The other K-word: Kathmandu

Discussion in 'West Asia & Africa' started by ejazr, Jan 7, 2011.

  1. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

    Oct 8, 2009
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    Hyderabad and Sydney

    The tide is beginning to turn in Nepal — one which is likely to test India as much as the decision to drop monarchy in favour of democracy back in 2008. This time it would mean standing with the democratic forces in the face of a fresh Maoist onslaught, the makings of which were indicative in a Prachanda-sponsored political document at the central committee meeting of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoists) this week. Baburam Bhattarai, who is currently in India, was the only prominent dissenting voice.

    From what India has reliably learnt, the document identifies “Indian expansionism” and “domestic reactionary forces” as their principal enemies. It signals a call for a people’s revolt, if need be, to defeat these forces. Supporting Prachanda in this call is the Mohan Baidya faction, which leaves Bhattarai on the margins despite his wide urban appeal. At the root of this is a quest for power, which the Maoist leaders have not hidden from their Indian interlocutors, telling them in no uncertain terms that it would be difficult for their cadre to give up arms without first being in power. The Young Communist League and the battery of trade unions are all firmly behind this stand.

    The Maoists don’t want the UN’s Nepal mission to be wound up right now. The reason is quite clear — the Maoist weapons are currently inside large containers kept at eight locations, they are locked but the keys are with the Maoists themselves while the locks have been sealed by the UN. Periodically, the locks are de-sealed, opened, weapons checked in the presence of both sides, then locked and sealed again. The locations are under round-the-clock CCTV monitoring to ensure there is no breach of the pact. The mandate of the United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) has already been extended and now ends on January 15. Thereafter, a Nepalese army general appointed by the Nepalese parliament will take over the onerous task of monitoring these containers filled with weapons.

    The Maoists, clearly, object to this but the move has the support of all other political parties and so, the Maoist leadership has written to the UN secretary-general to continue with the UNMIN. The matter may be discussed in the UN Security Council, where India is now a non-permanent member and the voice it lends will, perhaps, count the most. New Delhi, by all accounts, should favour the views held by the majority of the parties in Nepal that the time has come for them to manage and monitor these weapons. It also means that the Nepal government gets to handle its own internal affairs. However, New Delhi often gets caught up in artificially balancing disparate voices and this at times creates uncertainty in Nepalese political circles on what is New Delhi’s approach.

    There is no doubt that the situation in Nepal has never been tougher than this for India. Just a few days back, Nepal’s parliamentary committee on international relations and human rights, headed by Maoist MP Padmalal Bishwakarma, refused to clear 28 Nepal Foreign Service recruits for a two-week training at Foreign Services Institute (FSI) here on the grounds that it was an Indian attempt to “brainwash” these fresh trainees. As it turns out, these recruits had not received any training before being drafted into the service and the Indian side thought it could be of help. In fact, the FSI was not too keen as it is already overburdened, but South Block managed to prevail.

    It is also important to read the commentary against Rakesh Sood, the Indian ambassador to Nepal, in this context. He has had his share of run-ins with Nepalese activists, the press and even politicians who have, in turn, attacked him. No diplomat would like to land himself in such a situation. But having said that, the root of it all lies in a fundamental decision to respond and, at times, even strongly react, to discriminatory or blatant anti-India moves. This, especially, has come to the fore in the case of Indian business interests. For instance, take the case of an Indo-French joint venture that bid for a Japanese-funded Sundri Jal drinking water project. Even though the Indo-French venture apparently bid the lowest, the project went to a Chinese firm even before the bids were opened. Subsequently, it came to light that the Chinese firm had a higher bid. Now, these are commercial allegations with strong political overtones. India decided to back its company’s views and, as a result, the Japanese funders JAICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) have ordered an inquiry into the bidding process.

    The fact is Nepal has turned into a place of competing self-interests, where India can no longer take matters for granted, neither can it remain in a constant self-flagellating cycle which rests on the presumption that India is responsible, in some ways, for Nepal’s woes; that there is merit in the Maoist line about Indian hegemony and whatever India does, it must remember these red lines. But there is also a line between observing caution and getting apologetic. India has to let its neighbours run their own countries while also securing its own interests.

    Nepal is critical to India’s security. The open border means easier access to Indian hinterland for both terrorists and Maoists. Just recently, between May and August 2010, there was reliable intelligence of 25-30 Indian Maoists having received training in Nepalese Maoist camps. India officially took up the matter, but not much came out of it. Several other inputs keep surfacing about Indian Maoists taking shelter or getting medical treatment in Nepal. But when India offers to strengthen Nepalese immigration or its border-monitoring mechanisms, it invites criticism of interference in Nepal’s sovereign functions.

    The same is not the case with China, which has a limited focus on ensuring that Tibetans don’t use Nepal as a staging ground to move in and out of Tibet. So much so, the Chinese ambassador directly speaks to local police officials and goads them to act against Tibetans. In fact, the word is out that China has officially offered monetary remuneration to police officials who nab Tibetans. At one level, no one can grudge China for trying to protect its interests.

    India, on the other hand, has large stakes in Nepal and, perhaps, the biggest stake in its peace and stability. The more powerful of Maoist factions, however, see India as part of the problem just as they saw the democratic experiment as a way to capture power and not share it. Multi-party democracy in Nepal is set to come under increased threat — it is, therefore, that much more important for India to speak in one voice and to speak clearly.
  3. SpArK

    SpArK SORCERER Senior Member

    Oct 24, 2010
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    India has a great first day at UNSC

    India couldn’t have asked for a better start to its stint at the UN Security Council. On its first day on the council on Wednesday, India was elected to chair the important committee on counter terrorism, which gives it a significant voice and clout in the ongoing effort against the worst security threat facing the world.

    A little later, the UN mission in Nepal in support of the peace process was officially wound down, something which India had been working towards for a while. “Basically getting UN out of India’s backyard,” said a diplomat.

    Not a bad day for India, which returned to the Security Council after 19 years to begin a two-year temporary, non-permanent stint, widely seen as a dress rehersal for a larger role — a permanent seat — in not too distant a future.

    “An excellent first day for India,” Permanent Representative to UN Hardeep Puri told HT.

    While India took its position in the council officially on January 1, it attended the full and open meeting of the body for the first time on Wednesday, making its first appearance in the elite grouping.

    India has been preparing for the day for a long time. Its permanent mission in New York launched press and public outreach weeks ago, getting out its message on where it stands on major issues. The Security Council’s Counter-Terrorism Committee was set up in 2001 within weeks of the September 11 attacks to monitor implementation UN resolution asking member nations to deny terrorist outfits access to funds and havens.

    “That gives India, long a victim of terrorism, a chance to use all available forums now to increase the pitch against terrorism,” said an Indian diplomat refusing to be identified as he was not authorised to speak to reporters.

    Specifically, this position will give India additional ammunition against state-backed terrorism across its border in Pakistan, whose ambivalent fight against terrorism had frustrated the world and its ally the US. The UN mission in Nepal was the first briefing India received as part of the Security Council, and happily for it, Representative Karin Landgren’s recommendation to wind down her mission was accepted. Its extended term was lapsing on January 15.

    The mission was set up in 2007 to help Nepal transition to a democracy after the Maoists-led political alliance overthrew the monarchy. It was set up at the request of the Nepalese government. India saw this as something of an encroachment in its backyard invited by the Maoists, who have always viewed New Delhi with suspicion. “We had been working behind the scenes for its end,” said the Indian diplomat, adding, “as we were not part of the council then.”

    But that the mission’s end was announced on India’s first day in the council was seen as not merely a coincidence.
  4. hit&run

    hit&run Elite Member Elite Member

    May 29, 2009
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    Can some one simplify this whole issue for readers.

    Ejazr and Spark can you please give your own inputs about this whole issue.

    Isn't Maoiost are on Chinese payroll ? (Referring to revelation was made by Times now about tapped Chinese diplomat's telephonic conversation bribing Maoist leaders).

    I would say it will be Maoist's foolishness messing with India directly. Even if India is going to take a dispassionate/benign approach towards any turmoil happening in Nepal, there is a large number of pro Hindu, pro India and anti Maoist factions who themselves can sustain armed or diplomatic opposition against Maoist regime. It is a clear call to bloody civil war. Like in Pakistan anti India rhetoric is a uniting force but i am not that sure if it will be effective in Nepal as well. I can anticipate more anti India propaganda endorsed by Maoists to gather such support.

    Any aggression done by Maoist on India will be a perfect excuse for us to establish pro India govt. in Nepal without the hesitation of using force. Maoist should chew what they can digest.
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2011
  5. RPK

    RPK Indyakudimahan Senior Member

    Jun 29, 2009
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    13° 4'60.00"N 80°16'60.00"E
    India's top guns loiter around Nepal Maoists leader Bhattarai, But why?
    Telegraph Nepal
    The ongoing ‘Nepal Seminar’ sponsored by the Indian establishment and managed by the Vivekananda International Foundation-which sources claim is an affiliate to India’s notorious intelligence agency, RAW, in New Delhi, wherein both former Royalists, the so-called liberals and Maoists have been participating in a beaming manner.

    The seminar venue could well become a platform wherein the Indian participants could not only draw future course of Nepali politics but also enjoy fighting between the Nepali participants. Live entertainment and that too free.

    That former Chief of Nepal Army Staff Rukmangad Katawal and Unified Maoists’ Party leaders Dr. Babu Ram Bhattarai and Barsa man Pun ‘Ananta’ are present at the two day seminar, certainly there will be entertainment in the offing for the Indian participants.

    Mr. Rishi Dhamala, chief of reporters club is has specially been flown to New Delhi to cover the minute-to-minute developments at the seminar.

    The Nepali Congress senior leader Dr. Ram Saran Mahat, addressing a seminar session claimed that his party has already done enough for the peace process but, the Maoists’ have been lagging behind. He questioned, “We are suspicious of the Maoists’ intent because they have said they will not accept pluralism.”

    Pradip Giri of Nepali Congress, who is considered as one of strongest pillar in the existing friendly ties between Nepal and India, also made his views clear.

    It was the turn of Rukmangad Katawal to speak. While heavily criticizing the Maoists’ party said Katawal, “It all depends on what we want finally, a hegemonic rule or a system based on democratic principles”.

    A retired military man is talking about democracy. Supporting the autocratic monarchial rule for all along his life, Katawal now talks of democracy…how funny?

    But it so happens. Thanks Indian Army Chief Deepak Kapoor that Katwal could shield himself from the Maoists axe, May 3, 2009.

    The pain still remains in heart, it appears.

    “The Maoists are more concerned on making political gains rather than successfully integrating and rehabilitating Maoists’ militias”, also said Katawal.

    Barsa Man Pun ‘Ananta’ of the Maoists’ Party focused only on various models for integration and rehabilitation of Maoists’ combatants. Thanks he did not target Katawal. The Indian audience must have been frustrated because there was no verbal attack from the Maoists camp.

    So sad!

    The seminar was inaugurated none less than by Deputy and Foreign Minister Sujata Koirala.

    Dr. Babu Ram Bhattarai- the most preferred one in New Delhi, making his views at the seminar gave the impression that he was more concerned on mending ties of his party with the Indian establishment and stressed that his party was not anti-India.

    The main job was done thus.

    “We are not against any country…the cordial ties between the two countries in cultural, political and geographical aspect should be used to bring economic prosperity to both the countries”.

    SUSTA land encroachment by the Indian side doesn’t pain Dr. Bhattarai.

    The Indian SSB terror also has no significance for JNU veteran.

    Dr. Bhattarai is scheduled to return to Kathmandu, Saturday, January 8, 2011. However, reports have it that Dr. Bhattarai will meet Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna, Internal Affairs Minister P. Chidambaram, General Secretary of Communist party of India, Prakash Karat and no less intriguing is that he is scheduled to once again meet National Security Advisor, Menon as well, today.

    Bhattarai on Thursday met with Sushma Swaraj of Bharatiya Janata Party.

    Question thus could be asked as to why the Indian regime has been seducing Dr. Bhattarai? And for what purpose?

    Prachanda has reasons to weep now.

    The New Delhi seminar will conclude today evening.

    The seminar impact will have to be watched.
  6. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

    Oct 8, 2009
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    Hyderabad and Sydney
    Well the more you read about Nepal, the more you realize how much of a mess it has become for India. And this directly impacts Indian security because we have open borders with Nepal.

    China and Pakistan have both used Nepal as a conduit to expand influence and transit for weapons, fake currency and people. And if the report that the Chinese ambassador talks directly to the local police to lock up Tibetans is true, then China has made a huge breakthrough in the Nepal space.

    In short, Kathmandu today is as critical a situation for India as Kashmir and needs a laser like focus from the MEA, Intelligence and GoI in general.

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