Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Tibet and Indian Diplomacy

In the hurly-burly of day-to-day politics, Tibet has receded quite a distance in our horizon. Even when we talk about the political environment in our neighbourhood, Tibet rarely figures in it.
In the discussions with the Chinese, whether in official or non-official capacity, at the governmental or political level, we have practically ceased to raise the question of Tibet and the Tibetan people. But the Chinese always make it a point to impress upon us the benefit of Chinese rule for the Tibetan people and almost inevitably remind us—sometimes explicitly, sometimes implicitly—that India recognises Tibet as being a part of the Chinese People’s Republic.
What is intriguing is that even in the early fifties when India-China relations were raised to a state of euphoria, Tibet invariably figured in the talks between the leaders of the two countries, and India’s special position with regard to Tibet was conceded by the Chinese side, so much so that the Indian Prime Minister’s interest and concern about the Dalai Lama and his relations with the Panchen Lama did not evoke the Chinese criticism that this amounted to interference in the internal affairs of China. But the entire situation changed in the late fifties, when with the simultaneous launching by China of a persecution drive against the Dalai Lama forcing him to escape with his entourage to India in the summer of 1959, came the first armed clashes by the Chinese border guards with Indian frontier patrols culminating in the blitz invasion of the Chinese Army into the Indian territory in October 1962.
The irony of it all has been that what is known as the India-China border talks in the last thirty years and more, really related to the frontier-line between India and Tibet, while the Dalai Lama, who alone is acknowledged by the Tibetan people as their leader, both spiritual and temporal, has been forced into exile in this country throughout these three decades-and-a-half. If one were to go by past precedents—which the Chinese are fond of quoting to substantiate any claims in the international context—then the Tibetan side should have a place in any India-China border talks.
The Dalai Lama’s dramatic arrival in India alongwith nearly a hundred thousand of his following was an event whose full historic significance was perhaps not fully perceived at the time by most political observers. It was not just a leader of a country being forced to become a refugee in another country. The entire mystique of the Tibetan politics suddenly came out into the open before the entire world. What is indeed noteworthy is that in the totally new surroundings, the Dalai Lama and his following coming out of the cloistered retreat of Lhasa, adjusted themselves with remarkable felicity, transmitting effectively their message, both spiritual and political, to diverse sections of the world public. In all these years, the Dalai Lama has grown as a world figure, impressing one by his serenity and wisdom. And he has installed into his loyal following a sense of dignity and purpose—no feeling of depression, no air of a lost cause. Instead, an amazing reservoir of silent confidence, reflecting the sheer majesty of their native land—by no means a lost horizon.
Looking back, one has to concede that after the first flush of excitement on the Dalai Lama’s appearance on the world stage, there came a phase of low tide in the international interest in Tibet, almost synchronising with the focus shifting to Deng Xiaoping’s modernisation programme in China. In the last three years the pendulum has swung again, particularly after the Tiananmen massacre, and there has come over a marked resurgence of interest in Tibet as could be perceived during the Dalai Lama’s recent tour abroad. With the end of the Cold War, the concern for human rights has become a major plank in the consciousness of the world public and this is reflected in the policy posture of many governments. The issue of human rights figured prominently in Clinton’s election campaign and has become a key item in the new Administration’s policy programme.
This was demonstrated in ample measure during the Dalai Lama’s recent visit to Washington, where his meeting with President Clinton proved to be more than a formality. And the British Prime Minister on his part moved beyond his old reticence while meeting the Tibetan leader. It needs to be noted that a conference of international law specialists held in London in January this year upheld the Tibetan people’s right to self-determination. World attention to the violation of human rights in Tibet has been intensified and has become widespread. Apart from such bodies as the Amnesty International and the Asia Watch, among others, this issue has been taken up by the International Commission of Jurists and France Libertes.
Viewed in the background of renewed world-wide interest and concern about Tibet, one cannot but notice the absence of any corresponding campaign in our country in defence of human rights in Tibet as we have had for South Africa, Nepal or for that matter Burma matter Burma, despite the fact that the Dalai Lama and his entire government-in-exile are located in Dharamsala. The reason for this is perhaps a misplaced fear that any campaign for human rights in Tibet might damage the prospect of restoring normalcy in our relations with China. It may be noted that the Dalai Lama himself has been saying unreservedly that he welcomes the progressive development of China’s economy and standing in the world, and along with it, he wants the extension of democracy and well-being to the people of Tibet.
Briefly, the points of concern about China’s policy in Tibet may be noted here. First in this list is the large-scale colonisation of the Han population in Tibet. The official Chinese figure is that there are four to five million Chinese in the whole of Tibet, of which there are only 90,000 in what is specified as the Autonomous Region of Tibet, whose population numbers just three million. It is estimated that the total Chinese population in Tibet today is well over seven million. If this planned population transfer continues, it could soon bring about a demographic transformation by which the Tibetans would be reduced to a minority in their own country.
Secondly, the growing militarisation of the Tibet region. Apart from the increase in the stationing of Chinese garrisons in Tibet, there is the setting up of a very important nuclear weapons R & D Centre, known as the Ninth Academy in Tibet which is responsible for designing China’s nuclear arsenal, detonation development and radiochemistry. Several dozens of China’s nuclear warheads are located in Tibet. Missile bases have been set up in Tibet. Five years ago, China carried out in Tibet what was officially described as “chemical defence manoeuvres in the high altitude zone to test newly-developed equipment”.
This aspect of China’s policy in Tibet has a direct bearing on our country’s strategic concern. There could be no other plausible target for these nuclear weapons and missiles in Tibet except India. In this context, the Dalai Lama’s repeated call for transforming the whole of Tibet into a weapons-free zone of peace assumes pointed significance. In his well-known Strasbourg Proposal in 1988, he recalled Tibet’s “historic status as a neutral buffer state contributing to the stability of the entire continent”.
Thirdly, the question of dumping radioactive nuclear wastes in Tibet. It is not known as to how much of radioactive waste comes out of the top secret Ninth Academy of the Chinese defence establishment in Tibet. It is known that Tibet has the world’s biggest uranium reserves, and there are reports of many local Tibetans having perished after drinking contaminated water in the proximity of a uranium mine in Amdo. In 1991, Greenpeace exposed plans to ship toxic sludge from the USA to China for use as ‘fertiliser’ in Tibet. And there are other reports of certain European firms negotiating with the Chinese authorities for dumping nuclear toxic wastes in Tibet.
The fall-out is a matter of urgent concern for all those neighbouring countries through which flow the great rivers of Asia originating from Tibet: Oxus, Indus, Brahmaputra, Irrawady, Mekong, apart from the two great rivers of China, Yangtze and Huang Ho. If these rivers are polluted, it will be a frightening hazard for millions of people on the Asian mainland, particularly for the peoples in South Asia, of which the two most populated are India and Bangladesh.
In three decades and more there has been serious environmental destruction of Tibet. There has been massive deforestation of the rich forest belts of Tibet. In Amdo province alone, it is estimated that about 50 million trees have been felled in the last forty years. Southern Tibet has been equally denuded of forests. The Tibetans do not use much timber, most of the wood product has gone to the other parts of China. This massive deforestation has led to serious soil erosion and flood. Today, Brahmaputra and Indus, Yangtze and Huang Ho are among the five most heavily-silted rivers in the world. Desforestation endangers the monsoon balance, which is of direct concern for us. With the denuding of the great pastures of Tibet, desertification has begun.
All these are matters of direct concern for many countries. Without infringing upon the sovereignty of any Latin American country, the ecological preservation of the Amazon River basin inspired a remarkable international initiative. Similarly, it is time that the preservation of the unique environmental balance of Tibet became the concern of the world community, in which the countries directly affected next door have to come forward. This is an issue of direct international concern as important as the upholding of human rights, since it endangers the very life and living of billions of people linked by Nature to Tibet, its flora and fauna.
Even when the Dalai Lama arrived in India in 1959, he underlined that he and his people “do not cherish any feelings of enmity and hatred against the great Chinese people” and sought “the creation of a favourable climate” for negotiations for a peaceful settlement. There was, however, no contact between the Dalai Lama’s establishment and the Chinese Government until 1979. This is understandable because these were the years of the Cultural Revolution and the rule of the Gang of Four which proved disastrous for China. It was only in February 1979 that Gyalo Thandup, an elder brother of the Dalai Lama, received an invitation from Deng Xiaoping and made a private visit to Beijing where he was met by high Chinese officials. He was also received by Deng Xiaoping himself.
Since then, negotiations have dragged on. In the course of these tenuous contacts, the Dalai Lama himself wrote a letter to Deng Xiaoping in March 1981, emphasising the need for “our common wisdom in a spirit of tolerance and broad-mindedness”. Although there was no direct response to his letter, the contacts continued, in the course of which the Chinese Government said that everything could be discussed except the question of Tibet’s complete independence. The Chinese Prime Minister, Li Peng, repeated this when he came to Delhi in December 1991.
In September 1992, the Tibetan side appointed a three-member delegation and sought to resume the talks with the Chinese Government. While awaiting Beijing’s response, the Dalai Lama has made it clear that he would like to start negotiations for the peaceful solution of the Tibet problem without any preconditions. He, however, threw in a significant suggestion that China could take the “one-country-two-systems” approach with regard to Tibet as it has done about Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Tibet today presents an important issue before Indian diplomacy. Without in any way changing its formal stand on Tibet—no matter whatever might have been the internal controversy over the wisdom of the stand—New Delhi can certainly raise all the issues of direct concern, strategic and environmental, that the situation in Tibet poses for this country. Meanwhile, there is need for a broad-based movement in our country for greater awareness about what is happening in Tibet today, so that the government may be in a position to take up with the Chinese Government the concern and interests of our people with regard to our northern neighbour, Tibet.
(Mainstream, July 24, 1993)

Nepal transforms from Saffron to Red

Chinese outsmart Indian Intelligence

The Prime minister of Nepal Mr. Pushpa Kamal Dahal (Prachanda) is scheduled to go to China shortly. The Indian observers in bureaucratic circles and media are anxious about this visit because Mr. Prachanda is a Maoist leader visiting China. The concerns are due to growing influence of Maoists in certain pockets of India and their ideological affinity towards communist China; China is a regional power and a rival to India in military and economic activities and therefore Nepal getting closer to China may become a conduit to fuel internal disturbances in India.
Nepal - the world's youngest republic is landlocked by its two neighbours China and India
A controversial debate on the future of a triangular relationship among India, Nepal and China began in Aug 2008 when Mr Prachanda, after swearing in as Prime Minister decided to visit China first deviating from the tradition of Nepal leaders calling on India first.
For the last six decades India has shown a casual attitude towards Nepal since the Kingdom was ruled by Hindu Monarchy. This country with a small population of 27 million was not at all considered a security threat to India. Indian policy planners were lethargic as they believed that the Well water could not be carried away by the Floods. But ever since the Maoists fumed against the Monarchy this landlocked buffer state between China and India became a neighbor to be watched and dealt with care.
Unfortunately those in charge of Foreign Affairs right from Krishna Menon to Shiv Shankar Menon could have no imagination and forethought and have failed in their duties by implementing policies that have compromised the security of Indian people.
In 2005, when King Gyanendra seized power to rein over a Hindu kingdom of Nepal, the Maoists resorted to road blockade for 11 days against his coronation. Later they demanded the private schools in Nepal to lower admission and tuition fees scrap singing of the national anthem, stop teaching Sanskrit and remove photographs of the King. At that time about 1.5 million students studied in 8,500 private and boarding schools and 4.9 million students studied in 25,000 public schools. The owners of private schools opposed those demands.
The very fact that Maoists were demanding to stop teaching Sanskrit in schools showed that our Indian Political and Bureaucratic establishment were identified with the unpopular King and his religious and media protégées.
We can recall how Jeyendhira Saraswathi - The Sankaracharya of the Kanchi mutt who considers Sankrit as Deva Basha but failed to acknowledge the antiquity of Tamil was closer to the Nepal King. At the time of his arrest in the Sankara Raman murder case, there were rumors that he planned to escape as a refugee to Nepal to avoid arrest. Not long before, many high level officers from several ministries of the central government were seen visiting the mutt as devotees of the Sankaracharya. No wonder, such policy makers could mislead our leaders and parliament. The sentiments over language leads us to believe that these people might have tried to play with the language feelings of the Nepalese people.
But in contrary to the approach of India developing relation only with the creamy layer of the Nepal society, China encouraged contact with the common people and concentrated on the real issues confronting Nepal.
Supporters of Nepal Communist Party (Maoist) Chairman Prachanda listen as he addresses an election campaign rally in Bhaktapur, on the outskirts of Katmandu, Nepal, Wednesday, March 12, 2008.
After the popular movements and protests by the Maoists, Nepal became a secular state in May 2006, declared itself a Federal Republic and abolished Monarchy in May 2008. The Maoists backed by China participated in the elections held in April 2008 and staged a democratic coup by capturing power. Mr Prachanda became the Prime minister of Nepal.
With the installation of Maoist Government in Nepal, China sent delegates of political and military experts and tried to cement the relation with Nepal. The Chinese delegates have even met Madhesi groups from the restive Terai region of southern Nepal, in the Indian border.
But Indians who are driven only by self interests could never learn a lesson. This is best exposed if we read the opinion of Tarun Vijay one of the opinion manufacturer found in the media reported like this even after the victory of Maoists in elections in Nepal: “Riding on the power of the gun, they seized control of half the Nepalese districts, murdered an inspector-general of police who had shown courage to take on them, banned Brahmins from having traditional tufts, stopped Sanskrit in schools and desecrated temples. Their ‘revolutionary zeal’ was never showered on any non-Hindu person or institution.”
Such a Hindutwa opinion shows where the truth is. They could not understand and digest that there is a change in the Nepal polity and continued to point out at the violent events in Nepal as if nothing such happens in Indian Democracy.
On the other hand, Chinese swiftly showed keen interest to develop good relation with Maoist coalition Government of Nepal in which India again lagged behind.
Now the Maoists are developing grass root level relation with the Communist party of China by sending delegates. Ahead of the Second visit of Prachanda to Beijing, China has announced doubling of aid to Nepal amounting to $21.94 million.
Prime Minister Prachanda: Nepal's longtime rebel leader or 'the fierce one'
And on seeing India out maneuvered by China, the media in India has now started rumors about a coup by Nepal Army against Maoist rulers. The difference in opinion between the Government and Army about induction of Maoist activists in Army has been exaggerated and the visit of Prachanda to China has now been postponed. We can very well understand who is planning and planting such stories in Media- the still powerful status quoists in India and Nepal. Even if it is true, any military coup in Nepal should happen only against the will of the people and will not last long.
We are deeply concerned and pained that Indian people are mislead and betrayed by insensitive officials and media. No one is going to be punished for a failure in foreign policy and we are running a democracy without any democratic accountability, a shame.
We expect Indian Government to follow a transparent policy towards Nepal and other neighbors. We need more open discussion in all forums about all our neighbors. We should develop people to people relation by allowing and promoting interactions in Culture, Arts, Music and Dance. That is the way to have good relations with neighbors. India failed to respect the linguistic feelings of the people of Nepal and identified itself with Sanskrit and Religion which went wrong. We cannot forget that our only success story is the creation of Bangladesh by giving due respect to the linguistic feelings of the Bangla people who rose above their religious nationality.
Nepal and Ealem should be as good as Indian terrritories if dealt with due consideration for the aspirations of the people of those Nations. The Pro Sanskrit approach to Nepal and Anti Tamil approach to Ealem is proving suicidal to Indian interests in the region.
Alternate opinion is neglected and our policies are framed by horses of narrow vision. Clandestine policies on foreign affairs under the pretext of secrecy in National Security have failed. There is no meaning in allowing a problem to expand by leaving the head and catching the tail. We should not consider the personal belief and grievances of some leaders and officers to dictate our foreign policy. Otherwise we will end up in a situation of a Nair holding the tail of a tiger.
We have no friends in our neighborhood. This will hamper our Growth. If not even one country along our boundary desires to have cordial relation with India it is only our fault. We have failed to do what is fit to do. And it will be even more harmful when we are doing something which is not to be done.
It is ruinous to do what should not be done
And ruinous to leave undone what should be done.
–ThiruValluvar 466
A Showcase of Failure of Indian Foreign Policy

China - Tibet
India recognized annexing of Tibet to China. India should have bargained by delaying the recognition to settle the border issues.

China War 1962
Failure of Panchsheel policy followed by Jawaharlal Nehru. India was weak in military prowess and still chose to remain non aligned with no allies at the time of crisis at China border. India lost.

Pakistan- Kashmir
At the time of partition on achieving independence india agreed in UN for plebiscite in Kashmir. India should have asserted its rights over the Kashmir based on the instrument of accession signed by the ruler of Kashmir.

Pakistan wars
India failed to gain territories in Kashmir even after victories of war with Pakistan

India could not develop a trusted alliance with Bangladesh although India was instrumental for the birth of Bangladesh. India is harboring illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.

Myanmar- Tamils
India failed to protect the interests of Tamils when Burma made lakhs of Tamils stateless. Further it is not at all concerned with the lakhs of Tamils living in Myanmar without any linguistic and cultural rights

Myanmar - China
India could not prevent China from making inroads in to Myanmar cultivating military and economic cooperation although India shares boundary with Myanmar

SriLanka – Plantation Tamils
India failed to protect the interests of Plantation Tamils in Sri Lanka when more than a lakh of them were striped their Sri Lankan citizenship.

Sri Lanka - Ealem Tamils
India – Srilanka agreement and sending IPKF was a misadventure. India fell into the trap laid by Sri Lankan President Jayavardhane. IPKF killed Tamils and committed atrocities against Tamil women.
In the subsequent Ealem wars India helps the Government of Sri Lanka against the interests of Tamils. A policy that may backfire and may encourage separatist movements in Tamil nadu
By these senseless foreign policies, India cuts its own flesh to bleed for what?

Written by Malarthamil
Malarthamil is a civil engineer and writer-poet inspired by Thirukkural - a classical Tamil poetry that expounds various aspects of life.

Source : http://kalugu.com/2009/04/28/nepal-transforms-from-saffron-to-red/#comment-1119

Friday, April 24, 2009

सेना-सरकार विवाद भारतीय संचारमाध्यममा प्राथमीकता

सुजित मैनाली

काठमाडौं वैसाख ११ ।

माओबादी नेतृत्वको सरकार र सेनाबीच चुलिएको विवादले भारतिय संचारमाध्यमहरुमा विशेष चर्चा पाएको छ । नेपालसम्बन्धी समाचारलाई प्राथमीकताका साथ प्रकाशीत गर्दै आएका अमेरिका वेलायत तथा फ्रान्सका संचारमाध्यमा भने यस घटनाले स्थान पाउन सकेको छैन । त्यसैगरी चीनीयाँ संचारमाध्यमहरुले पनि यो समाचार तयार पारीन्जेलसम्म सरकारले प्रधान सेनापति कटवालसँग मागेको स्पष्टिकरणबारे कुनै समाचार प्रकाशीत गरेका छैनन् ।

सरकारले प्रधानसेनापतिलाई २४ घण्टाभित्रमा स्पष्टिकरण पेश गर्न दिएको अल्टीमेटमबारे टाइम्स आफ इण्डिया इण्डियन एक्प्रेस िहंन्दु इण्डोपिया एशिया टि्रबिउन अर्थटाइम्स जस्ता भारतिय संचारमध्यमहरुले विशेष प्राथमीकता दिएका छन् । यसमध्येपनि सत्तारुढ दल कांग्रेस आईसँग निकट मानिएको दैनिक पत्रिका टाइम्स आफ इण्डिया र भारतको सरकारी समाचार संस्था पिटिआइले यसै विषयमा विभिन्न समाचारहरु प्रकाशीत गरेका छन् । यसको अलवा भारतिय समाचार संस्था एएनआई थाइल्याण्डबाट प्रकाशीत हुने अनलाईन पत्रिका थिण्डीयन अन्तराष्ट्रिय समाचार संस्था एपि मोन्सटर एण्ड कि्रटिक्स अमेरिक क्रोनिकल तथा ताइवान न्युज अनलाईनले समेत यससम्बन्धी समाचार संप्रेषण गरेका छन् ।

संचारमाध्यमहरुले सरकारको कदमबारे राष्ट्रपतिले प्रधानमन्त्री र प्रधानसेनापतिसँग छुट्टाछुट्टै भेटघाट गरेको उल्लेख गरेका छन् । प्रतिपक्षी दल कांग्रेस सत्ता साझेदार एमाले लगायतका अन्य दलहरु सरकारी कदमको विरोध गर्दै राजनीतिक परामर्शमा जुटेको उनिहरुले जनाएका छन् ।'

भारतीय दैनिक पत्रिका टाइम्स अफ इण्डियाले नेपालका लागी भारतिय राजदुत राकेश सुदले प्रधानमनत्रीसँग भेट गरी प्रधानसेनापतिलाई बर्खास्त निर्णयको विरोध गरेको जनाएको छ । आफ्ना हजारौं लडाकुहरुलाई राष्ट्रिय सेनामा समावेश गराउन माओबादीले प्रधानसेनापतिलाई बर्खास्त गर्ने रणनीति बनाएकोतर्फ भारत शशंकीत रहेको जनाउँदै पत्रिकाले यसो भए भयानक परिणाम उत्पन्न हुने जनाएको छ ।'

श्रोतलाई उद्धृत गर्दै पत्रिकाले लेखेको छ, 'आगामी दुई दिनभित्रमा प्रधानसेनापतिलाई माओबादीले बर्खास्त गर्नसक्छ ।' माओबादी लडाकुलाई सेनामा विलय गराउने योजनाको विरोध गर्दै आएको नेपाली सेना भारत लगायत अन्य अन्तराष्ट्रिय समुदायसँग माओबादी सरकारको यो नै सबैभन्दा ठुलो टकराव भएको समाचारमा उल्लेख गरीएको छ ।

नेपाल र भारतका प्रधानसेनापति एकअर्काका मानार्थ प्रमुख रहने परम्परा रहेको जनाउँदै पत्रिकाले भारतको राष्ट्रिय रक्षा प्रतिष्ठान र भारतिय सैन्य प्रतिष्ठानबाट स्नातक गरेका प्रधानसेनापतिलाई बर्खास्त गर्ने माओबादी सरकारको निर्णय स्वीकार गर्न भारतलाई गाह्रो हुने दाबी गरेको छ ।

त्यसैगरी भारतिय संचामाध्यमहरुले आठ जना जर्नेदहरुलाई अवकाश दिन र भर्ना प्रकि्रया रोक्न सरकारले दिएको निर्देशन आफुले अटेर नगरेको स्पष्टीकरण सरकारसमक्ष प्रधानसेनापतिले बुझाइसकको जनाएका छन् । एक उच्च सैन्य अधिकारीले प्रधानसेनापतिका तर्फबाट स्पष्टिकरण प्रधानमन्त्री कार्यलयमामा उपलब्ध गराएको भन्ने सैन्य प्रवत्ता रमिन्द्र छेत्रिको भनाई उद्धृत गर्दै समाचार संस्था पिटिआईले लेखेको छ,'तर मिडिया रिर्पोट अनुसार आफुमाथि लगाइएका सम्पुर्ण आरोपको खण्डन गर्दै प्रधानसेनापतिले जननिर्वाचीत सरकारको निर्देशनअनुसार आफुले काम गरेको र मुलुकमा प्रजातान्त्रीक मान्यतालाई सघाउ पुर्याएको जानकारी दिएको दाबी गरेका छन् ।'

कटवाल दरबारसँग निकट रहेपनि राजतन्त्र उन्मुलनका लागी भएको लोकतान्त्रीक आन्दोलनमा उनले सहयोग गरेको पिटिआइको दाबी छ । कटवाललाई बर्खास्त गर्ने माओबादी निर्णयबाट नेपाल राजनीतिक धु्रविकरणतर्फ उन्मुख भएको जनाउँदै पिटिआइले यसबाट जारी शान्ति प्रकि्रया अवरुद्ध हुनसक्ने जनाएको छ ।

त्यसैगरी इण्डियन एक्सप्रेसले कटवालसँगको भेटमा प्रधानमन्त्रीले राजीनामा दिन कटवाललाई भनेको दाबी गरेको छ । राजीनामा दिए कटवाललाई प्रधानमन्त्रीले आफ्नो सुरक्षा सल्लाहाकार अथवा राजदुत बनाउने आश्वासन दिएको भन्ने सरकारको उच्च श्रोतलाई उद्धृत गर्दै एक्प्रेसले लेखेको छ ।

नेपाली विश्लेषकहरुले भने नेपालको आन्तरीक मामिलामा भारतीय हस्तक्षेपको शृंखला बढेकोप्रती चिन्ता व्यक्त गरेका छन् । यस्तो विवादले वैदेशीक चलखेललाई थप बढावा दिने भएकाले समस्या समाधानका लागी राजनीतिक समझदारी कायम हुनुपर्नेमा उनिहरुले जोड दिएका छन् । नाम उल्लेख नगर्ने सर्तमा एक विश्लेषकले भने,'पशुपतीमा पुजारी नियुक्तीदेखी अहिलेको सरकार-सेना विवादसम्ममा आफ्नो निर्णायक हस्तक्षेपकारी भुमीका प्रर्दशन गरेर भारतले आफ्नो प्रभावभित्र नेपालको स्वतन्त्रतामाथि निहित रहेको प्रमाणीत गरिसकेको छ ।'

Sunday, April 19, 2009

"India's Foreign Policy"

The article below was presented at the India Forum, organized by the Fundacion Marcelino Botin in Madrid in November 2007.

In March 2005, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice announced that, “international institutions are going to have to start to accommodate [India] in some way.” [i] From an Indian perspective she is years late. But it is an objective that the developed world is only now beginning to affirm and towards which it is still only taking hesitant steps.

While local politics in India mandate an internal focus, recent Indian administrations have understood that it will require engagement with the international community to achieve their domestic objectives. In words, India still focuses inwardly: in actions, however, India is beginning to feel its way outside its borders. In recent years, India’s military, diplomatic and economic energies have expanded far beyond Nehru’s Non-Aligned position. But what does that mean for India, its region, and to the United States?

What Drives India’s Foreign Policy Today?
India’s foreign policy is driven by five principal considerations, through which lie its relationships with the United States and China [1].

1. Conventional Security

As is necessary for any nation, India’s principal priority is ensuring conventional security for its country and its people. In recent years, India has built up a strong and capable Army, Navy and Air Force: the third, forth and seventh largest in the world respectively. India’s military is not only large, but effective, well trained and increasingly well equipped [2]; their Air Force has been known to best that of the United States in combat air exercises [3].

India’s main conventional threat is perceived to be Pakistan. These two nations had a military stand-off in late 2001 and early 2002 following an attack on the Indian Parliament. While India’s military is vastly larger than Pakistan’s, this numerical supremacy is somewhat mitigated by the topographic limitations of their western border which restricts the number of troops that India could deploy against Pakistan at any one time. India also has tense relations with another of its neighbors, China. In 1962, the two nations fought a war, lost quickly by India, a fact that has long stuck in the memories of many Indian military officers.

While India has committed to expanding and modernizing its Air Force[4], and maintaining the stature and strength of its Army, three principal reasons have motivated their desire to expand their blue water navy and build a submarine force. First, to counter China’s expansion into the region. Second, to ensure the continued safe flow of goods and natural resources through the Bay of Bengal and beyond, particularly the area around the Malacca Straits which is still very susceptible to piracy and through which approximately one half of the world’s oil flows [ii]. Finally, and I will talk about this later, is India’s desire for a nuclear triad, the missing leg of which today is a submarine force. While not trying to create an offensive capability, in the words of Admiral Sureesh Mehta, the Chief of Indian Naval Staff, India is looking for, “mutual respectful partnerships that ensure the stability of the Indian Ocean.” [iii]

While India’s military is designed to protect its borders from outside influence or powers, it should be noted that they also have a strong domestic role in fighting internal militancy, particularly in its northeast region, in Jammu and Kashmir, and against the Naxelite groups in the east. Notwithstanding these three sets of players, what is perhaps most surprising is that despite having the third largest Muslim population in the world (after Indonesia and Pakistan), excepting the attempted suicide attacks in England over the past summer, there are no known Indian al Qaida or Taliban members. This fact could suggest that India might have something to teach concerning anti-terrorist activities.

South Asia is an insecure region, and India is surrounded on all sides by unstable democracies, conflict-ridden countries, militant activity, authoritarian leaders or weak governments, and countries with which India has historically acrimonious relations. In order to ensure that such negative influences do not seep into India, despite the inherent cacophony described by its diverse ethnic and religious population and inequality, India has developed a strong democracy [iv]. This has enabled all parts of India’s society (to very differing degrees) to engage in the political process, a fact that helps maintain domestic stability. It is greatly in India’s interest to encourage others in the region to follow its example and in so doing improve the prospects of strong and continuous growth.

Except for its engagements with Pakistan and China, India’s military has not been called upon regionally in some while. The nation is wary of such activity since its disastrous expedition to Sri Lanka in the late 1980’s in which India became dragged into the internal conflict, and which eventually led to the assassination in 1991 of India’s former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. More conventionally, India uses its diplomatic and economic leverage and soft power to help mitigate the conflicts of its neighbors, particularly Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh. India, the United States and the United Kingdom together played a powerful role in persuading Nepal’s King Gyanendra to stand down in February 2005. India continues to have influence in Sri Lanka and in Bangladesh and provide a demonstration effect for democracy to these countries. In Afghanistan, India has built on its long-standing relationship with the Northern Alliance and Prime Minister Hamid Karzai to support stability and growth in the country, including providing over $750 million in assistance and infrastructure support. It should be noted that India’s interest in Afghanistan is not just historical: lying as it does on Pakistan’s western border, close relations with Afghanistan (as with Iran) constitutes a significant strategic asset to India.
Perhaps most importantly today, India’s military has a strong peace-building role. As of March 2007, India was the 3rd largest provider of peacekeeping forces to the United Nations (UN). While India is very reluctant to take action outside of UN auspices, there have been some notable exceptions in the humanitarian area. In December 2004, India was one of the founding four nations of the Asian Tsunami Core Group formed within twenty-four hours of the catastrophe. Despite being impacted themselves, India provided more aid and assistance than any country except the United States.

2. Economic Growth

India’s second principal foreign policy goal is economic growth. From its birth to 1980 India was known for its “Hindu” rate of GDP growth of approximately 3.5% per year. [v] Following the 1991 economic reforms led by the then-Finance Minister Manmohan Singh, growth tripled, reaching 8% in 2004. The government is forecasting up to 10% growth, second only to that of China, for the coming decade.

Historically, India’s growth has been internally driven, stemming largely from its past socialist ideology. Increasingly, however, India is attracting foreign investment and drawing on international resources and markets to support this growth. Despite the steady expansion of India’s middle class (judged to be around 300,000 today), India is going to have to draw on this international engagement further if it is going to continue to lift up the 60% of its population in the rural sector and develop a modern infrastructure [5]. Despite much political intransigence from the Left Parties currently supporting the Congress-led administration, India is also opening up its own markets to foreign investment. However, given that around 95% of India’s retail sector is composed of “mum and pop” stores [vi], effecting this change is going to be enormously sensitive politically. A major element of the U.S.-India relationship is focused on building economic engagement and investment between the two nations. While there are some potentially sensitive aspects to this (e.g., outsourcing), the interest from America’s private sector is fast expanding and goes beyond any government encouragement or support.
In the early 1990’s, the Indian Government launched a “Look East” policy intended to promote engagement between India and its South East Asian neighbors [vii]. The raison d’être of this policy was economic. This policy never truly realized the hoped for benefits, in large part due to the 1997 financial crisis that interrupted economic development in the region. Nevertheless, today India is increasingly engaging with the Association for South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) including working on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA), and continues to engage bilaterally with the members and others with trade agreements completed or in process with countries such as Thailand, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Korea, Singapore and Japan. Although it appears that India is focusing most of its energies and attention on bilateral economic initiatives, it continues to support regional and even multilateral agreements such as the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), and the new South Asian Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA), and taking a very active role in the World Trade Organization (WTO) Doha negotiations.
While India’s economic relationship with its South East Asian neighbors appears not to have been very successful thus far, one driver of India’s increasing engagement with China stems from the latter’s exceptional economic growth of over 10% since 2000. Both India and China see their concurrent economic expansion as mutually beneficial. The future however is less clear. India is increasingly focusing on the manufacturing sector, traditionally China’s area of expertise; as Prime Minister Singh noted in his Independence Day speech on August 15, 2007, “ In the next decade I want to see every region of the country to similarly benefit from the growth of modern industry. We will pursue policies that will help in our country’s rapid industrialization. [viii]” Equally, China is working to expand its services sector, India’s area of historical hegemony. With these two trends it is increasingly likely that the two nations will compete with one another more than they have in the past.

3. Energy Security

In order to sustain economic growth at around 10%, India must ensure energy security, its third major area of focus. India currently imports 70% of its oil and 50% of its gas; by 2025 it is projected that India will import 80% of its energy needs [ix]. It has some of the largest resources of coal worldwide, but it is dirty coal and its use will have severe environmental implications. India holds a similar position on energy consumption as many other developing countries; it should be permitted to expand energy consumption until its per capita levels are similar to those of the West. However, India is also beginning to pay more attention to environmental concerns, joining the Asian Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate and more recently creating a Council on Climate Change this past summer. This issue is increasingly becoming a political one as, in a recent poll conducted in 2006, 51% of Indian’s asked considered global warming a critical threat[x].

In an effort to ensure access to energy resources, India will continue to focus on the Middle East region (which supplies two-thirds of their oil), and particularly on Iran. Iran currently provides 10% of India’s oil (its fourth largest provider after Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and Kuwait) [xi] and, albeit unlikely, if the proposed pipeline from Iran through Pakistan to India becomes a reality, the three nations will be tied more intimately together, something that has both positive and negative consequences.[6] In addition to the Gulf, India, like China, is expanding its search for energy resources beyond its immediate neighborhood into Africa and Latin America. Where India has competed with China for bids, India was most often the loser (with many arguing that China has paid above premium for the win). However, it should be noted that on a number of occasions India and China have proposed joint bids to producing countries that have often been successful.

Over half of all global oil shipments go through the Malacca Straits annually. As a region very susceptible to piracy, it behooves local nations to work together to ensure the security and protection of these natural resources as they traverse the Straits. Given India’s sizable and capable Navy, it has a major role to play in helping to ensure this security, both for its own needs and in so doing ensure broader energy security (and stable prices). While there are some concerns from others in the neighborhood regarding India’s more assertive maritime forces (not least Indonesia), the regional powers will need to find appropriate mechanisms to work together in this area.

Today India only gets 3% of its electricity generation from nuclear power (compared to 30% in Japan and 78% in France) [xii]; it wants to expand its nuclear energy production by 9% a year through to 2050 [xiii]. This current low level of production was one of the driving factors behind the July 2005 civilian nuclear agreement between India and the United States. While progress in this agreement has been unsteady recently, as soon as it is complete, ensuring a good supply of fissile material to India to power its civilian reactors and new technologies to ensure their safety and efficiency is going to be a principal objective of India’s government.

4. Nuclear Capability and Nonproliferation

As mentioned earlier, India has two nuclear weapons powers on its borders – China and Pakistan – and one would-be nuclear weapons power in its immediate locale – Iran. Its relations with these first two powers are unstable; India has fought wars with both in recent decades and tensions rise and fall over border disagreements. In this context, India continues to attend to its own nuclear resources, and is very sensitive to intimation of control by any other power. [7]

According to the then-BJP-led Government, India’s 1998 nuclear tests were conducted to respond to what was perceived as the principal nuclear threat coming from China. [8] While at least overtly that attitude has changed, India will continue to build its capabilities in this area until it achieves a “credible minimum deterrent” that is capable of countering not just China’s nuclear weapons but also Pakistan’s. This drives its desire to build a nuclear triad of land-based, air-based and, the as yet missing, sea-based, capabilities. However, beyond needing all three foundations, it is not clear that India has calculated what constitutes a minimum deterrent. At the same time, India steadfastly maintains a “no first use” policy; this is despite Pakistan’s contrary statements that it would use such weapons if it felt a sufficient conventional threat [9]. It is indeed Pakistan that presents the greatest near-term threat of an exchange of nuclear weapons, as we saw in 2002. Fortunately, the Composite Dialogue between these two countries has not only lowered the tensions since that time, but also resulted in significant agreements that go some way to mitigating the chance of a mistaken nuclear attack. [10]

In addition to India’s concerns regarding a direct nuclear threat, it is also extremely sensitive to the possibility of proliferation of nuclear weapons or technologies given the region’s history in this area. China proliferated to Pakistan over many decades and more recently Pakistan, through the AQ Khan network, has disseminated technology and materials to a number of still undefined number of countries including Iran, North Korea and Libya. Thus, despite long being a target of the nonproliferation regimes, India has vowed to conform to the terms even outside the system. When the U.S.-India civil nuclear agreement is complete, requiring a consensus vote of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, India will be able to take a more active role in promoting nuclear nonproliferation goals.

Despite India’s nuclear weapons status today, it is likely that they will continue to promote the long held goal of a nuclear weapons free world. Meanwhile, they remain extremely concerned regarding the addition of any new nuclear powers (contrary to the claim that they were merely supporting U.S. interests) as is clear from their two UNSC votes against Iran’s nuclear program in recent years.

5. Prestige Security

The final priority of New Delhi’s government is for India to take its “rightful” place on the global stage. In so doing they recognize the importance of building their strategic stature and leadership. With 1.1 billion people, India has the second largest population in the world, and one of the youngest with over 50% under the age of 25. Their economy, by purchasing power parity, is 4th in the world after the U.S., China and Japan. [xiv] Unlike America’s, India’s soft power has remained strong, and their military, economic and diplomatic reach is increasingly significant. India is a multi-ethnic and multi-religious democracy accommodating a Hindu majority with, as stated earlier, the third largest Muslim population in the world. They are very eager to take up the role on the global stage that these characteristics support. While already a leader of the developing world, India wants its status recognized in the developed world.

This status stems in part from the strategic strength they convey militarily, economically and diplomatically. Given South Asia’s instability, there is much scope for India to focus these assets on helping to alleviate the conflicts in its neighborhood mentioned earlier such as those in Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. While India has been burned in the past from participating in some of these long-standing disputes, it is well aware of the impact that regional stability will have on its own internal growth and foreign investment; the government therefore continues to work actively to support the resolution of these disagreements.

Notably, I have failed to mention Pakistan as a neighbor with whom India engages supportively; given their antagonistic history this is for now not possible. India instead makes much effort to be passive with regards to Pakistan’s conflicts as we saw concerning the recent political upheavals to which India’s only comment has been merely an expression of desire for stability.

In this activity, in many circumstances, India comes up against China’s similar desire for regional leadership and seniority. China’s expansion and active diplomacy through their “string of pearls” policy antagonizes the Indian elite and supports concerns of becoming encircled by China and its allies. The creation of the East Asia Summit (EAS) as originally conceived by the Chinese and Malaysians was to exclude India (and Australia and New Zealand). China’s close engagement with the Burmese junta is thus also seen as a threat to India, and explains India’s continued engagement with that government despite its human rights record. [11]

India is working not just in the bilateral sphere, but as we saw economically, it hedges its bets by engaging in regional and, as appropriate, ad hoc groups such as the December 2004 Asian Tsunami Core Response Group and more recently the “quadrilateral” (Japan, the U.S., Australia and India). India has an impressive array of memberships of regional organizations and continues to drive for more including a formal association with the Associated of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and joining the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) group.

India also thinks globally, whether through UN peacekeeping or in its bid to become a permanent member of the UN Security Council. While thus far the goal of a permanent seat has been unsuccessful, it has resulted in a number of indirect benefits both in terms of building a much closer bilateral relationship with Japan, and in raising its profile as a serious contender following UN reform. Meanwhile, India continues to lead the G77 and the Non-Aligned Movement and in this capacity negotiates on behalf of the developing nations in the UN General Assembly and WTO Doha talks.

While these five factors – conventional security, economics, energy, nuclear security and nonproliferation, and prestige security – make up the core of India’s foreign policy interests, it is its relationships with two nations – China and the U.S. – that run through each of these objectives. It is thus unsurprising that both these relationships are particularly politically sensitive and complex.


India’s relationship with China has improved immeasurably since the 1962 war. In particular, over the past six or so years both nations have worked hard to ensure that their border conflicts do not spill over into their broader relationship, and that other bilateral interests are not held hostage to these disagreements. [12] Like the United States, China has worked hard in recent years to improve its relationship with India while continuing to sustain its long-term relationship with Pakistan.

Despite these efforts, however, the inherent relationship between China and India is one of tension, whether in the economic, energy, nuclear, strategic or security realm. Without the continued careful attention by both parties to mitigate them, these pressures are likely to increase as both India and China take leadership roles in Asia. [13] As was already mentioned, China was stymied by India joining the East Asia Summit at the request of some of the smaller members who did not want China to overwhelm the group. China’s “string of pearls” policy that focuses on areas of strategic importance to India, such as Burma and Pakistan, will ensure that India will remain wary of China and try to build out its avenues of leverage within the region. Pressure is also likely to rise as both nations expand economically, increasingly competing for foreign investment, and supremacy in the services and manufacturing industries. Given these inherent pressures and yet the importance to both countries of a stable and secure environment in which to grow, the two nations will continue to maintain a dual policy of “hedging and engaging” one another (similar to that of the U.S. with China) in order to walk the narrow path between remaining friendly but protecting against the eventuality that the other does not.
It should be noted that one significant benefit of the uncertain India – China relationship has been the swiftly improving India – Japan dialogue. As has become apparent in the past two years, these two democratic nations have many interests, relationships (not least with the United States) and concerns (such as the growth of China) in common. These mutual insights have contributed in the past two years to a growing dialogue between the governments and track II groups that will surely lead to a closer engagement in the future. As with India’s relationship with the U.S. however, this too will carefully avoid any intimation of anti-Chinese intentions.

United States

Unlike India’s interactions with China, their relations with the United States have undergone in the past five years a “transformation”, reaching a level today of primacy for both nations. Notwithstanding its non-aligned status, from its independence until the end of the Cold War, India tilted towards the Soviet Union when the United States engaged more actively with Pakistan. But in the early 1990’s such divisions began to fade and India’s foreign policy became more self-determining. In 2000, then-President Bill Clinton led a five-day path-breaking visit to India that transformed Indian views of the U.S. and launched our new relationship. Former U.S. Ambassador Robert Blackwill picked up the baton when he headed out to Delhi to be Ambassador to India for the Bush Administration in 2001.
What these moves illuminated were the possibilities between the two countries. As became apparent during Ambassador Blackwill’s tenure, there were huge opportunities that could be realized by a closer bilateral relationship although much work would be needed to make this possible. Above all there was a realization by the leadership in both countries that India and America have very similar strategic interests, and in the words of then Prime Minister Vajpayee, are “natural allies.”
What makes us natural allies or, in U.S. words, strategic partners? America’s principal challenges today lie in such areas as terrorism, extremism, proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), economic growth, energy, environment, narcotics, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, North Korea and potentially China. As should be clear, these are very similar to the principal foreign policy challenges facing India today. In many cases, these are issues that cannot be resolved unilaterally but that are going to require long-term engagement and cooperation not just by the U.S. and India but many of our other allies. We will need to work together to address these mutual challenges.

In countering terrorism, India has for far longer than America been subjected to a terrorist threat against its nation and, as stated earlier, has engaged its Muslim population in a manner that has not resulted in extremism or militancy despite the potential provocation on its borders. In the area of WMD and proliferation, given India’s location it is arguably much more susceptible to these threats than is the United States, whether from Pakistan, China, Iran or even North Korea.
Similarly, India and the United States are necessary partners in dealing with the dual challenges of energy security and environmental degradation. As India’s energy consumption increases, the two countries will need to work closely to ensure that environmental costs don’t similarly grow and that investment is made on the most advanced equipment. Given India’s underdeveloped infrastructure there are great opportunities to help India grow taking advantage of new technologies and achieving greater efficiencies that could have significant impacts on worldwide levels of energy consumption and climate disruption. Finally, India’s role in ensuring the security of the flow of goods, particularly oil, through the Malacca Straits is vital for all nations. [14]

With regards to the broader Asia region, the overlap of India and America’s interests allows the United States to have a more local reach and impact than might otherwise be the case. India is highly motivated to build a strong relationship with the government in Afghanistan and ensuring its success; again their long-term interests in this might even surpass those of America. Equally, the path that China chooses will have a significant impact both on India and the United States and as such, as with many other countries in the region, working together the two nations are likely to have a more powerful effect than independently.[15]
Finally, it should be also noted that as great democracies, India and the United States have similar world visions and interests in promoting this form of government, albeit through the auspices of the UN. India provides a very effective demonstration effect for other nations in the region and beyond without many of the sensitivities that the United States brings to the table.

Notwithstanding these areas of commonality between the United States and India, it is certainly not the case that the two nations see all things alike. India’s relationship with Iran, their reticence in exporting democracy, and their resistance to taking a more forceful approach with the Burmese junta are all examples where India’s strongest strategic interests and those of the United States are not identical. Further, given India’s colonial past and their strong history of non-alignment, Indians are extremely wary of appearing to be tied or beholden to America. While anti-Americanism is waning in India it is still a powerful political lever as the Left Parties have made clear during the recent debate surrounding the civil nuclear deal. Therefore, where the two nations interests overlap we are likely to see them working together, but the United States should certainly not assume that India will hold a similar position or apply leverage on issues that are of import to the United States alone. And, trying to apply quid pro quo’s to U.S. actions are only likely to backfire.


Given India’s five principal strategic interests, as it finds its position in the world and lives up to the potential that its character and natural assets imply, it could become a powerful force for transformation. In the short to medium term, India’s potential for becoming an agent of change is significant in a number of key areas. Given India’s impressive military and soft-power capabilities, as India builds confidence and finds its voice, I anticipate that it will become more active in helping to create a regional security regime and in pushing stability outwards. With the completion of the civil nuclear deal, India will have the freedom to take action in promoting nonproliferation objectives out of which until now it has been locked. In the broad area of counter-terrorism, whether through interdiction, intelligence sharing, military training or teaching about multi-ethnic and religious engagement, India has enormous resources and experience from which to draw. And finally, and perhaps most importantly for India, in the areas of health, education and agriculture, India has huge gaps to fill. As the government finds ways to address these problems and disparities, India will have a role to play in teaching and educating others.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Changing Sino-India relation and Nepal

By Sujit Mainali

As the famous traditional proverb goes, “Nepal is a yam between two boulders”, the boulders seem to have come much closer-- further sandwiching the yam. Of late, our neighbors have put Nepal in their top watch-list.

Recent marathon visits of senior leaders from our two neighbors underscore Nepal’s strategic importance for them. However, neighbors can remain good friends until their concern doesn’t hurt your sovereignty. The latest concern expressed covertly and overtly by our neighbors has crossed all limits in mutilating our sense of sovereignty.

The two Asian giants are in an intense race to become the super power in global perspectives.

The competition has got new dimension after nuclear deal was signed between India and US. Thus, difficulties observed in Sino-India relationship is ought to leave multidimensional effect in Nepal. Therefore, it is high time for Nepal to adopt appropriate foreign policy in changed scenario.

King Pritivinarayan Shah in his 'Dibya Upedesh (Devine Instruction)' had called southern neighbor as 'cunning' and had instructed his successors to remain close with northern neighbor for national benefit. This is the first clear statement given by Nepalese rulers to theorize foreign policy. But after the rise of Janga Bahadur Rana, Nepal developed intimacy with East India Company. From such intimacy, Nepal got back its lost territories in Banke, Bardiya, Kailali and Kanchanpur from the East India Company. But in the form of its compensation, neo-independent India made Mohan Samsher, the last Rana Prime Minister to sign the most infamous 1950 Nepal-India Treaty. Through the treaty, India ensured its political and economic dominance over the sovereign Himalayan nation.

After King Mahendra sacked democratic government and imposed party-less Panchayat system, Nepal maintained closer relation with China. During the active regime of King Birendra, Nepal had successfully suppressed 'Khampa Rebel', an armed plot designed by CIA to foster 'Free Tibet Movement'. China's feeling of gratitude towards Nepal for its effort to strengthen internal security of China is showing its influence till now.

But during each democratic regime, Nepal's relation with China and India remained inconsistent. However, due to excessive influence of India in Nepalese politics, the presence of China in Nepali politics remained dimmer and weaker in democratic Nepal.

After the formation of government under the leadership of Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), immature foreign policy adopted by Nepal to remain close with both China and India has made Nepal's foreign policy weaker. Hesitation to maintain political and economic ties with China and lack of effort to set bottom-line in the issue of Madhesh and Sharing of Water Resources has exposed Maoists’ ability in foreign diplomacy. In the near future, threat of clash between China and India is growing. Therefore, to cope with difficult changing regional scenario, Nepal needs to perform excessive homework to formulate appropriate foreign policy.

Competition for limited energy supply, boarder dispute, diverse view over utility of water and immense desire of both Asian giants to snatch regional power is adding fuel in the eroding China-India relationship. After US got formal entry in the politics of South Asia through India-US nuclear deal, China had pointed towards the necessity of making the deal inclusive. American and Indian analyst argue that the term 'inclusiveness' used by China is directed towards developing Pakistan as a nuclear rich country along with India to maintain regional balance. If we agree with this view it will be easier for us to conclude that Sino-Indian relationship has worsened after Indo-US nuclear deal. Several other incidents are further deteriorating China's relation with India. It has brought more complication in regional politics.

China's boarder dispute with India got shape after China invaded India on 1962. Since last few years, boarder tensions between the two courtiers are on the rise. India accuses China of illegally occupying more than 14,000 square miles of its territory on its northern border in Kashmir. But China is claiming over more than 34,000 square miles land in India's northeastern State of Arunachal Pradesh.

China is even insisting the Tawang district, a pilgrimage site for Tibetans in Arunachal Pradesh, to be ceded to China. But India has made it clear that any areas with settled populations would be excluded from territorial exchanges. To pressure India on the issue, China is strengthening its military infrastructure along the border and establishing a network of road, rail, and air links in the region. India's strategist believe that through such suspicious activities, China is intending to revive 1962's war. To strengthen defense system, China has adopted policy of making massive investment in the development of transportation network. It is proved from the huge amount recently poured by China in Tibet and Xinjiang province for strengthening transportation system.

To fuel the conflicting situation, India too has announced different development activities in disputed land. In Siliguri corridor, a most vulnerable place of India, which is also a meeting point of India, China, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Burma; and in the disputed land of Jammu and Kashmir, India has recently strengthened its defense system. This has manifested the tension growing between the Asian giant.

Despite accepting Tibet as a part of China by Indian government, the declaration is widely criticized at public level in India. Rivers like Ganga, Sutlez, Brahmaputra, Sindhu etc, which are regarded as the lifeline of South Asia, originate from Tibet. Thus, to ensure safety corner in water conflict which is supposed to happen in near future, India, with help of other western nation, is assisting 'Free Tibet Movement'. India had already criticized China's idea of diverting rivers which originate from the Tibetan plateau for the purpose of building world largest cannel.

Within Asia, both China and India takes each other as their major opponent. In political circle of South Asian Region, India's influence is pervasive. However in the public level, China is more popular. These power thirsty Asian giants are eager to exploit resources of their neighbor countries for their economic and strategic prosperity. China and India, both have exhibited their eagerness to utilize 30-80 trillion cubic feet natural gas embedded in Bangladesh and 51 trillion cubic feet embedded in Burma. Such aggression of China and India is another potential cause which may invite conflict between them.

Both China and India are the largest consumer of energy. Study made by International Energy Agency (IEA) and several other institutions has concluded that energy demand of these countries will increase in tremendous ratio in the near future. Currently, China and India are respectively fulfilling 50 and 70 percent of total energy consumption from import.

Both countries are importing significant portion of energy from Saudi Arabia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan and other countries located in the surrounding of the Caspian Sea. Similarly, African countries like Nigeria and Sudan are also addressing energy demand of China and India. In all above energy supplying countries, political instability is rampant. Therefore, to control over the limited supply of energy, conflict is ought to rise between China and India.

Strategically, Nepal is of immense importance for both China and India vis-à-vis preserving their interests in the region. After Beijing Olympic, overwhelming interest exhibited by the Chinese authorities towards Nepal, exhibits Nepal's strategic significance.

At the same time, India is intending to show that Nepal has become a center of criminal activities in the international arena. After recent Mumbai blast, Indian media had alleged Nepal for providing safety to Pakistan based terrorist group.

Subhahuddin Ahamad, a 'think tank' of Lasker-E-Toiba, the Indian media claimed, was in Kathmandu, he was plotting the Mumbai attack being based in Kathmandu. Indian media strongly carried this issue. And at the same time, the Indian authorities gave extreme pressure to Nepal to sign the extradition treaty. It also has manifested the growing interest of India towards Nepal.

After Deputy PM and Defense Minister of Nepal pointed towards the necessity of triangular consensus between Nepal, China and India to resolve Kalapani issue, horrified Indian establishment immediately sent its foreign minister to Nepal to manage the situation. Immediately after the visit of Indian FM, Nepal publicly agreed to exclude China from Kalapani issue. Such horrifying state of India is loaded with several serious meaning. Similarly, Power Ministry of India has passed a policy to facilitate each household with electricity in coming five years. At the same time India is heading to fulfill increasing demand of drinking and irrigation water. Building intercontinental waterways and larger cannel is major agenda of India to foster its economy. In all these events, it is easy to find the role of Nepal and its resources.

From all above fact, it is clear that regional significance of Nepal is increasing in the changed scenario. Therefore it is very high time for Nepalese authority for required preparation to formulate appropriate foreign policy.

Source : www.telegraphnepal.com
This article can be found in the below link also

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

China, the Brahmaputra and India

S. Padmanabhan, April 14, 2008

China’s attempt to divert the Brahmaputra has reared its head again. The Chinese are apparently eyeing about 40 billion cubic metres, out of the annual average inflow of 71.4 billion, of the Brahmaputra’s waters. The river skirts China’s borders before dipping into India and Bangladesh. China has a serious need to feed water to its north-west territory, the Gobi Desert, which contains almost half the country’s total landmass, but only seven per ce nt of its freshwater. The Gobi occupies an area of 13,00,000 sq.km making it one of the largest deserts in the world. Desertification of Gobi since 1950s has expanded it by 52,000 sq.km and it is now just 160 km from Beijing. It is said to expand by 3 km per year.

China has the will and the necessary resources — manpower, technology and, above all, large foreign currency reserves in excess of a trillion dollars — to take the Brahmaputra diversion project forward; the country’s economic stimulus in infrastructure could create employment potential for more than a few million people.

Hydrological risk

What does this diversion mean for India? The move by the Chinese Government will put almost 40 per cent of India’s hydel potential in trouble. India has hydro potential of 1,50,000 MW, of which 50,000 MW is in the North-East. Arunachal Pradesh, mainly fed by Brahmaputra’s tributaries — Siang, Subansiri and Lohit — supports development of 28,500 MW hydro projects. Of this, 2,000 MW is under development by NHPC and almost 23,500 MW has been awarded to Reliance Power, Jaiprakash Power, Athena Energy and Mountain Falls Ltd, besides NHPC.

Most of the awarded projects are awaiting environmental clearances, which may take two-three years, before work can begin on the ground. Since Brahmaputra is fed mainly by melted water from the Himalayan glaciers, the hydrological flow is expected to be affected during the lean flow season (winters), affecting generation from the planned plants. A move by China to divert the water will force private developers to be wary of investing in projects with the hydrological risk of not having adequate water even during normal times.

Funding mechanism

With this in mind, the Ministry of Water Resources (MoWR) is reported to have recently held a joint meeting with the Home Ministry, the Planning Commission and the State Governments of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh to work out a suitable funding and compensation mechanism for storage projects on the Siang, Subansiri and Lohit Rivers.

It was suggested at the meeting that 90 per cent of the funding of the flood moderation cost component of storage projects could be released to Arunachal Pradesh, which could then be passed on to the project authorities and, second, the amount equivalent to flood protection benefits accruing to Assam, as a result of the storage projects could be monetised and released to Arunachal Pradesh by the Planning Commission.

Hopefully, this should speed up the process of the project development so that the country can claim its first user right over the waters in terms of the MoU entered into between India and China in 2002.

The Brahmaputra flows 2,900 km from its source in the Kailash range of the Himalayas to its massive delta and the Bay of Bengal in Bangladesh. The river drains a vast area of nearly 9,36,800 sq. km. This river system forms the largest river delta and the third largest free water fall out into the Ocean in the world — next only to the Amazon and the Congo rivers. More people live in the Ganges-Brahmaputra river basin than Western Europe and the entire North American continent.

Issue to be addressed

This river system is of critical interest to all the four countries, including Nepal. China is an upper riparian state and, therefore, has the freedom and capacity to divert the river. Should that happen, the irreparable loss will result in destruction of a large part of the North-East and Bangladesh. This step will also drive millions of refugees from Bangladesh into India for their livelihood. There is thus an urgent need to address this issue trilaterally.

Water sustains life, environment and our culture. With global demand for water on the rise, we cannot be surprised if one country responds to its needs unilaterally; it is for us to take adequate steps before such disaster strikes.

Interlinking of rivers — Buffetted by international politics

BY S. Padmanabhan,
Source : Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications Tuesday, Jun 01, 2004

INTER-LINKING of rivers has been much in the news. That the new Government at the Centre is also looking at the idea is clear from the Union Water Resources Minister, Mr Priya Ranjan Dasmunshi's recent statement that he would study the report of the Task Force, appointed by the NDA Government, before giving his views on the project. The project depends much on certain international treaties too — with Bangladesh, Pakistan and China.

The Bhagirati, known as the Ganga — India's most sacred river — rises from Gomukh on the Indian side of the Tibetan border at an elevation of 12,500 ft. It is 2,510 km long and flows through China, India, Nepal and Bangladesh. The river is renamed Padma as it flows through the Bangladesh, merges with the Brahmaputra and joins the Bay of Bengal.

The Indus (known as Sindhu) is the principal river of Pakistan. Its source is actually in Tibet; it flows through Kashmir coming out of the hills between Peshawar and Rawalpindi. The remainder of its route to the sea is in the plains of the Punjab and Sind. Passing by Hyderabad, it ends in a large delta to the south-east of Karachi that has now been recognised by conservationists as one of the world's most important ecological regions. The partition of the Indian subcontinent created a conflict over the waters of the Indus basin.

The Brahmaputra is among the largest rivers in the world, with its basin covering areas in Tibet, China, India and Bangladesh. It originates in the Chemayung-Dung glacier, between lake Manasarovar and Mount Kailash. It has a long course through Southern Tibet before it breaks through the Himalayas near the Namcha Barwa peak at about 7,755m. The total length of the river is about 2,850 km (including Padma and Meghna up to the mouth). In the plains of Assam, the Brahmaputra is a mighty river and spreads into a vast expanse of water.

These rivers discharge about 70 per cent of their inflows into the sea. The interlinking of the river will have to capture this 70 per cent water wasted into the sea and divert it into the hinterland for irrigation and drinking.
However, before this project is finalised agreements with Bangladesh, Pakistan and China, which would want to protect their interests as upper basin and tailend beneficiaries, will have to be concluded. The Ganga and the Indus water-sharing is covered by two agreements — with Bangladesh and Pakistan respectively — known as the Farakka Treaty and the Indus treaty respectively. A look at these international agreements before venturing any further into the interlinking project.
The construction of the Farakka Barrage at the head of the delta in West Bengal was a cause of major tension between India and Bangladesh. India claimed that the Kolkata port was being affected by deposits of silt and by the intrusion of saline seawater. To counter these effects, fresh water is diverted into the Bhagirati via a large canal from the Ganga at Farakka. Bangladesh claimed that the Farakka Barrage deprived the country of a valuable source of water on which it depends because the Ganga waters are vital to irrigation, navigation and prevention of saline incursions in the Bangladesh Ganges delta region. The treaty "On Sharing of the Ganga/Ganges Waters at Farakka" was signed on December 12, 1996, but a permanent settlement is yet to be reached.

The treaty talks about the lean periods between January and May. India is only entitled to a maximum of 40,000 cusecs even if the water flow is higher than 75,000 cusecs. All water in excess of 40,000 cusecs is to be let into Bangaldesh. The treaty allows a graded sharing system for flows lower than 75,000 cusecs during these lean months. Beginning June as soon as the monsoon sets in in India, the treaty does not operate-obviously because there is a huge quantity of water flows into Bangladesh. In fact, Bangladesh would need protection from floods during the monsoon and would, perhaps, be ready to any arrangement that protects its soil from flooding, silting and other damagesuch as entry of saline water.

Before venturing into building the Ganga-Cauvery canal, the issue with Bangladesh needs to be resolved. Both countries should realise that the resolution of the issue of sharing of the water is beneficial to both the countries. For Bangladesh, the benefits are manifold — it can do away with floods and disaster. For India, the benefits are very significant — the prosperity of the central, eastern and southern States that use the diverted water. In fact, a long waterway can be created if the Ganga Cauvery canal is dug along the eastern coast from Farakka to Kanyakumari so that a lot of inter-State trade, including coal, can happen on the canal inaddition to irrigating a few of the driest regions of Andhra Pradesh Orissa and Tamil Nadu.
The resolution with Bangladesh will not be simple. Bangladesh does not have the economic wherewithal to develop the system that would allow it to optimise the diversion of the water. For centuries, the problems of East Bengal have been the salinity of soil and non-irrigability of the land due to overflows of the sea water as well as the floods. Bangladesh will need a large capital flow to convert these lands into usable land. Obviously, India has to provide this capital, perhaps on a non-returnable basis to gain the goodwill of the people of Bangladesh in return for their consent to interlink the rivers within India.

This will also mean that we need to mend our fences with Bangladesh. Politically, our hopes of 1971 that Bangladesh would remain grateful to India have been belied for various reasons. We need now to work on a sustainable peace to achieve economic progress for both the countries. This, of course, needs statesmanship and a political maturity in addition to a deeper understanding of the reality on both sides.

Partition created a conflict over the waters of the Indus basin. In 1960, after several years of arduous negotiations at the behest of the World Bank, the Indus Waters Treaty was signed. Till date, this is the only agreement that has been faithfully implemented and upheld by both India and Pakistan. Through all the wars and turbulations, this treaty has stood the test of time.

In terms of the treaty, all the waters of the Eastern Rivers — Sutlej Main and the Ravi Main — shall be available for the unrestricted use of India, except for domestic use and non-consumptive use within Pakistan. Pakistan shall be under an obligation to let flow, and shall not permit any interference with the waters of the Sutlej Main and the Ravi Main and their tributaries in the reaches where these rivers flow in Pakistan and have not yet finally crossed into Pakistan.
India paid 62,060,000 pound-sterling in ten equal instalments to Pakistan to protect its interests in the treaty. The treaty calls for non-interference in these rights and, obviously, any attempt to divert the waters into the hinterland of India would cause a serious protest as it would be perceived as violation of Pakistan's right to use the available water for drinking, non-consumptive and agriculture usage. The diversion of the Indus is key to the growth of Rajasthan and neighbouring states.
A lasting peace with Pakistan is a must for development of the interlinking project. The major source of comfort though is the non-violation of the Indus Treaty by both the countries in spite of three wars since 1960s. This again is a big political decision and one wonders whether Pakistan will cooperate with this project unless a solution is reached for the Kashmir problem. For a country that treats the terrorists in Indian Kashmir as jehadis, any plan to dramatically improve the economy of India which, in turn, will make it stronger, will not have the active support of Pakistan unless other inter-se issues are resolved.

The Brahmaputra flows through some of the most heavily disputed and unstable areas in South Asia. China and India currently dispute 83,000 square km within the basin.
North-East India is one of the poorest regions. In 1980, the Centre established the Brahmaputra Board as a statutory body under the Ministry of Water Resources to plan for and implement projects to harness the Brahmaputra for hydropower, flood control, and economic development. The rivers power potential is put at 48,000 MW, which constitutes as much as 30 per cent of the total hydropower reserves of India, but to date less than even 3 per cent of this has been harnessed.

The presence of China needs to be reckoned with. It was rumoured at one time in 1995 that China would explore plans to use nuclear weapons to blast the Brahmaputra basin to divert the river water into China's north-west territory, including the Gobi Desert, which makes up almost half of that country's total landmass, but only seven per cent of its freshwater. The economy, ecology, and the very existence of Tibet, Bangladesh and the north-eastern States of India will be at stake, if China carries out its designs. It is to be noted that the Brahmaputra basin covers 651,334 sq km, 58 per cent of which lies in India and 20 per cent in China and, hence, India has a greater right on the river though in reality, China, as the upper basin user, can sabotage any plans by India to use the downstream flow.

These problems will plague the development of the interlinking project and it is not as simple as the politicians make out to be. While such a project would dramatically change the fortunes of India's economy, narrow political motives merely to win a few million votes will not suffice. The success of the project needs a broader vision, statesmanship to find a consensus not only within the country, but make a lasting meaningful peace with our neighbours without whose support the project is a non-starter. Therefore the aim should be to bring in a national consensus first, instead of making it an election issue with promises, which normally is forgotten once the counting is over.

(The author is a consultant and can be contacted at paddy8@vsnl.com)

Saturday, April 4, 2009

मस्कुलर नीतिको अन्तरविरोध

By Sujit Mainali

भारतमा उग्र हिन्दुबादी–राष्ट्रबादी नारा बोकेर स्थापना भएको भारतिय जनता पार्टि (भाजपा)ले सत्तारुढ गठबन्दनको विदेश नीतिप्रती असन्तोष व्यक्त गर्दे आफ्नो नेतृत्वमा सरकार गठन भए वैदेशीक मामिलामा 'मस्कुलर नीति अबलम्बन गर्ने सार्वजानिक गरिसकेको छ। आसन्न लोकसभा निर्वाचनको पुर्वसन्ध्यामा सत्तारुढ दलको विदेश नीतिमाथि भाजपाले निम्न असन्तुष्टि जाहेर गरेको छ :

– वैदेशीक नीति निर्माणमा भारतको स्वायत्ततालाई कम महत्व दिइएको,

– भारतले अमेरिकासँग निकट र बहुआयामीक सम्बन्ध राख्न आवश्यक भएपनि भारत–अमेरिका परमाणु सम्झौता र पाकिस्तानद्धारा प्रेरीत आतंककारीहरुको गतिबिधी नियन्त्रण गर्ने शिलशिलामा भारतको स्वयत्तताको अवमुल्यन गरिएको,

– बंग्लादेशबाट भारतमा हुने अबैध बसाइसराई र नेपालमा माओबादीको उदयप्रती आँखा चिम्लीएर भारतको आन्तरीक सुरक्षामा चासोमा प्रदर्शन नगरेको,
– निवर्तमान सरकारको छिमेकी राष्ट्रप्रतीको कमजोर नीतिका कारण नेपाल, श्रीलंका लगायतका राष्ट्रहरुले भारतलाई टेर्न छोडेको, आदि (श्रोत : वेवन्युजवायर)

निर्वाचनको पुर्वसन्ध्यामा भाजपाले सार्वजानिक गरेको यस्तो भनाईबाट निर्वाचन परीणाम प्रभावीत हुने देखी आफ्नो लोकप्रियता कायम राख्न मनमोहन सरकारले छिमेकी राष्ट्रहरुप्रती कडा व्यवहार प्रदर्शन गर्ने आँकलन सबैले गरेका थिए। यसै सन्दर्भमा नेपालमा बढ्दो चीनीया प्रभावलाई न्युनिकरण गर्नुको सँट्टा माओबादी नेतृत्वको सरकारले प्रोत्साहित गरेको कारण भारत र माओबादीबीच असमझदारी बढिरहेको समयमा प्रमुख विपक्षी दलका नेता गिरीजाप्रसाद कोइरालाले भर्खरै गरेको दिल्ली भ्रमणले सर्वत्र आशंका निम्त्याएको थियो। पुर्वराजा र संसदबादी दलबीचको गठबन्धनले माओबादी सरकारलाई प्रतिस्थापीत गर्ने हल्ला चलिरहेको समयमा दिल्लीबाट फर्किएलगत्तै नेता कोइरालाले माओबादी नेतृत्वको सरकारमा कांग्रेस सहभागी हुनसक्ने आशयको व्यवहार प्रदर्शन गर्न थालेका छन्। यसबाट छिमेकी राष्ट्रसँगको भारतको नीति परिर्वतन हुनसक्ने संकेत देखीएको छ।

भाजपाको 'मस्कुलर नीति र जनआँकलनको ठिक विपरीत भारतले माओबादी सरकारको निरन्तर्ताप्रती रुची देखाएको छ। क्षेत्रीय अर्थराजनीतिमा देखिएको परिवर्तनसँगै छिमेकी राष्ट्रसँगको सम्बन्धलाई पुनव्याख्या गर्नुपर्ने महशुश गरेको भारतले तदअनुरुप नेपालप्रतीको रणनीतिमा परिमार्जन गर्ने छाँटकाँट देखाएको हुनसक्ने आधारहरु प्रुशस्त छन्।

भारत–अमेरिकाबीचको परमाणु सम्झौतामार्फत एसियाको अर्थराजनीतिमा महाशक्ती अमेरिकले आधीकारीक प्रवेश पाएपछि एसियाको समग्र व्यवस्थाले नयाँ आयाम प्राप्त गरेको छ। २१औं शताब्दीको राजनीति भारतिय महासागरलाई केन्द्र मानी रुमल्लीने तथ्यतर्फ विभिन्न अध्ययनहरुले स्पष्ट रुपमा संकेत गरिसकेकाले भविष्यको अर्थराजनीतिक जटिलतामा आफ्नो स्थान सुरक्षीत गर्न अमेरिका दक्षीण एसियाली राष्ट्रहरुको केन्द्रसम्म पुग्न चाहन्छ। यसको लागी दक्षीण एसियामा व्यप्त अस्थीरता भरपर्दो मार्ग बन्नसक्ने अमेरिकी विश्वास छ।

द्धपक्षीय परमाणु सम्झौतापछि अमेरिकाको वैदेशीक नीति भारतले शिरोधार्य गरीसकेको छ। एसियामा चीनको बढ्दो प्रभाव भारत र अमेरिका दुबैका लागी प्रमुख चुनौती हो। तसर्थ, चीनलाई साइज'मा ल्याउने रणनीतिमा भारत र अमेरिकाको मतैक्य छ। अमेरिकी विदेश नीति भारतले स्वीकारेको र छिमेकी राष्ट्रसँगको भारतको सम्बन्धलाई अमेरिकाले भारतिय चश्माबाट नियाल्न सहमती जनाएको स्थीतिमा दुई आणवीक शक्तीसम्पन्न राष्ट्रहरुले दक्षीण एसियामा संयुक्त शक्ती प्रदर्शन गर्न सुरु गरिसकेका छन्।

भाजपाले छिमेकी राष्ट्रमध्येपनि खासगरी नेपाल र श्रीलंकाप्रतीको मनमोहन सरकारको नीतिमाथि किटेरै आफ्नो असन्तुष्टि जाहेर गरेको छ। यसले अन्तराष्ट्रि शक्तीसन्तुलन र शक्तीसंकलनमा नेपाल र श्रीलंकाजस्ता साना दक्षीण एसियाली राष्ट्रहरुको बढ्दो महत्वलाई पुष्टि गरेको छ।

छिमेकी राष्ट्रको आर्थिक, सामाजीक तथ राजनीतिक असमझदारीलाई अवसरको रुपमा प्रयोग गर्दै ति राष्ट्रमा विभाजन ल्याउन र आफ्नो अभिष्ट पुरा गर्न भनि इन्दीरा गान्धी प्रधानमन्त्री भएको समयमा भारतले गुप्तचर संस्था रअ गठन गरेको थियो। रअकै सक्रियतामा जन्मेको र हुर्केको श्रीलंकाको तामिल विद्रोहलाई माध्यम बनाइ भारतले श्रीलंकासँग पटक पटक राजनीतिक मोलमोलाई गर्नेगरेको छ। भारतिय महासगरको बढ्दो उपयोगीतासँगै बढेको श्रीलंकाको भुराजनीतिक महत्वले भारत, अमेरिका र चीनको ध्यान खिचेको छ।

श्रीलंकामा कब्जा जमाई भारत र चीन रणनीतिक रुपमा सुरक्षीत हुन चाहन्छन्। भारतिय महासागरमा आफ्नो पहुँच सुनिश्चत गरी विनाअवरोध उर्जा आपुर्ति सुचारु गर्नु चीन, भारत र अमेरिका सबैको रणनीतिक स्वार्थ हो। भारतिय महासागरको दक्षीणी तटमा अमेरिकाले सन् २०१७ सम्म मात्र आश्रय लिने बैधता प्राप्त गरेकाले श्रीलंकामाथि नियन्त्रण कायम गरी यस क्षेत्रमा आफ्नो प्रभावलाई जिवन्त राख्न अमेरीका उद्यत छ। आफ्नो स्वार्थपुर्तिका लागी भारत र अमेरिकाले श्रीलंकाको जातिय विभाजनलाई हतियारको रुपमा प्रयोग गर्दै आएका छन्।

तामिल विद्रोहलाई माध्यम बनाइ भारतले अन्य छिमेकी राष्ट्रहरुमाझै श्रीलंकामाथीको हस्तक्षेपालाई थप व्यापक बनाउँदै लग्ने छाँटकाँट देखाएको छ। विरालोलाई ढोका बन्द गरी एकोहोरो कुट्न थालेपछि विरालोले या त प्रत्याक्रमण गर्छ, या झ्याल्बाट बाहिर हामफाल्छ। श्रीलंकाको सवालमा पनि त्यहि भयो। भारत र अमेरिकाको संयुक्त दबाब सहन नसकेपछि श्रीलंकाले बाध्य भएर चीनसँगको रणनीतिक सम्बन्धलाई व्यापक बनायो।

चीनबाट उल्लेख्य मात्रामा हतियार र आर्थिक सहयोग प्राप्त गरेको श्रीलंकाले भारत, अमेरिका लगायत अन्य पश्चिमी राष्ट्रहरुको विरोधका बाबजुत तामिल सफाया अभियानलाई अघि बढाईरहेको छ। यसरी श्रीलंकाको रणनीतिक सम्भावना उपभोग गर्ने अवसरबाट भारत विस्तारै विमुख हुँदै गईरहेको छ। बंग्लादेशसँग समेत बलबाहुल्य रणनीति अबलम्बन गर्दै आएको भारत बंग्लादेशको उर्जा उपयोग गर्नबाट विस्तारै वञ्चीत हुँदै गईरहेको छ। पाकिस्तान भारतको जन्मदात दुश्मन भएकाले पकीस्तानी श्रोत र रणनीतिक सम्भावना भारतका लागी उपयोगी हुनै सक्दैन। बर्माको विशाल प्राकृतीक ग्यास र जलश्रोतमाथि लोभिएको भारतले श्रोत कब्जा गर्न बर्मासँग पनि दबाबपुर्ण रणनीति अबलम्बन गर्दै आएको थियो। नेपाललाई पनि विभिन्न असमान सन्धी सम्झौतामा हस्ताक्षर गर्न भारतले दबाब दिनेगरेको विषय नयाँ होइन।

छिमेकी राष्ट्रहरुलाई आफ्नो एजेण्डामा सहमत गराउन बल प्रयोग गर्ने नीति भारतले लिएकाले सम्पुर्ण दक्षीण एसियाली राष्ट्रहरु बाध्य भएर चीनसँग नजिकीन थालेका छन्। छिमेकी राष्ट्रको राजनीतिमा आफ्नो दबदबा रहँदारहँदैपनि तिनै राष्ट्रहरुबाट भारतले आफुलाई असुरक्षीत महशुश गर्न थालीसकेको छ। भारतको कोर्सिभ डिप्लोमेशीका कारण घाईते भएका छिमेकी राष्ट्रहरु मलहम पट्टिका लागी चीनसँग नजिकीन थालेका छन्। क्षेत्रीय राजनीतिमा देखिएको यस्तो परिवर्तनको भरपुर उपयोग गर्दै चीनले बर्माको सिट्वी, बंग्लादेशको चित्तागोंग, श्रीलंकाको हम्बानटोटा र पाकिस्तानको ग्वादारमा रणनीतिक बन्दरगाहा निर्माण गरेर क्षेत्रीय पकडलाई बजबुद बनाउने र भारतलाई घेर्ने काम गरिरहेको छ।

नेपालसँग हाल चीनले बढाएको हिमचीमलाई समेत भारतले यसैतर्फको यात्राको रुपमा लिएको छ। दण्ड र भेदजस्ता कुटनीतिक अष्त्रको प्रयोग परिवर्तित क्षेत्रीय शक्तीशन्तुलनमा उपयुक्त नभएको ठहर गर्दै भारतले आफ्नो रणनीति परिवर्तन गर्ने सम्भावना यसअघिनै देखाइसकेको थियो। बर्माको जुन्ता सरकारको विरोधमा खुलेआम प्रस्तुत भएर भारतले त्यहाँको प्रजातान्त्रीक आन्दोलनमा आफ्नो सक्रिय समर्थन जाहेर गरेको थियो। तर चीनको अभुतपुर्व समर्थन प्राप्त जुन्ता सरकारको लागी भारतिय दबाब प्रभावकारी भएन। यसबाट बर्माको श्रोत उपयोग गर्नबाट भारत विमुख हुँदै गयो। यस्तो परिस्थीति देखेपछि अमेरिकाको विदेश नीतिको प्रतिकुल हुँदाहुँदैपनि हाल भारतले जुन्ता सरकारलाई समर्थन गरिरहेको छ।

नेपालसँगको सम्बन्धलाई विशेष बताउँदै आएको भारतले नेपाललाई बलपुर्वक आफ्ना एजेण्डाहरुमा सहमत गराउँदै आएको छ। जलश्रोत सम्झौतादेखी सुपुर्दकी सन्धीसम्ममा हस्ताक्षर गर्न माओबादी नेतृत्वको सरकार अनकनाईरहेकाले हाल भारतले माओबादीलाई कुटनीतिक दबाब दिईरहेको छ। दबाब सँगसँगै आफुलाई सत्ताबाट अपदस्त गर्नसक्ने संकेत नयाँ दिल्लीबाट माओबादीले प्राप्त गर्योभने उसले बाध्य भएर चीनको काँध खोज्ने त होइन भन्ने आशंका भारतको हुनसक्छ। यसै कारण भाजपाले मस्कुलर नीतिको वकालत गरिरहेको समयमा समेत मनमोहन सरकारले नेपालमा माओबादी सरकारको निरन्तर्ता चाहेको हुनसक्छ।

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

पारसको अभिव्यक्तिले बोकेको अर्थ

BY Sujit Mainali

भनिएको कुरा नहुनु र हुने कुरा नभनिनु राजनीतिको सार्वभौम सिद्धान्त हो। अभिव्यक्तिको दुर्गम कुनामा लुकेको निहित अर्थले राजनीतिक विश्लेषण र बुझाइमा प्रमुखता पाउँदछ। सत्यका पुजारी भनिने महात्मा गान्धीले पनि अहिंसालाई राजनीतिक अभिष्ट प्राप्तिको मार्गमा हतियार बनाए। तर, सन् १९४७ मा भारत स्वतन्त्र भएलगत्तै पाकिस्तानसँगको युद्धको पूर्वसन्ध्यामा भारतीय सेनालाई उनले दिएको आशीर्वाद इतिहासका पानामा अभिलिखित भएकै विषय हुन्।

जे प्रकाशमा आउँछ, त्यो भ्रम हो। प्लेटोले यो सांसारिकतालाई भ्रम बताएको आधारमा निर्मित विश्लेषणात्मक तराजुले राजनीतिक घटनाक्रम र अभिव्यक्तिलाई तौलिने हो भने प्रत्यक्ष अभिव्यक्तिमार्फत् सार्वजनिक भएका विषयहरु सत्य होइनन्, ती सत्य हुनुका भ्रान्तिमात्र हुन्। सत्य अभिव्यक्तिको प्रतिच्छायाँमा निर्मित आशयको चित्रणमात्र हुनसक्छ। त्यसैले नेपाली राजनीतिमा विकसित घटनाक्रमहरुलाई पनि बोलाइ र बुझाइको मध्यबिन्दुमा बसेर तौलिनु उपयुक्त हुन्छ।

सन्दर्भमा प्रवेश गरौं। पूर्वयुवराज पारस शाहले सिंगापुरको एक दैनिक पत्रिकालाई दिएको अन्तर्वार्तामा ८ वर्षअघि घटेको विवादास्पद राजदरबार हत्याकाण्डबारे अभिव्यक्ति दिएका छन्।
हत्या दीपेन्द्रले नै गरेका हुन् भन्ने उनको आशय भए पनि हत्याकाण्ड हुनुका अन्य दुई कारणहरु उनीमार्फत् सार्वजनिक भएको छ।
राजा वीरेन्द्र र युवराज दीपेन्द्रबीच तत्कालीन शाही सेनाका लागि खरिद गर्ने नयाँ हतियारका सम्बन्धमा विवाद भएको बताए। दीपेन्द्रलाई जर्मन हेक्लर एण्ड कोच जी ३७ बन्दुक मन परेको तर राजा वीरेन्द्रले भने कोल्टएम १६ रुचाएपछि यसबाट उत्पन्न विवादबाट हत्याका48ड भएको उनले स्पष्ट पारे। तर, दरबार हत्याका48ड कहिल्यै उत्खनन् हुन नसक्ने इतिहासको खाडलमा जाकिसकेको हुनाले पूर्वयुवराजले भनेझंै विश्वलाई सत्य के हो भन्नेबारे जानकारी गराउन उनले अन्तर्वार्ता दिएका पक्कै पनि होइनन्। राजदरबारका तत्कालीन वरिष्ठ अधिकारीहरुले समेत पारसको अभिव्यक्तिको खण्डन गरिसकेका छन्। त्यसैगरी पूर्व सैन्य अधिकारीहरुले पनि अन्तर्वार्तामा भनिएझंै जर्मन हेक्लर एण्ड कोच जी ३७ र कोल्टएम १६ बीच छनौटको विवाद नभएको दाबी गरेका छन्। यसबाट पारसका कुराहरु असत्य रहेको बुझ्ने आधार प्रशस्त भएको छ।

माओवादीको नेतृत्वमा रहेको वर्तमान सरकार प्रमुख प्रधानमन्त्री प्रचण्डले केही दिनअघि राजदरबार हत्याकाण्डबारे पुनः छानबिन गरिने बताएका थिए। पूर्वराजा ज्ञानेन्द्र भारत भ्रमणमा रहेको समयमा उनले त्यहाँ गरेको विवादास्पद भेटघाटबाट अत्तालिएको मनस्थितिमा प्रचण्डले हत्याकाण्ड पुनः छानबिन हुने बताएका थिए। यसबाट उनले पूर्वराजा र भारत दुवैलाई तर्साउन खोजेको हुन सक्ने केही विश्लेषकहरुको धारणा छ। तर, राजदरबार हत्याकाण्डको सत्यतथ्य बाहिर ल्याउने काम पारस अथवा प्रचण्डले त के, इन्द्रेको बाउ चन्द्रेले पनि गर्न सक्दैनन्। मदन भण्डारीको हत्याझंै राजदरबार हत्याकाण्ड विश्व इतिहासको गर्भमा एउटा मिथकको रुपमा रहिरहनेछ।

अझ विषयगत गहिराइमा प्रवेश गरौं। राजदरबार हत्याकाण्ड भएलगत्तै माओवादीका वरिष्ठ नेता डा. बाबुराम भट्टराईले एकमार्फत् हत्याकाण्डमा भारतीय गुप्तचर संस्था रअ र अमेरिकी गुप्तचर संस्था सीआईएको संयुक्त हात रहेको बताएका थिए। नागरिकता विधेयकको अस्वीकृति, नेपाललाई शान्ति राष्ट्र घोषणा गराउन राजा वीरेन्द्रले गरेको पहल, चीनबाट हतियार आयात गरेपछि राजीव गान्धीको नेतृत्वमा भारतले नेपालमा लगाएको नाकाबन्दी तथा पञ्चायतकालका अन्य विभिन्न कालखण्डमा भारतले नेपालतर्फको आपूर्तिमा लगाएको प्रतिबन्धले नेपाली राजतन्त्र र भारतबीचको कटुतालाई पुष्टि गर्दछ। साथै राजा वीरेन्द्रको सक्रिय शासनकालमा नेपालले स्वतन्त्र तिब्बत आन्दोलनलाई सघाउ पुर्‍याउन सीआईएले रचेको खम्पा विद्रोह सफलतापूर्वक दबाएको थियो। अझै प्रष्ट रुपमा भन्नुपर्दा नेपाली राजतन्त्र चीनपरस्त थियो, जुन भारत र अमेरिका दुवैको इच्छाको प्रतिकूल थियो। यस्तो पृष्ठभूमिमा भएको दरबार हत्याकाण्ड र यसबारे डा. भट्टराईले दिएको अभिव्यक्तिबीच तादात्म्यता रहेको अनुमान गर्न सक्ने ठाउँहरु प्रशस्त छन्। यदि डा. भट्टराईले दिएको अभिव्यक्तिलाई सत्य मान्ने हो भने दरबार हत्याकाण्डमा विश्व शक्तिकेन्द्रको हात छ। हत्याकाण्डको पर्दाफास गर्ने अठोट प्रधानमन्त्री प्रचण्डले लिए भने त्यो नेपालका लागि पक्कै पनि राम्रो हुन त सक्ला तर एकीकृत माओवादीका लागि त्योभन्दा ठूलो दुर्भाग्य अरु केही हुने छैन।

एउटा अचम्मको हल्ला नेपालमा व्याप्त छ, भारतले नेपालमा राजतन्त्र चाहन्छ भन्ने। अझ यस्तो तर्कलाई बल पुर्‍याउन केही नेपाली विश्लेषकहरु भारतीय जनता पार्टीको हिन्दु जडसूत्रवादतर्फ इशारा गर्छन्। हो, भारत नेपालमा हिन्दु धर्मको प्रधानता चाहन्छ तर राजतन्त्रको होइन। भाजपाले भारतमा शासन सम्हालेकै समयमा नेपालमा दरबार हत्याकाण्ड भएको हामीले बुझ्नुपर्छ।

त्यसैगरी दिल्ली दरबारमा कांग्रेस आईको सरकार रहेको समयमा नेपालबाट सदाका निम्ति राजतन्त्र उन्मूलन भएको थियो। चीनसँग नजिकिन र उसलाई सार्क पर्यवेक्षकको हैसियत दिलाउन चाहेर पूर्वराजा ज्ञानेन्द्रले भारत चिढाउने काम गरेको सर्वविदितै छ। यसलगत्तै राजाविरुद्ध आन्दोलनरत सातदल र विद्रोही माओवादीलाई दिल्लीमा बोलाएर भारतले राजतन्त्रविरुद्धको मोर्चाबन्दीमा दुवैलाई होमिदिएको भारतका विदेशमन्त्री प्रणव मुखर्जीले बताइसकेका छन्। त्यसपछि विकसित घटनाक्रममा सदाझंै लेनदेनका कुरा हुँदा सत्तारुढ एकीकृत माओवादीका वरिष्ठ नेता मोहन वैद्य किरणले भारतले अहिले आएर १२ बुँदे समझदारीको ब्याज खान खोजेको बताएको कुरा पनि सत्य नै हो।
भारत र राजतन्त्रबीचको द्वन्द्वको आलो झड्का पूर्वराजा ज्ञानेन्द्रले सहनुपर्‍यो। उनले अढाइ सय वर्ष पुरानो गद्दी गुमाए। तर, कालान्तरमा भारतले पनि यसबाट धेरै कुरा गुमायो। राजतन्त्रको समाप्तिपछि वैदेशिक नीतिमा नेपालले सन्तुलन कायम गर्न सकेन र नेपाली राजनीतिमा चीनको पदार्पण भयो।

अहिले आएर भारतलाई नेपालबाट राजतन्त्र उन्मूलन गराउने आफ्नो कृत्यप्रति भुल भएको छ। यसै सन्दर्भमा पूर्वराजाले भर्खरै गरेको भारत भ्रमण र त्यहाँ उनले गरेको उच्चस्तरीय भेटवार्ताले राजनीतिक अर्थ निश्चय पनि राख्छ नै। यसैको सेरोफेरोमा पारसको अभिव्यक्ति रुमलिएको हुनुपर्छ।

राजतन्त्रलाई पूर्वअवस्थामा फर्काउन सक्ने अवस्था अहिले छैन। राजतन्त्र र भारतको इच्छामा ठूलो विभेद रहेकाले त्यो सम्भव पनि छैन। भारत नेपालमा आफ्नो र हिन्दु धर्मको प्रभुत्व चाहन्छ। यसका लागि राजसंस्था नेपाली राजनीतिमा आउनुपर्छ भन्ने उसको ठहर हुनसक्छ। अब बन्ने नयाँ संविधानमा हिन्दु राष्ट्र घोषणाका लागि भारतले नेपाली नेतृत्वलाई दबाब दिन सक्छ। र, अान्तिरक तथा वाह्य कूटनीतिक सन्तुलनका लागि राजतन्त्रलाई नेपाली राजनीतिमा हावी भएको हेर्न उसले आफ्ना राजनीतिक गोटीहरु परिचालन गर्न सक्छ।

पूर्वयुवराज पारसले अन्तर्वार्तामार्फत् आफूलाई एकाएक चर्चित बनाई यसबाट सिर्जित तरंगका बीच आफूलाई राजनीतिमा होम्ने इच्छा प्रदर्शन गरेका छन्। उनको यस्तो इच्छालाई भारतले हरियो झण्डा देखाउनेछ। राजा वीरेन्द्रले ०४६ सालमा शासनव्यवस्था जनताको हातमा सुम्पिन गरेको निर्णय युवराज दीपेन्द्रलाई ठीक लागेको थिए भन्ने पारसको भनाइमा पूर्वराजा ज्ञानेन्द्रले गद्दी सुम्पन प्रदर्शन गरेको लचकताप्रतिको उनको असन्तुष्टि झल्किएको छ। पारस नेपालमा शासन गर्न चाहन्थे। तर, परिस्थिति उनको प्रतिकूल भयो। अब उनि प्रतिस्पर्धात्मक राजनीतिमार्फत् आफ्नो अधुरो इच्छा पूरा गर्न चाहन्छन्। सिंगापुरको पत्रिकालाई उनले दिएको अन्तर्वार्ता नेपाली राजनीतिमा उनको पदार्पणको पूर्वसंकेत हो।