N. P. Upadhyaya
Kathmandu: Nepal and its topsy-turvy politics appear to have already become a lumber for the immediate neighbours.
Beginning 2006, to be precise, after 2006 sponsored change, this country has caused immense damage to both of its neighbours in the South and the North. Diplomatic inability.
The political animals who were “ordered” to steer the country after the change neither honoured the concerns neither of the North nor of the South which elevated their unassuming ranks to state authority. Picked up Faltoo political jokers were told to steer the country.
The hegemony of the South eventually increased to the extent, at the initial phase indeed, that the North felt pushed to the wall and in some way or the other with its “unreliable and disloyal friends in Nepal” tried to make some inroads into the Nepali politics in order to secure its prime security interests.
The policy worked to some extent but it not was up to the mark to which North would have preferred to observe. The slide became real.
The South though managed the change concluding that Nepal now will hang around the Indian regime too felt somewhat cheated by those who were of its own creation.
A colossal amount was pumped into Nepal to catapult the Nepali politics, if one were to recall.
However, things neither were congenial for the one who sponsored the epochal change nor for the one, read the North, which had Okayed the Nepali change.
Not so many people in Nepal understand that the then Indian Foreign Secretary, Shyam Saran, flew to Beijing early 2006 and convinced the authorities there that a fresh political change in Nepal could be in the interests of both-India and China. China took India at its face value. Grand seduction that it was. Chinese calculation miserably failed.
The otherwise diplomatically astute Beijing high officials got carried away with the Saran lollypop which was just the beginning of the beginning of the slide in the politics of Beijing in Kathmandu which has increased definitely with the fresh arrival of a flamboyant Chinese Ambassador, Yang Houlan. The Chinese troubles will soon take a new dimension with the arrival of Nancy Powell to New Delhi as American Ambassador. She is taken almost as a half Tibetan who reveres The Dalai as an incarnation of God. Mind it Ms. Powell is also a security expert, a Bush trusted partner now relied upon by President Obama. This has some intrinsic message for China if they want to study.
Analysts presume that with her formal arrival in New Delhi, the frightening days for the South Asian countries will begin officially-China with SAARC observer status as well.
As Hilary Clinton, 2011, had advised India to take the lead in taming the South Asian politics, Ms. Powell will do the rest for the US through India using the latter as a handy tool. India enjoys being a handy tool, if one were to recall its traumatic past.
India is yet to understand as how the country is being used and overly misused by the US.
Politics never remains in a static state. It prefers dynamism.
Such dynamism is already in place, claim some analysts.
Unconfirmed reports have it that both China and India, concluding that Nepal had already become a cumbersome load for the two countries have come to an agreement, unwritten though, that henceforth both will ignore Nepali concerns and that China will side with India even on matters related with the territorial disputes in an around Kalapani (Lipulek) where the three countries share a common border which demands the settlement of the issue with the three country delegates at a common negotiating table.
Unsubstantiated reports have it that China in the recent days has assured India that the land which is being claimed by Nepal at the tri-junction belonged to the Indian regime.
To recall, a few years back, China is on record to have made official declaration that the tri-junction in the West of Nepal demanded the joint and agreeable settlement of the disputed territory by India, China and the real claimant.
A French scholar, Ms. Isabelle Duquesne has put some reference as regards Nepal-China-India tri-junction in her book, “ Nepal: Zone of Peace” ( see page 123) wherein she writes, (sic): “The issue of Kalapani came up again in 2005 after China and India signed a border protocol during Premier Wen Jiabao’s visit to India. Kalapani (and Nepal’s territory) unfortunately featured on India’s map at the protocol signing. China made it clear that the dispute should be resolved via “friendly bilateral consultation” between Nepal and India”.
She further writes, “In 2008, however, China was interested in joining the dispute resolution, since after all, Kalapani demarcates a tripartite border”.
Question now comes to the mind of the analysts is that ‘has China the right to handover Nepali land to India unilaterally? Why China changed Premier Wen’s 2005 stance so quickly? What were the compulsions? Is Nepali land a chocolate that China can distribute among the Indian children?
Hopefully, India must have become happy with the fresh Chinese gesture, if it is at all a fact as is given to understand by some media quarters in Nepal. But China will have to pay a very heavy political price let Ms. Powell arrive in New Delhi. Dharmashala will be a bombshell for China. Take it for granted. Nepali soil can only lessen the Chinese woes. An annoyed Nepal can never be in the interest of China.
In addition, the Chinese should also notice that the Norwegian Minister, Erick Solheim was in town very freshly. He keeps on visiting Nepal as and when this country is in trouble. His visit though adds more trouble. He is also a Dharmshala man. His agents are aplenty in Nepal.
All put together, the existence of ancient Nepal is in the continued interest of China. Chinese authorities must think twice prior to embracing their tested arch-rival-the proven evil of South Asia.
A friendlier relation with Nepal will ever be in the larger interest of China-Nepal’s reliable friend, if she sticks to what it thinks of Nepal while making occasional speeches.
So says Nepal’s foreign policy expert, Binod Bista, “Owing to a transition phase in the formulation of foreign policy measures of both India and China, the situation is extremely volatile and sensitive. Any slip up by smaller countries in the region in their relations with these regional powers could extract a heavy price endangering national sovereignty”.
What if then Nepal loses its sovereignty? Will that be in the security interest of China? China must think twice before it is too late.
Prepared on February 1. Posted on February 9, 2012.