkar pass along with two villages of Chhangru and Tinkar was transferred to Nepal. It is a moot question whose maps were the Lipulekh, Limpiyadhura and Kalapani being shown so far. Obviously in Indian Map as genuine Indian Territory based on the 1816 treaty between two countries.

In fact the Uttarakhand people have a genuine grievances against Nepal which was well articulated by the retired Chief Secretary of Uttarakhand Mr NS Napalchyal recently in a webinar trashed the Nepali claim with irrefutable facts that Nepal owes apology for the atrocities they committed on Garhwali and Kumauni people during their despicable colonial rule before British ended it in 1815. If Nepali politicians can raise the emotion so can the Uttarakhand politicians could have started a movement for seeking apology for the atrocities committed by Nepali rulers. It will however, not solve the problem.Both the countries need to sit for dialogue but Nepal must think of the unbearable cost of bad relation with India Nepal have to sustain. Nepal is rich in natural and other resources and the focus of Nepali politicians should be on development of Nepal and to steer the country on the path of progress by remaining vigilant about their nation's cultural integrity with India and solve the issues in friendly manner. The Indian diplomatic corps must seize the opportunity and bring back good time again. Indian people love Nepal as Indian also have no other alternative.


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