Central Advisor, Unified Maoist party, Nepal
Mr. Gopal Giri, a central advisor of the Unified Maoist party, is active in communist movement of Nepal since 35 years or so. Originally he hails from the Solukhumbu District and is now living in Kathmandu studying carefully the national, regional and global affairs from the Marxist perspectives.
Sujit Sharma for The Telegraph Weekly and its online edition telegraphnepal.com talked to this insatiable reader on different aspects of national and regional politics. Below the excerpts of this exclusive interview: Chief Editor.
Q1: You have just returned to Kathmandu from a brief visit to Eastern Nepal. Did you find any socio-political change there during your brief stay?
Giri: Not at all. After the mainstreaming of revolutionary party, the Unified Maoist, in national politics and their elevation to the power corridor also, the socio-political situation of Nepal has remained unchanged. This is very unfortunate situation.
The people of Nepal had lot of expectations with the Maoists. They provided their consent to the Maoist as a true representative of Nepalese people with their votes and the party became the single largest party of Nepal in the first ever held historic Constituent Assembly (CA) election.
Now, the Vice Chairman of the Unified Maoist is steering the government. Despite making attempts to ease the livelihood of general people, the government is becoming a mere spectator of insecurity, escalating corruption culture, impunity, price hike, acute lack of daily consumer goods in the market, deterioration of national interests, etc. This has made the general people extremely frustrated towards the political parties of Nepal in general and Unified Maoist in particular.
Q2. Thank you for your answer. Three visible factions do exist inside your party. Among them, which faction do you prefer on the ideological grounds?
Giri: To be more frank and candid, I do not prefer any of the existing factions. Each faction is trying to deceive the party cadres and general people. They are not loyal towards the revolution and installation of communist order in the country.
Nepalese people became a part of revolution staged by our party during a decade long arm insurrection. But today's behavior of the top echelon leadership has proved that the leaders were not dedicated towards revolution even during the ten years long armed conflict. They just lied to the people for the fulfillment of their personal interests.
After the mainstreaming of the party, Dr. Baburam Bhattarai might have felt that now it is not possible to further deceive the party carders. He might have thought that this was the appropriate time to declare the party's reluctance and efficiency over staging a fresh revolution. However, Mohan Baidya 'Kiran' still wants to keep the party cadres and other people in the dark. Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda' is playing between these two leaders to retain his leadership inside the party. Prachanda does not have even a single quality needed for becoming a revolutionary leader. To remain the Chairman of the party for indefinite period of time is his single goal.
Q3: It is being rumored that Dr. Baburam Bhattarai led incumbent government has seriously undermined the national interests of Nepal. Do you think so?
Giri: Up to some extent, I agree with your question. Some days ago, Dr. Bhattarai talked about the possible merger and submerging of Nepal in either India or China. That was a highly deplorable remarks ever made by the Prime Ministers of Nepal. Any nationalist throughout the world cannot digest such erratic word from the leader.
Dr. Bhattarai too has failed to assert Nepal’s national interests while dealing with the Indian officials. I do not object signing of BIPPA by Dr. Bhattarai led government with India and I don’t think that by signing this agreement, Dr. Bhattarai should be labeled as an India man. But he failed to present himself in a strong manner while dealing with India.
Q4. It is being talked that the government is making necessary preparations for the bulk induction of about 3,000 Madhesi youths in the apparatus of Nepal Army (NA) in the name of making this national institution more inclusive one. What would you like to say on this issue?
Giri: The bulk induction of 3000 or 5000 Madeshi youth is not going to make any difference in the overall functioning of NA and therefore I do not oppose this idea. Some analysts are creating unnecessary brouhaha on this issue. They are saying that the said induction will eventually paralyze the overall structure of NA. I don’t think this will ever happen.
People from other ethnic groups are also inside NA and if the members from Madhesh tried to disrupt the functioning of NA, other military persons will foil their attempts. I will not object personally if the government moves forward to induct about 20,000 Madeshi youth in the NA. I think you got the point?
There are lot of peoples from Madhesh in the bureaucratic apparatus of Nepal Government. This hasn’t created any problem so far. So how can you say that the inclusion of people from Madhesh will create problem in the functioning of NA?
Q5: It is widely being discussed in the academic circle of Kathmandu that Nepal’s conduct of foreign policy has dramatically taken a slide after Second People’s Uprising bagged success. Do you think so?
Giri: Hundred percent yes. This unfortunate situation arose because of three different reasons.
Firstly, Nepal couldn’t get stable government after the Second People’s uprising.
Secondly, Nepali politician and diplomats lack basic knowledge on how to conduct foreign policy and they do not know how to present agendas strongly while being in the negotiating table. Diplomatic acumen seriously lacks among the Nepalese officials.
Thirdly, national consensus on identifying Nepal's national interests is yet not built.
Q6. Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, while meeting with the Deputy Prime Minister of Nepal Bijaya Kumar Gachhedar some weeks ago, told that India will not have any problem if Nepal expands its bilateral relations with its northern neighbor, China. Why the Indian Primer might have made such unusual statement? Can you guess?
Giri: Before the arrival of Chinese Primer Wen Jiabao, the Indian establishment had encouraged Mr. Gachhedar to relax the security system during the visit of Premier Wen in Nepal so that the Free Tibet Activists may reach up to the gate of International Airport of Kathmandu, chant anti-Chinese slogans, and if possible, may self-immolate or hurl shoes at the visiting premier.
Before the arrival of Chinese premier, a group of security experts from China visited Kathmandu and found the security mechanism not up to the mark. They tried to enquire with Home Minister Mr. Gachhedar about this, but the later tried to escape from the Chinese officials. The Chinese met with Prime Minister Dr. Bhattarai and ventilated their ire. Then, Dr. Bhattarai himself took initiatives for strengthening the security system.
Soon after this, China invited Mr. Gachhedar to Beijing. There, they possibly had made him clear that China will not tolerate if anyone undermines its Tibetan sensitivities. Soon after his return, Mr. Gachhedar visited New Delhi and briefed the Indian Prime Minister the inner details of his Beijing sojourn. Dr. Singh might have got the point and might have realized that India is not in a position to tease China on the Tibetan issues. This might have made Dr. Singh to make such unusual remarks on Nepal-China relationship.
Q6. Can you please tell us what the interests of China in Nepal were?
Giri: Well, every nation wants to promote two major interests while dealing with the neighboring countries. First is the interest associated with the security of national boundaries where as the second is the economic interests. China is drawn in Nepali politics because of Nepal's territorial linkages with the Tibet autonomous region. Security of the frontier of the Tibet is the major interest of China in Nepal.
Q7. The military might of Nepal is incomparable with that of China. Given the circumstances, why Beijing is getting worried over their frontier with Nepal?
Giri: Geopolitics of Nepal is responsible for the Chinese wariness. The economic and political significance of Nepal is incomparable to that of its military and strategic significance. First of all, we need to be clear on this.
China has now become more powerful than the former USSR in political, economic, military and socio-cultural grounds. The US is the single power which is in a position to counter China politically, economically and militarily, forget about the EU, Japan or India. But also, China has yet not proclaimed itself as a Super Power.
The US has understood this fact very well and it is trying to contain China by encircling it. Nepal's strategic significance is well reflected in this grand policy of the US.
Q8. Mr. Giri, you are making quiet interesting remarks. Can you please let our august readers know how the interests of the superpowers are being converged in Nepal?
Giri: For materializing the long term agenda of encircling China, the US has made India its strategic ally in the Asian continent by signing bilateral Civil Nuclear Deal. This deal seems to be a bilateral economic agreement on surface; however, the essence of this agreement is related with the security factor. In fact, it is a secret military pact. No need to get confused about it.
By making India its ally, US wish is to strengthen the grip of India in the South Asian countries. The US has begun looking towards South Asia through the Indian eyes. Thus, India is trying to maneuver inside the South Asian countries, including Nepal, with the political and military (if needed) of US. Indo-US axis in Nepal is now trying its best to institutionalize their hegemony here for encircling China and weakening the later from the Nepalese soil.
Q9. And what China is doing then amidst this situation?
Giri: Your question is quiet interesting.
After India signed the nuclear deal with the US, China immediately signed a secret military pact with Russia under the cover of bilateral economic agreement. The agreement reached between the two superpowers came to surface only recently after China and Russia jointly exercised their veto power in the United Nation Security Council for supporting the Syrian regime.
After Beijing realized that New Delhi has become a reliable partner of US for encircling it, Beijing also initiated counter majors for taming New Delhi by encircling India. It supported Sri Lanka for suppressing the Tamil rebel by providing training, lethal weapons and fighter planes to the Sri Lankan army. In return, Beijing is building a military base in an island of Sri Lanka.
I have read a media report where it was claimed that China is developing another military base near an island located close the Maldives. Apart from this, China has its military base near the Red Sea. In the island of Seychelles of Indian Ocean as well, there is a Chinese naval base. China’s strong presence in Myanmar and Pakistan does not need further explanation. If anything went wrong with China's relations with India, the former can use these military base to discipline India, both militarily and economically. China is making abundant preparations to counter the maneuvering of Indo-US axis in the Asian continent.
Q10. If so, then why China is not opposing India for relaxing its unwarranted hegemony in Nepal?
Giri: If China so desires, it can curb the Indian influence in Kathmandu within some months, if not in some weeks. But the geopolitics of Nepal has made China to accept the primacy of India in Kathmandu politics. If China begins to chase the Indians back from Nepal, then the US will come to Kathmandu directly in the name of supporting India. And China is not in a mood to counter US in Nepal.
Apart from this, China does not want to undermine the annual business transaction of about 60 billion USD with India at the cost of Nepal. But it will not tolerate if the Indians cross their limits in Kathmandu.
You can recall as to how the Army Chief Mr. Chen Bingde rushed to Nepal on March, 2011 and provided assistance worth one billion Nepalese Rupees to the Nepal Army. Just before the arrival of Chinese Army Chief in Kathmandu, three Madhesi leaders, Mr. Mahantha Thakur, Mr. Gachhedhar and Mr. Hridayesh Tripathi were called by Indian establishment and hold secret talks with them. Soon after their brief and suspicious hibernation inside India, a series of bomb explosion took place in public places of Nepal for some weeks. Then Mr. Bingde immediately rushed to Nepal and gave open message that China will not tolerate if New Delhi crosses its limit in Nepal. Soon after his visit, the terror attack was halted in a dramatic manner.
Q11. Mr. Giri, we have known that you are a voracious reader. Can you please suggest some good books for the youths of Nepal so that they can understand their motherland well?
Giri: Firstly I suggest the Nepali youths to read the history. Every piece of writing by veteran historian Sardar Baburam Acharya is read worthy.
'Nepal ko Eaitihasik Ruprekha (Sketch of the History of Nepal)' by Balchandra Sharma, 'Nepalko Bhugol (Geography of Nepal)' by Prof. Saranhari Shrestha, 'Role of Nepal Praja Parishad in Democratic Movement of Nepal' by Dr. Rajesh Gautam, 'Nepal ko Rajniti ma Darbar (Role of Palace in Nepal's Politics)' of Dr. Sanubhai Dangol, 'Sri Tin ka Britanta (The Details of Rana Prime Ministers ) of Purusottam Shamsher JBR, etc, are some of the books that I remember now. Apart from this, I suggest the youths of Nepal to read about the geography and archaeology of Nepal as well. Telegraphnepal.com exclusive