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Nepal’s Maoist Government
Plays China Card Against India
|by Dr. Subhash Kapila|
Nepal's Maoist Government (presently Caretaker Government) which was pitch-forked into political power in Nepal by India's present Government in 2007 finally played the 'China Card' against India when it precipitated Nepal's ongoing constitutional crisis by resigning on the issue of dismissal of the Nepal Army Chief, an order that was revoked by the Nepalese President. At issue was the Nepal Army Chief's refusal to induct 19,000 Maoist guerillas into the Nepal Army, a move fraught with serious consequences for India but a move that would gladden China. Notably, asserted earlier by the Maoist Prime Minister and now reiterated further was his desire to scrap the existing India-Nepal Treaty with a new one and at the same time emphasizing that the Maoist Government intends to sign a Special Treaty with China. Reports indicate that China behind the scenes encouraged the Maoist Government to ignore friendly advice from India and other major countries not to interfere with the composition of the Nepal Army.
More revealing of the devious ways of the Maoist leaders and especially Prachhanda who is the head, has been the surfacing of a tape which captures him boasting to his cadres as to how he hoodwinked even the United Nations teams in terms of parading nearly 35,000 people as Maoist cadres when in actual fact there were only about 7,000 or so. The implications of such deceit should be obvious from the security point of view. It is a very embarrassing situation that has developed for the United Nations especially when the Maoist leader projects the excuse that the concerned tape is more than a year old. What is important is that the Maoist Prime Minister has not refuted the contents of the tape showing him in a poor and immoral light.
Nepal under a Maoist Government has facilitated China coming and sitting at India's doorsteps opposite Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. The security implications of India gifting away a buffer state like Nepal to China's influence was constantly being aired in my Columns in the run-up to the Congress Government's ill-conceived and ill-advised Nepal policy.
Nepalese Maoist leaders in the wake of departure from the Government have warned that they will return to political power and if somehow they are thwarted then they have threatened to wage an armed conflict once again.
In all probability Nepal once again stands headed for internal strife with such declared attitudes of Nepalese Maoists. The obvious question that then surfaces is as to on whose strength and support are the Nepalese Maoists making such forceful declarations? The answer is obvious and that is that in the strategic calculus of the Nepalese Maoists, China figures as the major actor which would not hesitate to support the Nepalese Maoists in creating a strategically turbulent situation for India.
Under the Maoists regime there has been an increased inter-action and exchanges between Nepal and China in the security and military fields. In fact the Maoist Prime Minister was scheduled to leave for Beijing just before he resigned. It is reported that for this visit he was to carry a draft of the Special Agreement that the Maoists wanted Nepal to sign with China.
It does not require much imagination that any Special Agreement that a Nepalese Maoist Government would like to sign with China now or in the future would be aimed to offset India's traditional influence in Nepal. It also does not require much imagination to conclude that the Nepalese Maoist Government would not have shared the contents of the draft of the Special Agreement with China with the Indian Government.
Whichever way one looks it is evident that the Nepalese Maoists whether in power or out of power would be intent on reducing India's traditional influence in Nepal and supplant it with that of China. In other words China has found yet another South Asian 'proxy' to further its strategic interests in the Indian Sub-continent.
Should India be just content to observe passively the enveloping game of the Nepalese Maoists playing the 'China Card' against India? Is it not high time that India starts playing the 'Tibet Card against China? Is it not high time that India institutes strategies to limit the influence of Nepalese Maoists in Nepal and pave the way for the re-emergence of Nepal as a traditional friend of India?
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