Nepal going 'Red' as a result of the Congress Government's outsourcing its Nepal policy to be determined by its main coalition partner, namely the main Communist Party the CPI(M) has in its wake seriously endangered India's national security. This dangerous eventuality was continuously being pointed out in this Column more notably in the last one year. In this column of January 12, 2008 the title of the Column highlighted the urgency by its banner-line 'India Should Checkmate The Maoists in Nepal'. Regrettably and painfully it needs to be highlighted that the present Government's foreign policy establishment and its civilian national security advisers seemed to have been totally oblivious to the implications of the loss of a strategic buffer state of Nepal to the Nepalese Maoists whose loyalties lay with China. China's military weight against India would now rest on the Uttar Pradesh and Bihar borders.
India's foreign policy on Nepal has been a dismal failure in the last four years. India's national security interests in Nepal were subordinated to the requirements of meeting the political preferences of the Congress Government's main coalition partner and the political expediency of their continued support to keep the Congress Government in power.
In any other democracy the Government could have been swept out of power for such a strategic blunder but India's main Opposition Party other than making pro-forma political noises has not highlighted to the Indian public how a callous approach of the Government has endangered India's national security.
The Nepalese Maoists have all along been making anti-Indian noises despite the fact that the Maoist Chief and his top lieutenants instead of fighting with the Maoists cadres in Nepal were staying in comfort in India as guests of the Indian Government. After winning the elections in Nepal the first thing that their leader Prachanda has called for is the abrogation of the Indo-Nepal Treaty of 1950.
One thing that needs to be made clear is that Nepalese Maoists may have come into political power through the ballot box but hovering over the elections were the guns and threats of the Nepalese Maoists. Prachanda had made it clear that if the ballot boxes did not proclaim their victory then the Maoists would capture political power in Nepal with use of their guns once again.
India's national security interests get seriously endangered with the Maoists coming into power in Kathmandu and the major implications can be listed as under:
- India loses a strategic buffer state with China which is 'India's Threat Number One'
- China's military weight in a way would now directly rest on Uttar Pradesh and Bihar which would now emerge as military sensitive border states.
- With Maoist Government in Nepal the borders of these two Indian States would now need to be manned by the Indian Army
- The Maoists are reported somewhere to have asserted that the China-Lhasa railway line should be now extended up to Kathmandu and the next step from the Chinese side would be to extend it up to the Indian border
- Nepal would now emerge as the most enlarged and significant Chinese base for intensified Chinese intelligence activities against India
- The Maoists and Naxalite insurgencies in India's states contiguous to Nepal and Indian states in close proximity to Nepal would intensify by direct arms supplies by Nepalese Maoist Government.
These are the major adverse national security implications for India and many more can be listed. For the Indian Army one more significant strategic threat has been allowed to emerge by the strategic follies of its own Government and for which enough time was available to checkmate the Maoists threat. Even a late knee-jerk reaction by the Indian Government would have been welcome once the strategic folly was becoming apparent.
It is no use now blaming India's intelligence agencies or the foreign office because in any case the Nepal policy and especially the crucial decision of facilitating the entry of Nepalese Maoists into Nepal's 'political space' would have been taken at the highest levels of the Indian Government.
In any case it is not the hallmark of Indian bureaucrats to stand up to their political masters even when they can see the dangers to India's national security. They tend to 'situate' their advice to the political preferences of the thinking of their masters.
It is ironic that one Congress Prime Minister gifted Tibet to China and another one has by political default to appease his Communist coalition partners allowed Nepal as, the remaining India's buffer state with China to slip into the Chinese strategic orbit.