India backs Nepal

Getting rid of Maoist terrorists must be accompanied by a return to democracy

India has done well to clearly signal that it would back the Nepalese government to hilt in its attempts to rid the Himalayan kingdom of its Maoist terrorists, while at the same time expressing India’s reluctance to further internationalise the issue.

India has given Nepal a blank cheque to deal with the Maoist insurgency at home, a promise that includes military hardware, training as well as the commitment to pursue ideologically similar insurgents in India, and requested visiting Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba to keep the kingdom free from third party, foreign influence.

The Indian side also emphasised that it was doing everything within its capacity to come down heavily on extreme Left-wing groups in India like the PWG and were willing to also ‘‘manage’’ the very porous border better.

A joint working group on the Pancheshwar project, which has been hanging fire for a long time, as well as a joint venture on the Upper Karnali river between India and Nepal were some of the issues to give substance to a relationship that for some time now has been threatened with the single-point Maoist insurgency issue. [IE]

Though many observers in Nepal believed that Nepal would seek India’s nod in getting the UN involved in a peace bid in Nepal, Deuba categorically said the issue did not figure during his talks with the Indian leaders. India would always help Nepal fight the Maoists, Home Minister Shivraj Patil told the journalists after his meeting with Deuba. [Himalayan Times]

The visiting Nepalese prime minister, Sher Bahadur Deuba, has sought emergency assistance in case the Maoist guerillas threaten Kathmandu or the surrounding nine districts, and an Indian team will visit Nepal to assess the situation to anticipate its emergency needs.

At Deuba’s request, the Indian military may also conduct reconnaissance and static surveillance in the hill districts of South Western Nepal which are a staging ground for the Maoists, and two border posts will be established to prevent Maoist infiltration to India, or exfiltration of its sympathisers, who number three million in the states of UP, Uttaranchal, Bihar, West Bengal, and Assam. [News Insight]

However, India has either kept mum on King Gyanendra’s anti-democratic moves or ensured that its concerns in this regard were not publicly aired – possibly to avoid appearing ambivalent towards the Maoists.

While it may be prudent not to public hold King Gyanendra and his appointed prime minister to account for some of Nepal’s current troubles, India cannot hope to help Nepal achieve political stability by leaving the question of democracy unaddressed.

1 thought on “India backs Nepal”

  1. Nepal is the closest we may have to a permanent friend in the region (not that such feelings are reciprocated or even appreciated in Kathmandu these days).

    That said, Gyanendra i a disaster for Nepal. A constitutional monarchy on the lines of the UK system would’ve been ideal, i reckon.

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