Sep 22, 2010

US, China and India have varied interest in Nepal

Deepak Gajurel

Gajurel is a Political Scientist associated with the Tribhuvan University, Nepal. His key areas of interest are trends in International Power Struggle, with special focus in Himalayan Asia (South Asia plus China).

We invited this political scientist to our office, September 20, 2010, and talked on several issues that have its direct impact on Nepali politics. A suave Gajurel readily agreed to our request and made his candid observations which follows Chief Editor,

TGQ1: It is now being talked in Nepal’s academic circle that India is not alone but China too has begun taking interests in Nepal? Is that correct? Also tell us, if so, should we mean then that China has changed its policy vis-à-vis Nepal in the recent years? Your comments please.

Gajurel: Well, frankly speaking, China has had its interests in the South of the Himalayas from the very beginning. It still exists. Any country’s interests are just linked with preservation of its national security, expansion of its trade and diplomacy in the conduct with other nations. China in the past also had been exhibiting its interests in Nepal and its affairs.

To recall, as back as in 1961, the then Chinese Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Marshal Chen Yi had clearly stated that any interference in Nepal’s internal affairs from any quarters would be taken as an attack on China itself.

In the days that followed later, China kept close eyes on its interests in Nepal but in a very subtle manner. She never came in an exposed manner but adopted the theory of “quiet diplomacy”. It accomplished its tasks, whatever it was, in a quiet manner. At times China even used to acquire a mode of silence when she concluded that she could not do anything in Nepali affairs.

When India imposed an economic blockade on Nepal, it was widely believed and expected that China would come to the rescue of the Nepalese but it did not happen so instead China clearly suggested Nepal not to expect much from China because Nepal was very much closer to India.

This does mean that China, in the past, preferred not to come in an exposed manner. China used to express its reservations only when any acts that had its direct negative impact on China’s internal affairs.

But things or say politics have changed now.

China changed its strategies vis-à-vis Nepal after this country witnessed certain political changes in the recent years.

Mind it that during these past four years, some twenty plus high level Chinese delegations have already visited Nepal. The Chinese not only come to Kathmandu but more often than not talk about Nepal while being in Beijing as well. The policy of quiet diplomacy has turned into an aggressive diplomacy. This is clearly visible.

As regards to your supplementary question, well, it could have two to three reasons.

The first could be taken in a regional perspective. I prefer to call it Himalayan Asia which links the South Asian region with China.

While talking in terms of regional perspective, China too should be linked with it. The political changes that took place in this part of the world of late compelled China to take an aggressive posture. Either using the Indian or the Nepali soil, there have been some noticeable anti-China events which have increased exponentially over these years.

After a lapse of some three decades, anti-China slogans were chanted in the streets of Nepal. Both visible and invisible activities were noticed to have gone against China. Such acts may have sensitized the Chinese regime and may have concluded that such acts could in the long run pose a grave threat to its security.

Secondly, the Chinese may have inferred that if Nepal became politically instable, the society and government being weaker, the chances of foreign forces entering into Nepali affairs would be high, which eventually would be counterproductive to its national security. The Chinese pain would not be for the weakening of our (Nepal’s) nationalism aspect but her interest would be to preserve China’s prime interests in Nepal under such situation. This is how I see it.

TGQ2: So you mean that political instability in Nepal has its negative impact on China and its internal affairs? At yet another plane, some analysts claim that Nepal still remains an India-locked country? What say you Mr. Gajurel?

Gajurel: Any country which is close to becoming a world’s super power in the given world power equation remains suspect that it may be hit by some near or far. Precaution is needed most in such a situation and time. For example, Tibet is the weak point of mainland China and thus China has to remain alert more so because Tibet adjoins Nepal border in the North. May be due to these reasons, China had to change its previous policy of quiet diplomacy as regards Nepal because China felt that foreign powers began playing in Nepal in a brazen manner more so the India which began exerting excessive pressure on Nepal. That’s why China abandoned the policy of “defensive posture” to an aggressive one.

After the collapse of the then Soviet Union, the lone Super Power United States began increasing its presence in the Middle East, Korean peninsula, Africa, and South Asia. Remarkably, the increased US presence are the areas or say territories which were in the periphery of China. Moreover, the US presence in areas such as, Taiwan, South Korea, former Soviet Union, Afghanistan and Iraq has increased. China understands well that the United States of America can play from a weakened Nepali soil and watch the entire South Asian region.

China wants such a regime in Nepal, regionally and internationally, which may not pose a grave threat to its security interests.

Yes! Nepal was India locked country till yesterday. Now China has rejected this theory. Even in the past, China rejected this notion but in a very quiet manner.

As long as China wants and to the extent possible it can, it will now not allow the Indian hegemony in Nepal.

“We will not accept your hegemony in Nepal anymore and thus refrain from committing acts which are not in our national interests,” is the volley of messages that China in the recent months and days have been signaling to India. India has already received the Chinese signals. The Indian Prime Minister’s fresh statement that China poses a grave threat to India does testify the above mentioned thoughts.

TGQ3: It is being widely believed and analyzed by some political quarters that China now being a world power will have lesser interest in Nepal affairs than India-the regional power? Is it that a sort of conflict is going on in Nepal to undercut the Indian all pervasive influence in Nepal? Does China really want its increased influence in Nepal? How you see it?

Gajurel: No it is not what you have stated. It has been observed that China may have indicated India to act in whatever manner that suited to Indian interests South of the Himalayas in the past yet signaling India not to harm its prime interests. But at the moment one could see that China has flexed its muscles in terms of military, and finance the world over. In the mean time, China also noticed that anti-China activities have increased from the Nepalese soil in an unexpected manner. It is not that China can do anything she wants in the name of being a super power. However, China can take on an aggressive posture if its interests experience a threat. China has the right to preserve its security concerns.

The fact is that China has definitely kept India at a distance. This much is visible.

China has already indicated India that whatever you had been doing, let it be enough and must come to an end.

Well, as regards to your tagged question, I see three forces waging a proxy war in Nepal. Those three forces are, India, China and the United States.

Chinese interest in Nepal is to block the penetration of those forces which could pose a serious threat to its interests in Nepal.

India, on the other hand, India wants Nepal to remain under its sphere of influence. India wants its continuation from the days of Pundit Nehru who had said that Indian borders were up to the Himalayas in the North. Thus India wants Nepal turning at best, if possible, Sikkim or at least Bhutan.

The American natural interest in Nepal is to harass and create disturbances for China-the emerging world power, by being in Nepal in a firm manner.

Nepal is located in a very strategically significant position which is flanked by two emerging world powers. If China and India continue to develop in the way that they are today, then one fateful day these two powers can challenge the United States by being in the US soil itself. It is this concern perhaps which has been prompting the Americans to avert the looming danger from China.

The proxy war to some extent has been changing the pattern, it appears.

TGQ4: The increasing friendship of China with the South Asian nations apparently has been causing annoyance to the Indian regime to the extent that the Indian establishment has been saying that she is being cornered And pushed to a trap. Is that correct? But tell us, if, as and when, China and India come face to face, where Nepal will land or remain? Your opinions please.

Gajurel: Yes! They call it “String of Pearls”. The Indians claim that China has already made a garland of pearls in the vicinity. China by being in Pakistan is supporting Pakistan by building roads, funding in Hydro power projects and is also transferring advanced technologies to the host country.

The Sri Lankan President instead of procuring arms and weapons from India brought the same from China and well within one year, did away with the issue of the Tamils or say the LTTE. China is constructing a port in Sri Lanka in the area called Hambantola. China, for your information, is also constructing a port in Chitgong, Bangladesh. And do forget that the Chinese military have already landed in African continent.

Nepal is in a sheer dilemma. We have a habit of acting as per the instructions of alien forces. WE can’t say no to any forces fearing that while obeying the first, we may eventually annoy the second. This is our fear psychosis. The proxy war is on.

I see that India must tell that henceforth it will not exert pressures on Nepal which is what China wants. China wants this to become visible in Nepal affairs. If India acts as China wants, it would benefit India as well. But that is neither visible nor forthcoming. In effect, India wants to challenge China yet. But the fact is that India lags behind China by sixty years in terms of “strength”. In the meantime, India is in a disturbed situation in the recent days and weeks.

Looking the very presence of children and women folks in a recent Kashmir demonstration, the Indian prime Minister is learnt to have told that such events were a matter of serious concerns.

TGQ5: Let’s presume, from you have said, then that the continued failure in electing a new prime Minister for Nepal is the cumulative effect of the unseen India-China conflict? Do you think so? And what about the K.B Mahara-Chinese national audio tape affair? Will such incidents have grave impact on China-India relations? How would you interpret it?

Gajurel: Yes! It is. But the difference is there. China doesn’t want a new Nepal PM of its own choice. However, what is for sure is that China wants to negate the chances of a Nepal Prime Minister of India’s choice. China would welcome any government in Nepal that is capable enough to check the increased anti-China activities from the Nepalese soil. If this is not so then China will continue to exert its pressure. But India remains undeterred. Under the prevailing situation, naturally the Nepali leaders will experience excessive political pressure from both the quarters.

At the moment, just the telephone terror is in place. Tomorrow those who do not toe their dictates may even embrace death threat.

It is not altogether a new phenomenon in Nepali politics if one were to take the Mahara-Chinese national audio tape scam. But the tape, mind it, has wrapped the Beijing government. The Chinese embassy has clarified its position by stating that the Chinese government is not involved in the tape scam or whatsoever. Since then China has remained silent. But China must have kept in notice the insult that she have had to bear with from the other competing quarter. Even the US had so far not collected the courage to malign China in such a pinching manner. Let me presume that China will not respond to this matter from the Nepalese soil. China may acquire a different mode while responding to India. India eventually will have to pay heavily for this allegation on China.

The worldwide insult of China that India has dared to make could be taken as a Himalayan blunder committed by the Indian regime. That’s all.

Sep 21, 2010

नेपालमा चीन–भारत छद्म युद्ध

दीपक गजुरेल, राजनीति शास्त्री, त्रिभुवन विश्वविद्यालय, काठमाडौँ

प्रश्न: नेपालको राजनीतिमा अब भारतको मात्र होइन् चीनको प्रभाव बढ्न थाल्यो भन्ने विश्लेषण हुन थालको छ । के त्यस्तै हो ?
– चीनको स्वार्थ हिमालय दक्षिण पहिले पनि थियो । अहिले पनि छ । राष्ट्रिय सुरक्षा, व्यापार र कुटनीतिक हिसाबमा स्वार्थ जोडिएको हुन्छ । चीनले पहिला पनि बेलाबेलामा नेपालप्रति चासो देखाउँदै आएको हो । सन् १९६१ मा त्यहाँका रक्षामन्त्री चेन यी ले नेपालको आन्तरिक मामिलामा कसैले हस्तक्षेप गर्यो भने चीनले आफूमाथिको आक्रमण ठान्ने छ भनेका थिए । र त्यसपछिका दिनमा चीनले आफ्नो स्वार्थ हेरेकै हो । तर, चीन खुलेर र देखिने गरी काम गर्दैनथ्यो, पहिला । जे चाहेको हो चुप लागेर भित्रभित्रै गर्थ्यो । कतिपय अवस्थामा चीन चुप लागेर बस्दथ्यो । वि. सं. २०४५ सालमा भारतले नेपालमाथी नाकाबन्दी लगाउँदा चीनले हामीलाई सहयोग गर्छ भन्ने एकखालको चर्चा थियो, काठमाडौँमा । त्यसबेला यहाँबाट चीन गएको सरकारी टोलीलाई चिनियाँहरुले 'तिमीहरूको भौगोलिक निकटता भारतसँग छ, हामीले धेरै सहयोग गर्न सक्दैनौं' भन्ने जवाफ दिएको थियो भनेर अनौपचारिक रुपमा बाहिर पनि आयो । यसको अर्थ विगतमा चीन खुलेर अगाडि आउने गर्दैनथ्यो भन्ने बुझिन्छ । ऊ अप्ठ्यारो अवस्थामा मात्रै बोल्थ्यो । पहिलाको त्यो कार्यशैलीमा अहिले परिवर्तन आएको छ । चार वर्ष अधि नेपालमा भएको राजनीतिक परिर्वतनपछि चीनले आफ्नो पुरानो रणनीतिलाई परिर्वतन गर्यो । गएको तीन/चार वर्ष यता चीनको २०/२१ वटा उच्चस्तरीय टोली नेपाल भ्रमणमा आइसक्यो । नेपालमा आउँदा मात्र होइन चिनियाँहरु बेइजिङमा बसेर पनि बोलिरहेका छन्, प्रष्टसँग । मौन कुटनीति छाडेर नेपालको सन्दर्भमा आक्रामक रुपमा आउन थालेको छ चीन ।

प्रश्न: चीनले नेपाल नीति परिर्वतन गर्नुको पछाडि के कारण छन् ?
– यसमा दुई/तीन वटा कारण छन् । एउटा क्षेत्रीय हिसाबमा लिन सकिन्छ । म 'हिमालयन एसिया' भन्ने गर्छु, दक्षिण एसिया र चीन रहेको यस क्षेत्रलाई । सामरिक र रणनीतिक हिसाबमा चीनलाई समेत जोडेर हेर्नुपर्ने हुन्छ । यो क्षेत्रमा आएको परिवर्तनका कारण चीन आक्रामक हुनुपर्ने अवस्था आयो । नेपाली भूमि प्रयोग गरेर दक्षिण, भारतबाट वा भारतमा बसेर वा नेपालमा बसेर अरु कसैले चीनविरुद्ध विभिन्न गतिविधि गरिरहेका छन् । यस्ता गतिविधि एकदमै बढेर गइरहेको छ । तीन दशक पछि नेपालका सडकमा चीनविरुद्ध नारा लागे । चीनविरुद्धका गतिविधि देखिने गरी र नदेखिने गरी ह्वात्तै बढ्यो, विगत् केही समय यता । त्यसबाट चीनले आफूलाई खतरा महसुस गर्यो । दोस्रो, नेपालको राजनीति अस्थिर हुदै गयो भने यहाँको सरकार, समाज प्रणाली कमजोर भएर जान्छ र विदेशी शक्तिहरूले नेपाली भूमिबाट बढी खेल्छन् । यस्तो बेला नेपालको राष्ट्रियता प्रतिको चासो होइन्, चीनलाई बढी खतरा हुन्छ भनेर बेइजिङ्गले हेरेको हुन्छ ।

प्रश्न: नेपालको राजनीतिक अस्थिरताले चीनलाई कत्तिको खतरा पुर्याउँछ ?
– अन्तर्राष्ट्रिय शक्ति समीकरणमा महाशक्ति राष्ट्र बन्दै गएको देशलाई कमजोर ठाउँमा कसैले हिर्काइदेला भन्ने डर हुन्छ । त्यसमा ऊ सर्तक हुनैपर्छ । जस्तो, तिव्बत चीनको कमजोर क्षेत्रको रुपमा रहेको छ । यो क्षेत्र नेपालको सीमामा रहेकाले पनि चीन बढी सतर्क हुनुपर्ने अवस्था छ । त्यसकारण नेपालमा स्थिरता हुनुपर्छ र यहाँ विदेशीको चलखेल कम हुनुपर्छ भन्ने उसको पहिलादेखिको नीतिलाई बढी आक्रामक रुपमा कार्यान्वयनमा लानु पर्ने महसुस बेइजिङ्गले गरेको देखिँदैछ । नेपालमा विदेशीले यति दबाब दिन थाले, त्यसमा पनि भारतले यति दबाब दिन थाल्यो कि, चीनलाई खतरा महसुस भयो । त्यही कारण रक्षात्मक होइन्, आक्रामक हुनुपर्छ भन्ने चीनको नीति आएको छ अहिले । सन् १९९१ मा सोभियत संघको पतन भएपछि अमेरिका विश्वको एकमात्र महाशक्ति राष्ट्रका रुपमा रह्यो । उसले मध्यपूर्व, कोरियाली प्रायद्विप, अफ्रिका, दक्षिण एसिया जस्ता क्षेत्रमा प्रभाव बिस्तार गर्दै लग्यो । रणनीतिक रुपमा चिनियाँ भूभागको वरिपरि विभिन्न ठाउँमा अमेरिकाले आफ्नो उपस्थिति बढाउँदै लगेको छ । ताइवान, दक्षिण कोरिया, पूर्व सोभियत गणराज्यहरु, अफगानिस्तान, इराकमा अमेरिकाको उपस्थिति बढेको छ । नेपाल कमजोर भएको अवस्थामा दक्षिण एसियालाई केन्द्र मानेर अमेरिकाको उपस्थिति अझ वृद्धि भयो भने मलाई बढी खतरा हुन्छ भनेर चीनले बुझेको छ । एउटा क्षेत्रीय हिसाबले र अर्को अन्तर्राष्ट्रिय हिसाबले नेपालमा यस्तो शासन प्रणाली होस्, जसले मलाई खतरा तथा बाधा नहुने किसिमले शासन चलाओस् भन्ने चीन चाहन्छ ।

प्रश्न: नेपाल भारतवेष्ठित मुलुककै रुपमा छ । होइन् र ?
– हिजोसम्म थियो । आज चीनले त्यो स्वीकार गर्दिन भनिसक्यो । पहिला पनि स्वीकार गर्दिन भनेको चाहिं हो । तर, मौन तरिकाले । अब मौन तरिकाले हुँदैन भन्ने निष्कर्षमा पुगेको छ चीन । चीनले सकेसम्म, र सक्छ पनि, भारतको हालीमुहाली नेपालमा हुन दिंदैन । 'अब तिम्रो हालीमुहाली हुँदैन, तिमी मेरो स्वार्थ विपरीत नेपालमा मनपरी नगर' भनेर हालैको चिनियाँहरूको भ्रमण टोलीले पनि भारतलाई सन्देश दिएको छ । भारतले चीनको त्यो सन्देश बुझिसक्यो । भारतका प्रधानमन्त्रीले अघिल्लो हप्ताको सुरुमै चीन हाम्रो लागि खतरा हो भनेर बोलिसके ।

प्रश्न: भारत क्षेत्रीय शक्ति मात्रै हो, चीन सुपर पावर भएकोले नेपालप्रति चिनियाँ चासो कम हुन्छ भन्ने पनि विश्लेषण गरिन्छ नि ?
– होइन । पहिला 'मलाई नकारात्मक असर नपर्ने गरी हिमालय दक्षिण तिमीलाई जे मनलाग्छ गर' को नीति लिएको देखिन्छ चीनले । तर, अहिले चीनले विश्वभरी नै सामरिक, आर्थिक तथा रणनीतिक रुपमा आफ्नो प्रभाव विस्तार गर्न थालिसक्यो । यता, नेपाली भूमिबाट चीनविरुद्ध पहिला सोचिएभन्दा बढी गतिविधि हुन थाले । सुपर पावर हो भन्दैमा उसले जे पनि गर्न सक्छ भन्ने होइन । आक्रामक रुपमा जे पनि गर्न सक्ला । तर पहिला आफनो सुरक्षा त गर्नुपर्छ नि । चीनले भारतलाई अहिले रोकेको हो । 'तिमी जे गर्दै थियौ अब चाहिं नगर' भनेको हो ।

प्रश्न: अहिले नेपालमा भारतको प्रभाव कम गर्दै चीन प्रभाव विस्तार गर्ने लडाईँमा हो ?
– यहाँ तीनवटा शक्तिबीच छद्म युद्ध चलिरहेको छ । तीनवटा शक्ति भनेको चीन, भारत र अमेरिका हुन् । चीनको स्वार्थ आफ्नो सुरक्षा हेर्ने, त्यसका लागि, नेपालमा आइसकेका वा आउनसक्ने कुनै पनि शक्तिलाई रोक्ने हो । भारतको स्वार्थ नेपाल मेरो प्रभाव क्षेत्र हो, हिमालय दक्षिण मेरो सीमा हो भनेर जवाहरलाल नेहरूले उतिबेलै भनेका थिए, त्यसलाई कायम राख्दै सके सिक्कमीकरण नसके भुटानीकरण गर्ने हो । नेपालमाथि रहेको आफ्नो पुरानो प्रभाव नछोड्ने चाहना भारतको हो । अमेरिकाको उद्देश्य भनेको नेपालमा बसेर भावी महाशक्ति राष्ट्र चीनलाई कसरी हुन्छ 'डिस्टर्ब' गरेर हैरान पारिरहने र कमजोर पार्ने । नेपाल यस्तो रणनीतिक स्थानमा छ, जसको दुईपट्टी भावी महाशक्ति राष्ट्र छन् । भारत र चीनले अहिलेकै गतिमा विकास गर्दै गए भने भोलि अमेरिकालाई अमेरिकी भूमिमै चुनौती दिन सक्छन् । त्यो जोखिम अहिले नै रोक्न र समाप्त पार्न चाहन्छ अमेरिका । भारतले जे भन्यो त्यही गर्नुपर्छ भन्ने यहाँका (नेपालका) शासकको मानसिकता थियो, र अझै छ, विशेषत विगतको करिब चार वर्ष यता । त्यो अवस्थालाई अहिलेको छद्म युद्धले परिवर्तन गर्दै लगेको छ ।

प्रश्न: दक्षिण एसियाका देशसँग चीनको बढ्दो निकटता र छिमेकीसँग राम्रो सम्बन्ध नभएको भारतले आफू घेराबन्दीमा परेको महसुस गर्दैछ भन्ने विश्लेषण पनि गरिन्छ नि ?
– हो । 'स्ट्रिङ अफ पर्ल्स' भन्छन् उनीहरू । भारतीयहरू चीनले मोतीको मालाजस्तो बनाईसक्यो भन्छन् । पाकिस्तानमा बसेर चीनले ठूल्ठूला हाइड्रोपावर, सडक बनाउँदैछ र पाकिस्तानलाई अत्याधुनिक हातहतियारको प्रविधि हस्तान्तरण गरिरहेको छ । श्रीलंकाका राष्ट्रपतिले भारतबाट हतियार ल्याउन छाडेर चीनबाट ल्याउन थालेपछि एकै वर्षमा तमिल टाइगरलाई सिध्याइदिए । अहिले चीनले त्यहाँ 'पोर्ट' बनाउँदैछ हामबनतोला भन्ने भारतको भाग पट्टी । बगंलादेशमा वन्दरगाह बनाउँदैछ । चीन त आफ्नो सेना लिएर अफ्रिका सम्म पुगिसक्यो नि ।

प्रश्न: यसरी भारत र चीनको भिडन्तमा नेपाल कहाँ रहन्छ ?
– अहिले हामी किंकर्तव्यविमुढताको अवस्थामा छौँ । भारतले यसो गर भन्ने निर्देशन दिन्छ । मिडियामै आइरहेको छ, फलानोलाई धम्क्यायो भनेर । चीनले त्यसो नगर भन्छ । हाम्रो समस्या वा कमजोरी भनेको एउटाको निर्देशनमा हिड्ने बानी परेकोले यसले भनेको मानौं त्यो रिसाउँछ, त्यसले भनेको मानौं यो रिसाउँछ । यहाँ जसजसका बीच छद्म युद्ध भइरहेको छ, ती सबै शक्तिशाली छन् र ती मध्ये कसैको पनि निर्देशनलाई टार्न सक्ने अबस्थामा हामी छैनौँ । यस्तो अवस्थामा दुईवटा कुरा हुनसक्छ । कि त भारतले स्वीकार गर्नुपर्यो, मेरो पहिलाको प्रभाव क्षेत्र नेपालमा अब कम हस्तक्षेप गर्छु भनेर । व्यवहारमै हस्तक्षेप कम भएको देखिनुपर्यो । नेपालको राजीनीतिक स्थिरतामा चीनको चाहना अनुसार भारतले काम गर्यो भने भारतलाई पनि राम्रै हुन्छ । तर, त्यो छाँट देखिँदैन । चीनलाई चुनौती दिन खोजिरहेको छ भारत । तर, अहिले भारत शक्तिको हिसाबले चीनभन्दा ६० वर्ष पछाडि छ । केही महिना यता, भारतमा फरक ढंगले अशान्ति बढ्दै गएको छ । कश्मिरको जुलुसमा महिला र केटाकेटी समेत देखेर चिन्तित भएँ भनेर भारतका प्रधानमन्त्रीले भनेको समाचार आएको छ ।

प्रश्न: भारतको अहिलेको प्रभाव नघट्ने हो भने मात्रै खतरा हो ?
– नेपालमा भारतको प्रभाव घट्नुपर्छ । त्यसो भए, नेपाल, भारत र चीनलाई पनि राम्रो हुन्छ । भारतको प्रभाव घट्नुको अर्थ चीनको हालीमुहाली हुनु पर्छ भन्ने होइन । भारत र चीनले पर्दा पछाडि सम्झौता गरुन् । तर, त्यस्तो सम्भावना कम छ । भारतले आफ्नो भूमिका घटाउने होइन् अझ बढाउने कोसिस गरिरहेको छ । शक्तिको हिसावमा चीन प्रभावशाली छ । भारतको भूमिका कम गर्नका लागि चीनले आफू नदेखिने गरी काम गर्नसक्छ जसले भारतलाई अगाडि जान पनि नसक्ने र पछाडि फर्किन पनि नसक्ने अवस्थामा पुर्याइ दिनेछ । जस्तो प्रधानमन्त्रीको निर्वाचनलाई नै हेर्नोस् । हाम्रा नेताले स्वेच्छाले यो सब गरेका हुन र ? एउटाले एउटालाई भोट हाल भन्छ अर्कोले अर्कोलाई भोट हाल भन्छ । पहिला त पैसाको खेल मात्रै थियो । अहिले कुरा पैसाको मात्रै छैन । अब सुरक्षाको कुरा छ नेताहरूको । यदि यो शक्ति भिडन्तमा नेपालका नेताहरुले पैसाको मुखमात्रै हेरे, र राष्ट्रको हित हेरेनन् भने ज्यानमा खतरासमेत हुनसक्छ । कुनै पनि शक्ति राष्ट्रले आफ्नो राष्ट्रि स्वार्थ पूरा गर्नका लागि जुनसुकै हदसम्म गएको इतिहास छ ।

प्रश्न: अहिलेको प्रधानमन्त्री भिडन्त भारत र चीनकै हो ?
– चीनले एउटा कसैलाई बनाउन खोजेको छैन । भारतले जसलाई प्रधानमन्त्री बनाउन खोजेको छ, त्यसलाई चीन रोक्न खोज्दैछ । जोसुकै आओस् तर उसले नेपालबाट चीनविरुद्ध गतिविधि हुन नदेओस् भन्ने चीनको चाहना देखिन्छ । यदि त्यसो हुन सकेन भने चीनले दबाब कायम राख्छ । तर भारत पछाडि हट्न चाहेको छैन् । यस्तो बेला नेपालका नेताहरुमाथि बढी दबाब पर्छ । अहिले त फोनबाट धम्क्याउने कुरा मात्रै आएको छ । भोलि आफूले भनेको नमान्नेलाई सिध्याइदिन पनि सक्छन् ।

प्रश्न: भारतीय राजदूतावासबाट चीनलाई मुछ्ने गरी माओवादी नेतासँग भएको कुरा भन्दै जुन अडियो टेप सार्वजनिक भयो, त्यसले ती दुई देशवीच हुने कुटनीतिक सम्बन्धमा कस्तो असर पार्ला ?
– सांसद किन्न चीनसँग ५० करोड रुपैयाँ माओवादीले मागेको भन्ने जुन टेप आयो, त्यो नेपालको राजनीतिमा नौलो कुरा होइन् । तर, त्यो टेपले चीनलाई मुछेको छ । त्यसको प्रतिक्रियामा यहाँको चिनियाँ राजदूतावासले हाम्रो संलग्नता छैन भन्यो । त्यसपछि चीन चुप लागेको छ । चीनले अहिले यति ठूलो आरोप खेप्नुपर्यो भारतीय पक्षबाट, त्यो त बेइजिङ्गले पक्कै 'नोटिस' मा राखेको छ । चीनजस्तो शक्तिलाई अहिलेसम्म अमेरिकाले समेत यति ठूलो आरोप लगाएको थिएन । त्यसको जवाफ चीनले नेपालमा देखिने गरी भारतलाई दिंदैन । यो टेप प्रकरणको जवाफ हो भनेर नबुझिने गरी भारतलाई जवाफ दिन सक्छ । भारतले त्यो टेपको ठूलो मूल्य चुकाउनु पर्ने हुन सक्छ । विश्वभरी चीनलाई बद्नाम गरेर भारतले गरेको भयंकर ठूलो गल्ती हो यो ।

प्रश्न: यी दुईको द्वन्द्वबाट हामी कहाँ पुग्छौ ?
– यी दुईको द्वन्द्वले एउटा विध्वंशको स्थिति सिर्जना गर्छ । एउटा ठूलो विध्वंश हुन्छ, जसको कसैले कल्पना पनि गरेको छैन । त्यसपछि नेपालले स्थिरता पाउँछ । त्यो विध्वंश हुने क्रममा यिनीहरूको रुप छद्म नै रहन्छ । त्यतिबेला भारतले ह्युमिलिएट हुने अवस्था आउनसक्छ । त्यसकारण नेपालको आन्तरिक राजनीति र वाह्य शक्तिको रणनीतिले एउटा भिडन्तको अवस्था ल्याउनै लागेको छ । कहिले, कसरी र कस्तो भन्ने मात्रै बाँकी छ ।

(साँघु साप्ताहिकमा प्रकाशित, असोज ०४, २०६७ (सेप्टेम्बर २०, २०१०)

Sep 15, 2010

Sino-Indian Proxy War in Nepal

Deepak Gajurel
How important is Nepal for our two giant reighbors?
What is the extent of foreign intervention in Nepal?
Are China and India intervening in Nepal's internal affairs?
What message is China signaling these days?
What would be the consequences of 'Telephone" scandal?

To find the answers to these questions with analytical perspective, please click on the following link to listen or download a radio talk show. The interview was broadcast live by Gorkha FM on Sept 12, 2010 (Bhadra 27, 2067)

Comments and suggestions would be appreciated.

Sep 14, 2010

Should Nepal Monarchy be Restored? Why?

Deepak Gajurel

Nepali political leaders these days are talking about Monarchy in Nepal. The hue and cry about the King and Monarchy is unprecedented.

Some pertinent questions arise in this context.

Please clink on the following link to listen to a radio interview on whats, whys, and hows about the Monarchy in Nepal. The interview was broadcast live by Radio Sagarmatha on Bhadra 21, 2067 (Sept. 06, 2010).
The Link:

Comments and suggestions would be appreciated.

Sep 13, 2010

The chaos next door

Yubaraj Ghimire

Back in 1989, when India launched an economic blockade that lasted about 20 months and created massive shortages in landlocked Nepal, King Birendra quietly sent a small team of trusted aides and officials to China to explore if the north was ready to be a dependable alternative.

China might have wanted to keep the visit secret and therefore asked the Nepali team to come to Lhasa where a senior minister from Beijing joined them. But to the great disappointment of the team, the Chinese minister asked them to be realistic. We are not in a position to do much in the next two to three decades, and Nepal should continue to mend fences with India, was the message conveyed. Meanwhile, as “a token of the highest regard that we have for Nepal’s monarchy,” Beijing sent 10,000 litres of low-octane petroleum to fuel-starved Nepal, which was barely enough for a week’s consumption.

King Birendra felt particularly betrayed. He was disappointed with India, as the unexpected blockade came barely two years after he had annulled a global contract that China had won for the construction of the 300-km Kohalpur-Banbasa road along the Indian border. The king unilaterally awarded the contract to India after P.V. Narasimha Rao, then external affairs minister, met the king to convey India’s security concerns.

As the blockade continued, Birendra received another proposal from India through S.K. Singh, that Nepal concede India’s priority rights in harnessing Nepal’s water resources and that it accept India’s enhanced security concerns even on matters of arms-imports for its consumption. All this while, China quietly looked away.

But in 2005, when India and the West stopped supplying arms to the Nepal army in disapproval of the royal takeover, China dispatched arms in large volumes. This was a clear departure from its projected low interest in Nepal. Now, less than three decades after King Birendra’s team returned empty-handed, the Chinese no longer suggest that Nepal should depend more on India, or that it has less stake or influence. Rather, it asserts that it is willing to cooperate and compete with, and confront India in Nepal if necessary.

China has expanded its areas of interest and often matched India’s brazenness in its dealings and involvement in Nepal’s internal politics. To cite an example, while the government of Nepal has been instructed by a parliament committee to probe an incident in which an Indian embassy official was accused of physically harming a Maoist parliamentarian, the Commission of Inquiry into Abuse of Authority (CIAA), an anti-graft constitutional body, is investigating a recently broadcast audio tape in which the Maoists’ foreign affairs chief, K.B. Mahara, and an unidentified Chinese official are negotiating an arrangement, with Mahara demanding Rs 500 million to buy members of parliament and form the government. This issue has taken a wider dimension as two national dailies — Kantipur (Nepali) and The Kathmandu Post (English) — splashed front-page commentaries by their editors claiming that the contents of the tape were distributed by the Indian embassy. The editors also claimed that they received calls from an Indian embassy official when they were dining with the Chinese ambassador.

The constituent assembly’s failure to deliver a constitution on time, the parliament’s failure to elect a prime minister for over two months, and the resulting political chaos have created greater despair and concern about the future of democracy in Nepal. Political leaders, whether they are part of the Maoists or the Nepali Congress, are widely resented. Among the public, there is an unconcealed and real anger directed against these leaders, and a sense that things were much better when the king was around. This, perhaps, has emboldened Gyanendra and his son Paras to tour various parts of the country.

The consolidation of democracy, political stability and economic prosperity were all gifts promised to Nepal when the Maoists — still armed insurgents — and seven pro-democracy parties signed a 12-point understanding in November 2005 in Delhi, agreeing to collectively launch an anti-monarchy movement with Indian mediation. Gyanendra’s lead role in having China as an observer to SAARC — a proposal that was unanimously endorsed during the summit in Dhaka on November 6 and 7 that year — had apparently irked India, and the 12-point agreement was a consequence of that. India chose to bury the monarchy and cultivate and support the Maoists as a popular force, which it is now at loggerheads with. Tragically enough, neither India nor China can confidently negotiate with any of the existing political parties for their long-term interests, including security-related ones. That explains their direct, even brazen involvement at times, which Nepalis find discomfiting.

China finds its sensitivity on Tibet issues ignored by the current regime. There has been no serious review so far in Delhi over its role in the 12-point agreement and the events that followed in Nepal, and whether India has gained or lost in the estimate of the Nepali people. The instability and economic ruin of Nepal should not be seen as the fallout of the 12-point agreement. The political mismanagement that followed the agreement still continues to wreck its fate.

Courtsey: Indian Express / Sept 11, 2010

Sep 9, 2010

भारतलाई नेपालबाट धक्का !

दीपक गजुरेल

नेपालको राजनीति अन्योलग्रस्त त छँदैथियो, अब यो अझ बढी जटिलतामा फँसेको छ । दुई महिनादेखि जारी प्रधानमन्त्री निर्वाचन गर्ने प्रयाश सफल भैराखेको छैन । 'सहमति' भन्दा असहमति र द्वन्द्व बढ्दै गएको छ । शान्ति प्रक्रिया टुङ्गोमा पुर्याउन नदिएको आरोप एकले अर्को पक्षमाथि लगाउने गरेका छन् । नयाँ संविधान निर्माण सम्बन्धितहरुको प्राथमिकतामा परेकै छैन ।

नेपालमा शासन प्रणाली कस्तो हुने र त्यसको स्थापना कसरी गर्ने भन्ने कुराको निर्णय नेपालीहरुले नै गर्नु पर्ने हो । तर हामीकहाँ विगत् केही वर्ष यता त्यसो हुन सकेको छैन । राजाको शासन विरुद्ध विदेशीको योजना र चाहना अनुरुप काम गरे हाम्रा संसदवादी राजनीतिक दल र माओवादीले । भारतीय निर्देशन अनुसार आरम्भ गरिएको १२ बुँदे सम्झौता र त्यसपछि भएका/गरिएका सहमति, सम्झौता सम्बन्धितहरुले पालना गरेका छैनन् । र नेपाललाई यो बाटोमा हिँडाउने सूत्रधार नयाँ दिल्ली आफूले रचना गरेको योजना अनुरुप नेपालका संसदवादी दल र माओवादीलाई अघि बढाउन सकिराखेको छैन । परिणाम स्वरुप, केही समय अघिसम्म नेपालमा 'जे चाह्यो त्यो गर्न सक्ने' अवस्थामा रहेको भारत नेपाल मामलामा यसबेला किंकर्तव्यविमूढ बन्न पुगेको देखिन्छ । अब कसरी अगाडि बढ्ने भन्ने समस्या मात्र भारत सामू छैन, आफ्नो इज्जत कसरी जोगाउने र कूटनीतिक प्रतिष्ठा कसरी कायम राख्ने भन्ने सम्मको संकटमा भारत पुगेको देखिन्छ, यसबेला ।

भारत नेपालमा असफल !
नेपालको राजनीतिक परिवर्तनमा आफ्नो स्वामित्व देख्ने भारतको नेपाल नीति असफल भएको विश्लेषण भारतीयहरुले नै गर्न थालेका छन् । 'नेपाललाई यो अस्थिरताबाट भारत सहित कुनै पनि मुलुकले उद्दार गर्न सक्तैन' भन्न थालेका छन् नेपालविज्ञ भनेर चिनिने भारतीय विद्वान र विश्लेषकहरु ।

कुनैबेला भारतले जे चाह्यो त्यो हुन्थ्यो नेपालमा । नयाँ दिल्लीका नीति निर्माताहरुको गलत् नीतिका कारण यो हिमाली राष्ट्रमाथि भारतको प्रभाव कम भएको छ ।' टाइम्स अफ इण्डियाको यही अगष्ट ७ मा छापिएको विश्लेषणमा भनिएको छ । 'मेसिन रिडेबल पासपोर्ट छाप्ने निर्णय फिर्ता लिएर समेत नेपालले भारतलाई 'पाठ' सिकायो', सो अखबारको अनलाइन संस्करण भन्छ ।

नेपालविज्ञ पूर्व भारतीय जेनरल अशोक मेहता भारतको नेपाल नीति असफल भएको निश्कर्षमा पुगेका छन् । सेप्टम्बर १, २०१० को द पायोनियरमा प्रकाशित लेखमा भारतका सुरक्षा सल्लाहकार भनेर चिनिने मेहता भन्छन्, 'नेपालमा राजनीतिक गतिरोध जारी रहनु भनेको सर्वनाशलाई निम्तो दिनु हो । र त्यो भनेको नेपालमा भारतको स्वार्थमा अकल्पनीय धक्का लाग्नु हो ।'

'चीनले नेपालमा कब्जा जमाइसक्यो' शिर्षकको अर्को एउटा भारतीय अनलाइन साइटले भारतको नेपाल नीति पूर्ण असफल भएको निश्कर्ष निकालेको छ । सुपुर्दगी सन्धिमा हस्ताक्षर गर्ने भारतको चाहना नेपालमा नयाँ संबिधान नबनेसम्म पूरा हुने सम्भावना छैन भनेर भारतीय सञ्चार माध्यमहरु भनिराखेका छन् । भारतका पूर्व राष्ट्रिय सुरक्षा सल्लाहकार ब्रजेश मिश्रा साउथ ब्लकको नेपाल नीतिको विरोध गर्दैछन् । 'चीनले नेपाल लगायत हाम्रो छिमेकमा प्रभाव बिस्तार गर्दैछ र हामी केही गर्न सकिराखेका छैनौँ', भनेर मिश्राले टाइम्स अफ इण्डियाको अगष्ट ७, २०१० को अङ्कमा लेखेका छन् ।

कूटनीतिक विश्लेषक भद्रकुमार गत हप्ताको इकोनोमिक टाइम्समा भारतले नेपालको आन्तरिक राजनीतिमा गरिराखेको हस्तक्षेप प्रत्युत्पादक हुने भविष्यवाणी गर्छन् । अगष्ट १३, २०१० को एशिया टाइम्समा विश्लेषक सुधा रामचन्द्रन् भारत आफ्ना सबै छिमेकीहरुबाट अलग्गिएको विश्लेषण गर्छिन् । 'नेपालमा रहेको भारतको रणनीतिक गहिराइ समाप्त भएको छ,' सन डे पायोनियरको अनलाइन संस्करणमा कञ्चन गुप्ताको विश्लेषण छ (अगष्ट २२, २०१०) ।

नेपालको राजनीति अन्योलपूर्ण रहेका बेला भारतीय सञ्चार माध्यम, विद्वान–विश्लेषकहरु एक स्वरले भारतको नेपाल नीति असफल भएको बताइराखेका छन् । स्मरणीय छ, २०६२ मंसीरमा नेपालका सात राजनीतिक दल र माओवादीबीच १२ बुँदे दिल्ली सम्झौतामा हस्ताक्षर हुँदा यी लगायत सबै भारतीय विश्लेषकहरुले भारतीय सत्ता पक्षले लिएको नीतिको पक्षमा वकालत गरेका थिए । दुई वर्ष पछि आफ्ना लागि कस्तो स्थिति आउनेछ भन्ने अनुमान र विश्लेषण गर्न नसक्नु भारतीयहरुको चरम अज्ञानता र असफलता हो भन्ने अहिले पुष्टि भएको छ ।

भारतलाई नेपालबाट धक्का !
भारतको योजना मुताविक नेपालमा राजनीतिक परिवर्तन गर्न एकजुट हुन 'सहमति' गरेका शक्तिहरु नै यसबेला भारत विरुद्ध खनिएका छन् । नेपालमा प्रधानमन्त्री निर्वाचन गर्ने प्रक्रियामा भारतले ठाडो र नाङ्गो हस्तक्षेप गर्यो भनेर माओवादीले आरोप लगायो । 'भारतीय प्रधानमन्त्रीका विशेष दूत नेपाल आएर हाम्रो नेतृत्वमा सरकार बन्न दिएनन्' भन्ने आक्षेप माओवादी नेताहरुले सार्वजनिक रुपमै लगाए । नेपालमा 'क्रान्ति' गर्दाका १० वर्ष मध्ये साढे आठ वर्ष भारतमा बसेर नेपालमा 'जनयुद्ध' सञ्चालन गरेको शक्तिबाट भारत विरुद्ध यसप्रकारको आक्रमण हुनुको अर्थ र कारण भारतीय शासकहरुले राम्ररी बुझ्नु पर्ने हो ।

नेपालको आन्तरिक मामलामा 'भारतीय हस्तक्षेप' विरुद्ध खुलेर लागेको माओवादी मात्र होइन । नेपालको 'सार्वभौम' संबिधानसभा समेत भारत विरुद्ध खनिएको छ, यसबेला । एउटा मधेशवादी दलबाट संबिधानसभामा निर्वाचित भएर पछि माओवादी बनेका एकजना सभासद्लाई भारतीय राजदूताबासका एक बरिष्ठ कूटनीतिज्ञले धम्की दिएको मुद्दालाई ठूलै बनाइयो । संबिधानसभाको अन्तर्राष्ट्रिय समितिले सभासद्लाई धम्की दिने ती भारतीय कूटनीतिज्ञलाई देश निकाला (परसोना नन्ग्राटा) सम्मको कारवाही गर्न सरकारलाई 'सर्वसम्मत' निर्देशन दियो ।

भारतीय स्वामित्वमा नेपालमा सञ्चालित एउटा उद्योगको उत्पादन सम्बन्धी विवादले चर्को रुप लिएको छ । भारतीय लगानीको पक्षमा भारतीय दूताबासले जारी गरेको विज्ञप्तिप्रति हाम्रो संबिधानसभाले कडा कदम चाल्यो । 'राजदूतलाई तत्काल स्पष्टीकरण सोध्न सरकारलाई निर्देशन दिने सर्वसम्मत निर्णय' गर्यो, संबिधानसभा अन्तर्राष्ट्रिय सम्बन्ध तथा मानव अधिकार समितिले (कान्तिपुर दैनिक, भदौ १५, २०६७) । २०६२/६३ को आन्दोलन पछि राजाद्वारा पुनस्थापित प्रतिनिधिसभाको पहिलो वैठकमा एकजना भारतीय सांसदलाई अमर्यादित तथा कूटनीतिक मान्यताका हिसाबले अत्यन्तै अस्वभाविक ढंगले स्वागत् गर्ने यिनै राजनीतिक दल र शक्तिहरु रहेको हालको संबिधानसभाले भारत विरुद्ध चालेका यी कदमले केही गम्भीर संकेत गरेका छन्, भारतका शासकहरुका लागि ।

भारत विरुद्ध नेपालका माओवादी र संबिधानसभा मात्र लागिपरेका छैनन् । स्वयम् नेपाल सरकार पनि नयाँ दिल्लीका शासकहरुलाई 'लज्जित' बनाउने गरी काम गर्दैछ । एम. आर. पी. छपाइ सम्बन्धमा हाम्रो सरकारले देखाएको अपरिपक्व व्यवहारले कूटनीतिक रुपमा भारतलाई एउटा नजानिँदो झट्का दिएको थियो, केही दिन अघि । भारतीय प्रधानमन्त्रीका विशेष दूत श्यामशरणको नेपाल भ्रमणलाई नेपाली सञ्चार जगत्का साथै सरकारले पनि उपहास बनाउने काम गरे । हाम्री परराष्ट्र मन्त्रीले संसदको समिति समक्ष श्यामशरणको नेपाल भ्रमण सम्बन्धमा दिएको वयानले यो कुराको पुष्टि हुन्छ । 'श्यामशरणको भ्रमण निजी हो' भनिन् हाम्री परराष्ट्र मन्त्रीले । आफूलाई विशेष दूत दावी गर्नेको गालामा यो गतिलो झापड थियो, नेपाल सरकारका तर्फबाट ।

भारतले नेपालप्रति देखाइराखेको व्यवहारप्रति आक्रामक रुपमा आइलाग्ने काममा नेपालका सञ्चार माध्यम पनि अग्रणी देखिएका छन् । भारतीय राजदूताबासको एउटा विज्ञप्ति विरुद्ध एकजुट भै 'नेपाली सञ्चार जगत्का सामू क्षमा याचना गर' भन्ने सम्मको बोली नेपाली मिडियाले देखाएको छ । श्यामशरण विशेष दूतका रुपमा नेपाल आउँदा उनलाई 'तिमी कुन हैसियतमा नेपाल आएको' भनी काठमाण्डौँ विमानस्थलमै सोध्न सक्ने 'आँट' नेपाली प्रत्रकारलाई त्यसै आएको होइन । केही समय अघिसम्म 'भारतको सहयोग तथा सद्भावका कारण नेपालमा क्रान्तिकारी परिवर्तन सम्भव भएको हो' भनी गर्वको शैलीमा प्रस्तुत हुने नेपाली सञ्चार जगत् अहिले भारत विरुद्ध 'क्षमा माग' भन्दै खनिनु संयोग मात्र हुन सक्तैन । यति कुरा त भारतीय नीति निर्माताहरुले पक्कै बुझेको हुनुपर्छ ।

प्रजातन्त्रलाई 'लोकतन्त्र' भनी व्याख्या गर्ने र राजाले नेपाल राष्ट्रलाई ध्वस्त पारे भन्ने 'नागरिक समाजका अगुवाहरु' यसबेला 'सूदलाई फिर्ता बोलाऊ' भन्न थाल्नु पनि भारतका नीति निर्माताहरुका लागि एउटा गतिलो पाठ हुनुपर्छ ।