Cancellation of the visit of President of Nepal and recall of the Nepal’s Ambassador to India have brought into sharp focus the extent to which Modi Govt. has soured relations with Nepal. Modi Govt.’s efforts to dislodge KP Sharma Oli Govt. have not been successful but these have further worsened relations between the two neighbours.
Indian Govt.’s opposition to the Constitution promulgated in Nepal and its blockade of Nepal to browbeat that small neighbour into accepting dictates of Indian Govt. have angered the people of Nepal. While Madhesis have been agitating for their legitimate grievances against the promulgated Constitution, Indian high handedness has turned people against their neighbour with whom they share a lot of ties. Modi Govt. was and is not bothered about grievances of Madhesis, it was just using the issue to teach a lesson to Nepal Govt. for not accepting the dictates of Indian Govt. Modi Govt. was further irked by Constitution declaring Nepal to be a secular state. It goes to the (dis)credit of Modi Govt. that it has turned the people of Nepal against itself by subjecting them to tremendous hardships in the thinly disguised blockade imposed by India. Going against the norms of international law governing transit rights of the landlocked countries, Modi Govt. shamelessly pursued a blackmailing policy towards Nepal. The blockade imposed by Indian Govt. has seriously affected the reconstruction efforts in Nepal after the devastating earthquake a year back, but the people of Nepal are willing to endure the hardship but not surrender before Indian Govt.
Nepal Govt. backed by its public opinion against this arm-twisting by India drew closer to its northern neighbour, China. CPN(UML) led coalition Govt. struck a deal with China for transit of goods from other countries through China. Though it is much time consuming and costlier, the intent behind the agreement was to communicate to India its unwillingness to kowtow to Indian Govt.
Indian Govt. has never accepted Nepal’s right to independent relations with other neighbouring countries. It did not take kindly to Nepal reaching out to China. It is worth recalling how Rajiv Gandhi Govt. had resorted to blockade to punish Nepal for having suggested in Dacca SAARC summit to invite China in the grouping. After these moves of going closer to China, Modi Govt. started the process of dislodging Oli led Govt. and activated all pro-India elements in the ruling dispensation of Nepal. An effort was mounted to bring UCPN leader Prachanda as Prime Minister with the support of Nepali Congress, the biggest and most reliable partner of New Delhi in the power establishment of Nepal. This move to dislodge Oli led Govt. was announced after a meeting between Prachanda and Nepali Congress leadership.
The move however did not succeed. Despite the numbers in the national assembly favouring such a combination, this move ran counter to the public mood in Nepal. As has been admitted by Prachanda himself, most of the leaders of UCPN did not favour toppling of Oli led Govt. Instead UCPN leaders favoured talks with CPN(UML) leadership to sort out the issues and a nine point agreement has been reached between the two parties and has been announced. The failure of this move and active participation of Indian Govt. in this effort, has further worsened the relations between the two countries. Nepal Govt. has openly accused Nepal’s Ambassador to India, a Nepali Congress politician, of active participation in this move to topple Oli led Govt. Though Nepal Govt. has said that cancellation of the visit of the President of Nepal is linked to this issue, but it is obvious that it is a diplomatic nicety.
The move failed due to strong opposition of the people of Nepal. It is due to this pressure that the ruling politicians did not follow the India dictated change of Govt.
Narendra Modi has made foreign policy his exclusive preserve and his supporters and apologists have made much of his foreign policy successes. But by sheer inaptitude, incompetence and worst of all, failure to safeguard the interests of the country, Modi Govt. has brought the relations between these two neighbours to such a nadir. Modi Govt. is pursuing an anti-China policy in an effort to please US imperialism and tie India firmer with the strategic bandwagon of US imperialism. Steps taken by the Modi Govt. are jeopardizing the peace in the subcontinent and souring relations of India with her neighbours.
CPI(ML)-New Democracy strongly opposes the naked and open interference of Modi Govt. in the internal affairs of Nepal. We demand that Modi Govt. should respect the sovereignty and independence of Nepal to choose its own course in the domestic policy as well as in foreign relations. We also demand that Indian Govt. respect the transit rights of landlocked Nepal under the international law and also as a good neighbour.
CPI(ML)-New Democracy calls upon the people to oppose this shortsighted and big brotherly attitude of Modi Govt. towards Nepal. We also call upon the people of the country to strive for friendly relations with people of Nepal and forge closer links between the two countries on the basis of mutual respect as well as good neighbourly relations. People of Nepal and India share much in their struggle against oppression and exploitation, against foreign and domestic reactionary forces.
Central Committee, CPI(ML)-New Democracy
May 8, 2016