India should Checkmate The Maoists in Nepal
India in the last couple of years, totally oblivious to the country's national security interests, has facilitated the backdoor entry of the Nepalese Maoists insurgents into Nepal's mainstream polity. What the Maoists could not achieve through their insurgency and force of arms in terms of political legitimacy in Nepal, the Congress Government in India provided the same by abdication of its responsibilities and outsourcing to India's Leftists the formulation of its foreign policy on Nepal.
The result has been disastrous both for Nepal and so also for India. In this Column on many an occasion I had reflected that a grievous wound had been inflicted on India's national security interests by the Indian Government's policies of letting in the Maoists in a position where they could politically call the shots in Nepal. The political takeover of Nepal by the Maoists as prot'g's of China would remove the buffer state of Nepal for nearly 1800 km along India's borders. The Maoists in Nepal would bring China on the doorsteps of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and North Bengal with grave security implications for India.
The Nepalese Maoists have obstructed the holding of elections in Nepal for constituting a Constituent Assembly faced as they were with a likely situation where they may have not emerged as winners in the elections. Lately their Ministers walked out of the Government demanding that they would not rejoin unless the present political makeshift setup declares the abolition of the monarchy even before a Constituent Assembly comes into being and decides the future constitutional setup in Nepal. Nepal's Prime Minister and other mainstream political parties resisted the Maoists blackmail on this count and recently gave in. It is being talked around that probably once again the Indian Government stepped in to prevail over the Nepalese Prime Minister and thereby bringing about an appeasement of the Maoists.
The Indian Government's position would have been understandable had the Nepalese Maoists given some indication that they are favorably disposed towards India and Indian national security interests. No such evidence has been forthcoming in the pronouncements of the Maoists leaders. On the contrary the Nepalese Maoists cadres have been creating trouble within Indian territory especially in Uttarkhand State bordering West Nepal. The Maoists have been terrorizing Indian citizens in this region and even have gone to the extent of planting Maoists flags on Indian soil in this region
The other sinister security implication of a Maoists takeover of Nepal is that China would have a direct access all the way to Andhra Pradesh through the Naxalite-Maoists corridor within Indian territory running from Nepal border-Bihar- Jharkhand 'West Bengal-Orissa-Chattisgarh and finally Andhra.
It is curious that while within Nepal there has been opposition building up to the Nepalese Maoists machinations in disturbing the body-fabric of Nepalese politics, no such recognition of ground realities has dawned on the present Indian policy establishment. In the Nepal Terai region which virtually comprises more than half of Nepal in terms of population there is violent opposition against the Maoists and even armed clashes have taken place. Recently, the silent majority has reacted in Kathmandu against the Nepalese Maoists plans for abolition of Nepal's constitutional monarchy. The other day the Nepal Army Chief publicly opposed the Nepalese Maoists demands that the Maoist cadres be assimilated in the Nepal Army
All of the above indicates that while the Maoists may have had sway in a large number of Nepal's districts by force of arms earlier, they do not enjoy uncontested public support and popularity all over Nepal. It would be a misnomer to maintain otherwise.
The time has come for the present Indian Government to wake-up from its self-inflicted stupor that its outsourcing of its Nepal policy to its Leftists coalition partners was serving India's national security interests somehow.
Such a perception was a grave security mistake right from its inception.
India's national security imperatives dictate that the Indian Government reverses gears in its policies on Nepal and commences forthwith to checkmate a Maoist takeover of Nepal and one can strongly emphasize that in the pursuance of this aim India would not be short of options.
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Dr. Subhash Kapila
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