Forwarding security concerns, India is interfering in Nepal affairs

Parshuram Kaphle

Senior correspondent, Naya Patrika Daily, Nepal

Journalist Sujit Mainali for the Telegraph Weekly and telegraphnepal.com talked with this vibrant young journalist Parshuram Kaphle on various contemporary issues related with peace and constitution drafting process and its internal/external dimensions.

 

Kaphle, an intelligent Nepali media personnel, specializes on peace process and security. Below is the excerpt of Mainali’s exclusive conversation-Ed.

 Q1: What do you say on the ongoing debate among the political parties on whether or not to extend the tenure of the Constituent Assembly (CA)?

Kaphle: This debate is directly or indirectly linked to the power greed of political actors of Nepal to elevate them in the government power structure. Due to unnecessary inter-party and intra-party wrangling, the CA body failed to draft the constitution on time. If the political parties do not change themselves and continue to quarrel in the manner they are doing as what we have observing for quite some time now, it is highly unlikely that the constitution will be drafted even in further extended time.

None of the political parties are against extending tenure of CA.  Nepali Congress (NC) and Madhesh based parties have forwarded some pre-conditions to Unified Maoist regarding the latter's commitment on peace process and republican order. I am fully convinced that political parties will unite again as usual to further extend the tenure of CA.

Up to now, the expenditure in the name of making new constitution has exceeded the colossal amount of 29 billion rupees. This expenditure should not go in vain. Not only to recover this cost, but also to institutionalize the achievement made in the post 12-point agreement period, the tenure of CA must be extended.  Before this, politicians should say 'sorry' to the people for having failed to draft the constitution on time.

Q2: In recent days, Unified Maoist Chairperson Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda' is frequently having secret meeting with the Indian officials of RAW and South Block. What might have been the concealed intention of this meeting?

Kaphle: Well, after tendering resignation from the post of Prime Minister after having failed to sack the then Army General Mr. Katwal, misunderstanding between Prachanda and India has increased.  Indeed due to this misunderstanding, Prachanda is being unable to bounce back to the power corridors. Prachanda is trying to please the Indian establishment so that he can pave his way towards government leadership.  For this, Prachanda is having secret meeting with officials of RAW without informing even his party colleagues.

After the Palungtar Plenum, Prachanda had requested the Indian establishment twice to create an atmosphere for his New Delhi visit. But New Delhi denied his proposal outright. Rumors are being heard that during his recent mysterious visit to Bangkok, he had secretly met with the National Security Advisor of Indian PM, Mr. Shiva Sankar Menon. Inside the party, Prachanda is floating anti-Indian sentiments to retain his strong hold in party’s leadership. At the same time he is time and again ventilating his desire to fulfill even those security concerns of India which may eventually jeopardize the sovereignty of Nepal.  Power counts most for Prachanda.

Q3: What is your opinion on the security concerns of India in Nepal?

Kaphle: It is normal for India to express its concern towards the political instability of Nepal because an unstable Nepal has direct impact on the internal security of India. But in the name of expressing security concerns, India is frequently interfering in the internal affairs of Nepal.  India can express its concerns but cannot say this person should be the PM of Nepal and that person should not. And Nepal also should have to assure neighboring countries i.e. India and China that their legitimate security concerns will not be harmed at any cost from the Nepalese soil.

Q4: Who is primarily responsible for increasing anti-India sentiments in Nepal?

Kaphle: Nepali people are not anti-Indian, but they are against the hegemony and continuous interferences of India in Nepal’s internal matters. And India is primarily responsible for this.

Land encroachment, the atrocities committed to the Nepali people living in the border area by the Indian SSB forces and the reluctance of the Indian establishment to accept Nepal as an independent and sovereign nation are other major causes which could be taken as responsible for increasing anti-Indian sentiments in Nepal.

Q5: After the highly unsuccessful tenure of Rakesh Sood, Jayant Prasad is landing in Kathmandu as Indian Ambassador. Do you have any message for him in advance?

Kaphle: I have heard that Mr. Prasad is calm and a modest person.  I suggest him to learn from the modest diplomacy practiced by former US ambassador to Nepal Mrs. Nancy J Powell and incumbent Ambassador Mr. Scott DeLisi. The aggressive and hegemonic working style of former ambassador of US, James F Moriarty and incumbent Indian ambassador Rakesh Sood, is not going to work anymore.

Q6: Let's change the topic. Senior vice-chairman of Unified Maoist Mohan Baidya 'Kiran' is insisting to formulate National Security Policy much ahead of the conclusion of the ongoing peace process. What is your opinion on Kiran's proposal?

Kaphle: Not only Kiran but other security experts are also insisting in favor of the formulation of a National Security Policy. To tackle the looming internal and external security threats, a National Security Policy should be formulated as soon as possible. Earlier the better.

But the proposal of Kiran is more strategic in essence. He wants to formulate the National Security Policy in such a way that it helps his party during what he say "People's Revolt". Not only he, but his entire party is in this line.

Q7: Does this mean that the entire Unified Maoist Party is moving ahead with the same purpose and idea?

Kaphle: Of course. The introduction and the installation of Communist order is their sole objective.

Q8: But rumors are being heard there exist wide ideological differences between Chairman Prachanda, Vice-Chairman Kiran and another Vice-Chairman Dr. Baburam Bhattarai? How you see to it?

Kaphle: The differences are more tactical than strategic. (Bhinnata Ranatik vanda pani Karyanitik ho).  All the three leaders are committed to "People's Revolt". However, while Kiran immediately wants revolt where as Dr. Bhattarai wants peace and constitution drafting process to be completed first. Prachanda is balancing the ideas of his two deputies.

Q9: Unified Maoist has accepted the proposal made by Nepal Army (NA) on modality of integration of PLA. What impact will this have in the political course of the country in days ahead?

Kaphle: I don’t think that Maoists have accepted the modality of integration made by the NA. In the proposal of NA, it is said that a separate unit comprising of Nepal Army, Nepal Police, Armed Police and PLA should be created and the command should remain with the Nepal Army. According to the proposal, 35 percent of the unit will come from PLA, next 35 percent from the NA and remaining 30 percent from Nepal Police and Armed Police. Further NA’s proposal is very clear for not awarding the first and second command of the said unit to the PLA. But Maoist had claimed the highest command of this separate unit. More intensive and extensive debate on modality of integration of PLA is perhaps yet to happen.

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