Interventionist India or China :: A reality check for Nepal

Writes Rahul Singh

Before I commence going into the intricacies of the headline that I have put up and start substantiating, I would like to salute the valiant spirit of the people of Nepal who have endured a long struggle, innumerable sacrifices and cultural diversity to eke out real democracy for themselves. It may have taken more than 7 years but, it is the end that inspires me more than anything. It sounds like a dramatic fairy tale filled with action, drama and emotions but more than that it’s a tale of fortitude and of the will to let democracy triumph against all odds. Today, Nepal has joined the league of those nations where people will be true sovereign and not any traditional king.

The Nepalese constitution is a land mark document containing the dreams and aspirations of the people of the Himalayan nation. It is a glimmer of hope for millions who had dreamt of the day when they could be the masters of their destiny in every possible way, when Nepal will move as per the aspirations of it’s masses and the day has indeed come. One cannot help but equate the sense of triumph with the one that our people knew when they framed the lengthiest constitution of the world. A secular republic which is extremely diverse in it’s own right has made a dash to the coveted path of democracy.

But, amidst all the good features of the constitution, Nepal is gripped by conundrum and violence as Madheshis and some others feel left out. What complicates the situation is #The Back Off India campaign in Nepal. The campaign comes in the backdrop of India expressing concern due to unrest very close to India’s border. Both the timing and the interpretation of India’s concerns have been misrepresented in Nepalese and our own media. India could have definitely drafted a better note but none of our intentions were towards undermining Nepal’s rights as a sovereign nation. The situation in Nepal is indeed intense and warrants Nepal’s attention and definitely Nepal can and will do everything it can to make sure that Madheshis get their voices heard. What they are saying is also absolutely right given the fact that they stand debarred from constitutional positions in spite of championing the cause of Nepal’s prosperity and democracy but this constitution provides ample flexibility to accommodate public opinion and when I say public opinion I strictly mean that of the people of Nepal irrespective of ethnicity and not India’s.

Today the situation is such that everybody is leaving no stone unturned in branding India as the country that is actively pursuing interventionist agenda and hampering the sovereignty of Nepal. China is being projected as a messiah for democracy. Pakistan too is being viewed with the same lens and nothing can be more tragic as it neither respects Nepal’s religious diversity nor it’s own people and has been more of a dictator than a democracy. So, who is being who vis –a-vis Nepal? Who is playing the interventionist? Let us first understand the paradigms of interventionist behaviour to make things clear.

What is interventionist behavior: Interventionist behavior is indicated and dictated by pure strategic goals and has no regard for human values, ethnic and national identities. It prospers at the cost of the intervened state notwithstanding the aspirations of the home state, enjoys playing it against it’s closest friends , isolates it and uses it to harm it’s own interests by sabotaging it’s relations with the countries with whom the intervened share the closest bond. All in all, it destroys the very cordiality which benefits it’s people by creating misleading impressions and doles out money just till the time it loses it’s real friends and leaves it in the lurch after that.

 India, China and Nepal
India, China and Nepal

Now, let me make this task somewhat easier by providing some grinding facts that can make the job of an average Nepalese and for that matter anybody in the world to make the right judgement.

In the 19th century, China did not support Nepal against the British as the colonial forces invaded Nepal twice, despite the fact that the Chinese were bound by a treaty to render help during external aggression. If this betrayal is too old to remember, let us look at China’s foreign policy since the installment of Mao’s regime in China and subsequently. The Chinese have pursued a relentless policy of military expansion and border claims on their neighbours. Tibet’s forcible annexation was a direct threat to Nepal’s sovereignty. The ‘back off campaign’ must also figure out that merely sending congratulatory note does not mean that China is all gung ho about democracy in Nepal. It was never in favour of Nepal’s transition to democracy. So much so, it provided sophisticated arms to the King in quelling the revolutionary movement in Nepal. It is the same country that has stood as a marauding force against cultural synthesis and diversity. The Chinese atrocities in Tibet and the denial of freedom of religion are a well established fact. They have spared no stone unturned in the ethnic cleansing of cultural minorities like the Uighurs and the Tibetan Buddhism and there are significant instances of girls from these groups being forcibly married off to the ethnic Hans to obliterate the very identity of the ethnic minorities in China. China does not treat Nepal more than a counterweight to settle strategic goals and foment unrest in the family like Indo-Nepal relations. The classical saying of divide and rule is being employed by the dragon and the outright loss will be to Nepal and India both, in the long term. Can a country that tolerates no dissent in it’s own territory love to see the blossoming of democracy in another? How can the very government that has effaced multi-cultural identity of ancient China be a natural partner of the Nepalese people, who are extremely diverse and have a culture worth being proud of? Or Can the country that has tried to sabotage the whole process of democratic transition in Nepal be really trusted and called non – interventionist? Ironically, the crusaders of Nepalese democracy fell to the Chinese supplied bullets and yet, China claims that it welcomes democracy in Nepal. Perplexing and befuddling.

On the contrary, India not only took the responsibility of assisting Nepal in securing itself from Mao’s grand expansion but also sought to orient Nepal towards development by providing transit points and port facilities for ensuring smooth foreign trade for Nepal. As our PM rightly pointed out that India indeed has a relation of Roti and Beti with Nepal, Nepalese people in India and Indian people in Nepal have selflessly worked for the cause of each other. We are all aware of the brave Gurkhas and their stellar role in the defence of these two nations who have more similarities than differences. For us in India , the people of Nepal are more like our family members and hence, our businesses, our colonies, shops, companies , public sector, private sector and defence forces have welcomed people from across the physical border with alacrity and treated them at par with native Indian citizens. This is unique considering the fact that this is not reciprocated in Nepal and is a significant support to lakhs of families who find India as the land of their dreams. This has come neither at the cost of ethnic pride nor at the cost of self respect and strangely enough, India has been branded interventionist. This has come out of sheer love for our Nepalese brethren, our historical ties and not due to economic considerations. An average Indian donated in the aftermath of massive earthquake not because we were told by our government to do so, but, because we were driven by the feeling of affinity for people of Nepal and the need to stand with them in their grief. The immediate relief work was more motivated by the need of humanity and not interventionist agenda. It was not to brag that we had done something great but to help a country in desperate need, the country for whom we have worked ceaselessly and whose people have served India as the shield of Iron whenever we have faced aggression.

Conclusion ::

An interventionist state tries to break apart factions, play them against one another and anybody who has closely followed struggle for democracy in Nepal can vouch for my claim that it was India that brought warring parties together to negotiate and pave way for democracy in Nepal. China was sitting and watching the democrats slay the communists and vice versa for it had nothing to lose in another bloody civil war in Nepal for the blood flowing in the streets would have been alien. India’s ‘taking note’ is simply to convey that equal opportunity and citizenship will transform Nepal true to the ideals of it’s democratic struggle where no caste, no ethnicity, no cultural barriers, no socialist, no democrat, no Nepali, no Madhesi and no Tharu mattered ,but, what mattered was love for Nepal and driving it towards people’s rule.

Mere congratulatory notes from despotic regimes do not convey the right intentions. The incoherence in stated and hidden motives conveys very well that neither Pakistan nor China would like to see a strong democracy in Nepal. Their the beef food is just a tool to lure Nepal in their trap. How hypocritical of China to arm the king’s forces to murder democracy and now acting like a saint. But, they don’t realize that the bonds between the people of our two great sovereign nations will withstand this test of time as Nepal will figure out the dragon’s interventionist agenda and continue to strengthen itself economically, socially and democratically. We wish all the best to Nepal and congratulate it’s people in their endeavor to make democracy a roaring success.

Via DefenceNews

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