[Diplomacy] Nepal Logjam (Part 3 of 3): Chinese presence, Anti-India sentiments, how & why India’s policy failed

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Pavan Kumar
  1. Introduction
  2. Chinese Influence in Nepal
  3. USA
  4. Murderers are free
  5. Human rights are selective
  6. Corruption
  7. Reservation in Army Jobs
  8. Ethnic Unrest
  9. Anger against UN and International Community
  10. Land transfer
  11. The Priest Appointment
  12. Why Anti-India sentiment in Nepal?
  13. Regressive forces
  14. Change of India’s Stand
  15. Criticism of India’s Nepal Policy

Introduction

Nepal logjam is a three part article series. Make sure you’ve read previous parts, before proceeding further.

PartTopicsLink
1 of 3
  • India’s Nepal Policy (2005)
  • Why CA can’t deliver a new Constitution for Nepal.
  • Why four Prime ministers have changed in Nepal between 2008 to 2011.
Click ME
2 of 3
  • Internal disputes within Maoist Party. How Kiran made his separate party and now continues “Anti-India” campaign in Nepal.
  • Why Elections are not held in Nepal
Click ME
3 of 3
  • Chinese presence in Nepal
  • how and why India’s Nepal Policy (2005)=#epicfail.
Discussed in this article.

Chinese Influence in Nepal

  • However in the late 80s, King of Nepal decided to buy weapons from China.
  • India responded by putting trade-embargo on Nepal. This completely paralyzed the Nepalese economy.
  • Thus, Royal+Political establishment in Nepal learned the lesson ki “India se pangaa =bahut mahengaa.”(If we annoy India, it’ll be very costly for us!)
  • So, the Nepal King cancelled weapons deal with China and maintained a bit of distance from Chinese authorities.
  • But ever since the abolition of Monarchy, China is building strong relations with Nepal.

Lumbini Special Development Zone

  • Lumbini, about 50 km from India’s border.
  • It is a pilgrim place for Buddhists and Hindus.
  • Asia Pacific Exchange and Cooperation Foundation (APECF)= NGO backed by Chinese Government.
  • APECF has signed deal with Nepalese Government to Development this area. (Project worth $3 billion.)
  • This has upset India, because we wanted to develop this tourist city on our own.

Infrastructure

  • China is upgrading an existing airport in the tourist city of Pokhara
  • China is building four major roads along the Nepal-Tibet border and four dry ports for Nepal.

Defense

  • China is setting up a training academy for the Armed Police Force,
  • China gives annual financial assistance to Nepalese paramilitary forces and the Civil Police.

Cash

  • China has given billions of Nepali rupees as soft loan.

Tibet

  • Nepal’s stand on Tibet = We recognize Tibet as China’s integral part. (One China policy)
  • When Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao visited Nepal, the Baburam’s Government made elaborate arrangements to make sure no “Free-Tibet” activist ruined the visit.

USA

2003USA  banned the Nepali Maoist party as a “terrorist organization.”
September 2012US has taken their name off the list of terrorist organizations.

This is seen as a move to become friendly with the Nepalese Government (presently headed by Maoist party) and prevent absolute domination of either China or India in this country. Anyways, back to the point:

Murderers are free

  • Supreme Court of Nepal, convicted a Maoist MP for murder.
  • But since he belongs to PM Baburam Bhattarai’s party, the Government isnot doing anything.
  • In fact Prime Minister asked the President to pardon that fellow!
  • The Speaker of Nepalese “Lok Sabha” did not disqualify the said Murderer MP even after court-conviction.
  • This has eroded Bhattarai’s image in local crowd + among international players.(UN, India etc.)

Human rights are selective

  • Amnesty International and other human rights’ groups say that Nepal’s Government (led by Maoists) is not prosecuting their own leaders for genocide and crimes against humanity.
  • PM Bhattarai has unilaterally withdrawn human rights violation cases, including those of murder and abductions, against his party leaders and cadre.
  • It seems the international community has chosen to shut its eyes to the atrocities committed by the Maoists, in the name of getting “politically stable” Nepal.
  • On the other hand, some Nepalese Army officials are being prosecuted for “Human rights violation” during civil war. This is creating bitterness between Army and Government.

UN Mission to Nepal (UNMIN)

  • To assist the peace process
  • To manage the arms and armies of the Maoist party (after they joined democratic process in 2006)
  • 2010: UNMIN left Nepal.
  • UNMIN has been accused of being Pro-Maoist, when it came to handling human rights violation.

Corruption

  • (2011) Nepal’s ranks around 150 in the Transparency International, so you get the idea of how things roll in Nepal.
  • The officers from Irrigation department complained to Prime minister that Irrigation minister doesn’t pass any project unless bribes are paid to him in advance.
  • Similarly bureaucrats from almost every department have openly alleged that ministers demand huge bribes for transfers, promotions and plum postings.
  • Elections to local bodies have not been conducted in the past decade.
  • Asian Development Bank and the World Bank reports show heavy corruption in poverty removal programs done at national and local levels.

Reservation in Army Jobs

  • One of the Coalition partners of Maoist Government = the United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF) aka Madhesi party.
Madhesi party@Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai,

  • provide for reservation of 3,000 posts in Army for Madhesis and create a separate regiment for them, else we’ll pull off support from this coalition.
BabuOk ok, I agree.
Army ChiefBut I won’t agree.
The Nepal army will recruit anyone fulfilling the prescribed eligibility criteria.
We have never discriminated against anyone in the past.
BabuOk ok. I back off.

So, ultimately this move did not materialize but it angered the other Hindu castes (Brahman, Chhetri etc.).

Ethnic Unrest

  • Maoist party wants to divide Nepal on Ethnic lines. (besides, their coalition partner Madesi party is blackmailing them to create separate province for Madesi people.)
  • But other Hindu castes are against this move.
  • Particularly Brahman and Chhetris (=30% per cent of the total population).
  • So they also started bandh and agitations. They donot want provinces to be created on ethnicity.
  • Such Bandh and agitations have badly affected tourism and income of people.

Anger against UN and International Community

  • UN, Swiss and Norwegian Government had given money to certain Nepali NGOs and Organizations that claimed to work for poverty removal.
  • But ground reality, all the money was only used for particular castes and groups.
  • This has further annoyed the Upper caste organizations.
  • They started agitating against UN and other donor agencies.
  • Finally UN representatives gave statement “We had given money only for “poverty alleviation”. If that money  has been used for promoting caste and ethnic hatred, we regret it.”

Land transfer

  • During the Civil War (1996-2006), the Maoists held their Kangaroo courts and took away land from “rich” farmers in rural areas and distributed it among their own cadres.
  • Under the Peace accord, such land was to be returned to original owners.
  • But Prime Minister Bhattarai (of Maoist party) has instructed the revenue department to legalize such land transfers= Maoist cadres will continue possessing the land.
  • This is brewing more tension among villagers.

The Priest Appointment

  • According to age old tradition, only Indian Brahmin were appointed as head priest in Kathmandu’s Pashupatinath temple.
  • But when Prachanda  became Prime minister, he appointed a Nepali Brahmin as the head priest of the temple.
  • This led to massive protests by the Hindu community in Nepal.
  • 2012: Nepal Government  makes a new law to restore appointment process. (=only Dravid Shaivite Brahman community from the Trilinga* area of India can become “Bhatt/Priest” in that temple.
  • *Trilinga= a territory that comprises parts of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu

Why Anti-India sentiment in Nepal?

  • In the above points, you saw how and why common Nepalese people are unhappy with the things.
  • The rule of Maoist Government has brought nothing but corruption, ethnic tension, economic problems.
  • Many Nepalese people have started thinking, “This Maoist led Government is bad and India has supported them to power.= India is the bad guy.”
  • (Just like how common Afghan people would feel  against America, for supporting that corrupt Karzai regime.)
  • On the other hand, the “regressive” forces in Nepal, also hate India for not supporting Former king Gyanendra and the Monarchy, during and after the civil war.

Regressive forces

  • Recall that Maoists did not return the land to the original owners. So there is bitterness in certain population sections of villages.(rich, well-to-do farmers etc.)
  • Similarly the demand of ethnic states for Madhesi etc. are not acceptable to other Hindu castes (Brahman, Chhetri etc.)
  • 2012: The former king Gyanendra starts making visits to various districts of Nepal.
  • Large number of people greet him. There is lot of slogan shouting in his favor. Thousands of people come to see him and hear his speeches.
  • It proves that many people are still in favor of the old traditional monarchy. (unlike Indian calculation that lead to change of Nepal policy in 2005.)
  • And this section of Nepalese want the things to return to old system.
  • These forces are labelled as “Regressive forces” (Regressive=returning to a former less advanced state.)
  • Right now they’re fragmented, (don’t have a special political party to champion their cause.)
  • But who knows, in long term, King and or his family or someone else might start political party.
  • This is making Prachanda and the Maoist party bit nervous. Because public who initially supported them are now disillusioned.
  • Until now, Prachanda used to run propaganda that Royal family has stashed truckload of cash in Swiss bank accounts.
  • But recently the Swiss authorities told that Royal family of Nepal had no account in any Swiss bank. This has further emboldened the regressive forces.
  • So Prachanda is trying “scare-tactics” in his speeches to woo his traditional vote-bank, “look if you don’t support us. These “regressive forces” will come back and make your life hell like.”

Change of India’s Stand

  • Recently, India’s External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid’s said, “India has no particular “likes or dislikes” for any force in Nepal.”
  • Meaning we’ll work with anyone in Nepal as long as it serves our national-interest. (it proves that We want to correct our earlier mistake of supporting the Maoists.)
  • This statement of Khurshid has made Prachanda and Baburam really nervous.
  • They fear India might play some “dirty-trick” behind the scene, and support these regressive forces/King/Nepali Congress(NC) etc. or even worst: support Kiran, who totally hates both of them!

Criticism of India’s Nepal Policy

  1. Under Maoist regime in Nepal, Chinese presence has increased. (compared to previous Monarchy).
  2. India gained an ally (Nepali Maoists) but India lost goodwill of Common Nepalese people.+ Plus there is new guy to deal with: Kiran and his anti-India campaign.

Ofcourse, in politics and diplomacy you cannot keep everyone happy. But…

  1. Prachanda’s control over Maoist party has declined. (Recall how Kiran left his party with almost 1/3 of the cadres.)
  2. Many of the remaining Maoist cadres and smalltime party leaders are unhappy with Prachanda and Baburam’s corruption and lavish lifestyle.
  3. Most of the Maoists combatants have deposited their weapons to army, accepted cash and left for their villages.

This means:

  1. Prachanda doesn’t have the political clout like before.
  2. Prachanda doesn’t have the power of violence anymore. (He cannot start another civil war now. Weapons deposited, Maoists combatants left for home.)
  • The romance period with Maoism is over. Public is angry and unhappy.
  • In next election, Maoist party’s seats will decline.
  • Even Baburam and Prachanda don’t have much friendship with eachother= in future, there may be even more splits in the Maoist party.
  • So in the coming days, Prachanda will not be the dominant figure in Nepal.
  • This means, he will not be of much use to either India or China.

So, ultimately India wasted time and money supporting the wrong team for 6 years.
In return we got bad publicity among Nepalese people that we (Indians) are responsible for their crisis: both financial and political.

  • And now India will have to repeat “making friends” exercise with whoever becomes the new king maker in Nepal.
  • Therefore, when President Ram Baran Yadav visited India in December 2012, Indian establishment did not offer him any open support.
  • Right now we are in “wait n watch mode” to see who emerges as the “main player”.

Mohan with Prachanda

For the list of all previous articles on [Diplomacy], visit Mrunal.org/diplomacy

Mrunal recommends

  1. (free) NCERT, NIOS, TN-Books 4 History,Geo,Sci
  2. Indian Polity M.Laxmikanth (Hindi | English)
  3. Spectrum: Modern History (Hindi | English)
  4. Maths: Quantam CAT Sarvesh Kumar
  5. Objective General English SP Bakshi
  6. Word Power made Easy -Norman Lowe
  7. Topic wise Solved Paperset by Disha

43 Comments on “[Diplomacy] Nepal Logjam (Part 3 of 3): Chinese presence, Anti-India sentiments, how & why India’s policy failed”

  1. Mrunal Sir,
    This is the most comprehensive work on the Nepal issue..even after reading the world focus on Nepal I could not figure out such details
    Excellent work
    kudos to you

  2. thank u Mrunal..

  3. Earlier I was quite confused on the Nepal politics..but after reading this stuff I have got a crystal clear picture of the same.
    Thanx a lot for these beautiful articles.

  4. great article..very informative

  5. Excellent as usual, nepal topic was very tough to understand. You made it very simple.

  6. fantastic job sir….

  7. thanks sirji……amesome.

  8. mrunal sir..3 articals on nepal diplomacy were incredible marvallous…can u provide similar type on pak and china too..it will be a great help and guidence from u…and thanks for ur support m happy that v have a great mentor with us.

  9. The trade embargo which you have mentioned was not because of Chinese Arms( may be the covert reason) But it was because Nepali King wanted the existing trade and transit condition removed, once it was removed by rajiv gandhi in support of the demands( which was very harmful for nepali economy), Nepal started singing about embargo..Before this, Nepal and Bhutan were given same treatment about Refined Oil from Barauni, or any other imports.Also Nepali Kingdom was never friendly with india( I am talking aboout the present lineage).

    1. please explain.. couldnt understand clearly

  10. Mrunal now resource division between centre state pls.

  11. Dear sir….great article :)
    Shouldn’t the location of Lumbini be 50 km from North-ish border of India? just saying..

  12. thanks mrunal.

  13. wao………..

  14. Very informative article.Sir could you please deal with america and its oil politics i mean americas relations with rest of the world and its power to command another countries and how it reached that position etc.All the topics relating to america.
    Article on Nepal is very interesting,we love you sir.Thank you.

  15. awesome………..

  16. What an article sir ji……….!!!..Superb…

  17. one thing which disturb me enviroment current note …..pls post it in one article. if u arranged total hindu cutting pls sr.thank
    u

  18. excellent job sir

  19. sir please define syria crisis
    thank u

  20. only one thing to say….rock…rocked rocker…

  21. was waiting for this post for long !!
    outstanding work !!!!

  22. very good work Mrunal sir! keep it up!

  23. Thanx for making things easier.please provide a comprehensive article on interview approch for upsc.thanks once again.

  24. thanx…….your all articles are more informative than others.

  25. thanx…….your all articles are more informative than other.

  26. mrunal sir, with such a comprehensive account of nepal with respect to politics, you have inspired us as to how an analysis about any topic must be done.

    plz suggest tips and resources to us ,so that we may analyze things in the same exhaustive manner

  27. very good stuff for comprehensive and analytic thinking…Thank u sir….

  28. Hello! Thanks for the comprehensive+humorous write up.
    PLEASE POST POSSIBLE QUESTIONS FROM THESE SECTIONS ALSO(mains+interview) as you did in some other articles.

    Sincere Request, SIR PLEASE POST POSSIBLE QUESTIONS if possible in all your articles(old+upcoming articles.

    Regard from August.

  29. Thank you Mrunal Sir!! Gr8 work!!

  30. Excellent article.
    Why don’t you write one on India current political situation starting from Nehru to this day.
    As elections are approaching it will help in forming/changing opinions regarding political parties. Of course I am not asking your personal opinion on anyone. It will help in taking informed decisions as now we don’t know whom to trust, the idea of democracy has shattered atleast in me. Also it will help in interviews/exams.

  31. Thanks for making things so easy for us..Gr8 job..!!Just keep up the good work on..!!

  32. Very biased. Utterly ridiculous even to think that you have written such biased piece of work. Not to mention your non-academic approach.

  33. Very well explained. Thank you!

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