If it were India and India alone which brought former rebels, the Maoists, into the peace process which subsequently managed the fall of the only Hindu monarchy in Nepal, now, as the luck would have it, India is being seen as a villain in Nepal for trying to derail the already fragile peace process.
With the Indian government providing a clear nod to the non-Maoist’s government of Nepal to continue the defense support that had been disrupted during King Gyanendra’s direct rule some years ago, the Maoists are seeing it as a move to derail the peace process.
It was India then that felt to teach the unyielding King of Nepal Gyanendra a lesson which led to disruption of the defense support.
While India wants to teach a lesson to the Maoists now, for their excessive hobnob with the Chinese regime, the domestic pro-India politicos favor importing arms from India to downsize the Maoists. They have had enough of Maoists’ repeated threat for resorting to arms.
But yet the ruling UML communists is divided into two camps over the arms import issue, the liberal faction led by K.P. Sharma Oli that is close to the Nepali Congress and by extension to the Indian establishment favor importing arms from India to tame the Maoists, however, the UML Chairman Jhala Nath Khanal faction that finds itself closer to the Maoists and by extension to the Chinese regime claims that Nepal at this critical juncture does not need arms imports from India for obvious political reasons.
The incumbent Minister for Defense, Mrs. Bidya Devi Bhandari, who is considered as close to K.P. Oli, preferred to meet Girija Prasad Koirala prior to heading for New Delhi, she preferred not to meet her own party boss Mr. Jhala Nath Khanal. This was already the inkling of what was to come next in Nepali politics from New Delhi, experts believe.
This perhaps also proves the prevalence of two diametrically opposing camps in the UML.
In one way or the other, New Delhi has made the UML leaders to fight amongst themselves and extract political advantages.
Mrs. BHandari told the media after meeting Koirala, prior to her departure to New Delhi, that she had the blessings of octogenarian Nepali congress president.
Mrs. Bhandari’s New Delhi Mission was to convince India to continue the now disrupted defense support and, that India easily headed to.
Here lay the significance of the Nepalese Minister Bidya Bhandari’s India trip and the prompt positive response of the Indian regime to the Nepalese proposal.
Koirala in essence wanted India to continue the defense support simply because he wants to teach a lesson to the erratic Maoists. In many more ways than one, Koirala’s preference for the import of Arms from India and the latter’s instant nod to the Nepali proposition do indicate that India wants to kill two birds with one stone.
The fresh import of Indian arms, as India calculates, by Nepal will have two pronged targets: the first being the taming of the Maoists and the second to send some political signals to Nepal’s Northern neighbor which has of late made a place for itself in Kathmandu’s politics.
The Maoists’ panic is real.