Nov 30, 2011

Nepal may be venue of opposing Chinese and Indo-US Security interests

Sulabh Khatiwada
MBA Graduate,Jhapa, Nepal 

Sulabh Khatiwada, a fresh MBA Graduate from Apex College, Kathmandu, is now associated with a business firm named DR Construction & DR Supplies. Apart from being involved in the business activities, he is closely observing the political events happening within and without the national boundaries.

Sujit Sharma for the Telegraph Weekly and its online edition approached and talked with this lively young man on several aspects of Nepali economy and politics, recent trends observed in global politics and its possible impact in Nepal.

Below are the excerpts of this exclusive interview: Chief Editor.
Q1: Nepal is now undergoing through peace process. Does this situation have had any impact in the development activities happening in the country?
Khatiwada: Being an associate of a construction company, I am largely benefitted by the current state of country. Nepalese economy was in stagnation, better say it was very much close to a collapse, during the 10 years long Maoist insurgency. After the mainstreaming of the Maoists in national politics, some positive changes have been noticed in the national economy. Our economy is gradually becoming pulsating.

The firm to which I am associated is mainly focused on the construction works in several municipalities. The development activities in the municipalities have been increased drastically after the beginning of the peace process. Government has increased budgetary allocation for the development activities and Consumer Groups have been formed at the local levels to monitor such activities. The ongoing development activities have integrated the aspiration and stake of the local people. I am satisfied with this change.

Q2: It is being rumored that the businessmen in Nepal are being victimized by the extortion campaign of different political parties and armed groups. Is it true?
Khatiwada: I would prefer to remain tight lipped over this issue. Let it remain just a rumor only. I apologize for this.
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Nepal Perspective: Mounting Sino-India Tensions

By Deepak Gajurel
Given the past few years' experiences, India appears in China’s news media very few and far between. Even bilateral exchanges, ministerial visits and official cultural events do not make the kind of splash as in India, for such events for Chinese.

It is Chinese manner that they use media outlets as and when the State, Party or Government wants to send subtle messages without the official cover.

On the contrary, there is much more of China in the Indian media, which is more preoccupied with Beijing. At a time when Indian television and newspapers, along with a number of 'think tanks' are cautioning about Chinese assertiveness and aggressive posture towards India, China has, since last two months so to say, been speaking loud on Sino-India relations. Since India signed an agreement with Vietnam to jointly explore oil resources in the South China Sea, Chinese media, both English and Chinese languages, are coming up with a flurry of verbal attacks on India.

Headlined 'India needs pause when driving East' ,Xinhua, Chinese state-run news agency on November 8, in an analytical piece, wrote, 'It is highly advisable for New Delhi to think twice about the pitfalls in making its foreign policies.'

India signed an agreement with Vietnam in September, 2011 to jointly explore oil resources in the South China Sea, despite China’s indisposition and amid strains in their ties with China. In a similar event, India and Afghanistan declared, in October, the establishment of strategic and cooperative partnership between the two countries. As seen by the Chinese as provocation of its northern neighbor, India signed defense pacts respectively with China’s neighboring Vietnam and Myanmar.

Dissatisfaction of Beijing towards India's recent military and strategic move are well mirrored in Xinhua's article. Thus, 'The intensification of defense cooperation will also be high on the agenda of India, as it expects China’s small neighbors would rather look to it to balance what is said China’s increased assertiveness in the region, and view it as an increasingly important player in evolving an “inclusive regional architecture” in Asia,' Xinhua opines, adding, 'More significantly, scared by China's “muscle-flexing”, India plans to recruit and deploy another 100,000 soldiers along the disputed borders with China and the Chinese Southwestern Tibet. The troop increase will come over the next five years, as part of a $13 billion modernization program that will mark the largest expansion of the Indian army throughout the sub-continental country’s 60-year history.'

When China has been reported to have been strengthening its military and strategic build-up in Tibet, India too has joined the race. The Indian Express early this month reported that New Delhi gave the green signal for the Indian military to deploy Brahmos cruise missiles in Arunachal Pradesh in what could be taken as India's first tactical missile deployment. This Indian move has aptly been answered by Chinese state news agency Xinhua, which states, 'This is, many observers see, awfully disrupting the volatile tranquility along the China-India border.' Xinhua further warned, 'There is nothing to be said against its overtures to others for strategic cooperation. But if it intended to estrange and antagonize its neighbor by taking it as an imaginary enemy and get unwisely involved in affairs which fall within others’ backyards, it would hold its national strategies as hostage and put at stake its own national interests.'

Referring to India's military build-up on the border, the People’s Daily earlier this month had said, ‘India has begun to consider China an opponent.’ In a November 10, Beijing-datelined article headlined, ‘India’s border troop surge aimed at rising China?’, the paper looks at India’s ties with others like the US, Japan and Vietnam, and how these are fuelled by fear and suspicion of China. This Chinese voice towards India came immediately after Xinhua’s ‘warning’ that India needs to reconsider its Look East policy and ‘pause driving east.’

While Chinese, through their media outlets, are suggesting India to be 'more realistic, Indian think tanks are predicting a Sino-Indian conflict. Some Indian experts are viewing the growing Sino-Indian rivalry as tensions between these two neighbors inescapable. China and India face each other across a heavily militarized nearly 4,000km-long border and are increasingly competing against each other in a scramble for natural resources around the world. Indian fears over Chinese projects along the Indian Ocean rim were matched recently by Beijing's ire over growing Indian interests in the South China Sea.

Adding fuel to the increasing verbal exchanges through media, an Indian Ministry of Defense affiliated independent think tank predicts a conflict between the two Asian giants. By spelling out a few concrete scenarios of how conflict may look between the two countries, the Institute of Defense Studies and Analysis (IDSA) report reveals the palpable lack of trust on the part of strategists both in New Delhi and Beijing. The report applauds long-term Indian efforts underway to beef up defenses along the Chinese border, but warns that Beijing may still take action. 'In future, India could be subject to China's hegemonic attention. Since India would be better prepared by then, China may instead wish to set India back now by a preventive war. This means current day preparedness is as essential as preparation for the future. A [defeat] now will have as severe political costs, internally and externally, as it had back in 1962; for, as then, India is yet again contemplating a global role,' IDSA writes in its recent report entitled ' Consideration of Sino-Indian Conflict.'

At a time when a lot of recent media attention has focused on the likelihood of Sino-Indian clashes at sea, the IDSA report keeps its scope trained along the traditional, glacial Himalayan land boundary in the LAC, the Line of Actual Control. Since the 1962 war, China and India have yet to formally resolve longstanding disputes over vast stretches of territory along this line. Those disputes have resurfaced noticeably in recent years, with China making unprecedented signals through news media, including PLA Daily, much to the unease of New Delhi, over its historical claims to the entirety of the northeastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, to what the Chinese claim to be 'Southern Tibet.'

IDSA speculates that China could make a targeted territorial grab, 'for example, a bid to take Tawang.' Further west along the LAC, another flashpoint lies in Kashmir. China controls a piece of largely uninhabited territory known as Aksai Chin that it captured during the 1962 war. The report notes the threat of coordinated action between China and Pakistan, an alliance built largely out of years of mutual antipathy toward India. In one mooted scenario, Pakistan, either with its own forces or terrorist, insurgent proxies, would 'make diversionary moves' across the blood-stained Siachin glacier or Kargil, while a Chinese offensive strikes further east along the border.

Things seem cautionary when Chinese are speaking to 'teach India a lesson' on the one hand, and some Indian strategists are predicting, on the other, 'with the 50th anniversary of the 1962 invasion approaching, history is in danger of repeating itself.' The recent media and experts' flare-ups against each other suggest that the situation seems to have approached a serious level.

Exclusive for weekly dated November 30, 2011
Originally published by at:

Nov 29, 2011

चीन-भारत तनावका सम्भावित खतरा

दीपक गजुरेल

पाँच दशकभन्दा बढी समयदेखि सीमा विवादमा अल्झिरहेका चीन र भारतबीच पछिल्लो सीमा वार्ता नहुने भएको छ । दलाई लामालाई भारतको राजधानी नयाँ दिल्लीमा प्रवचन गर्न अनुमति दिने भारतीय नीतिको विरोध गर्दै चीनले सो वार्तामा सहभागी नहुने जनाउ दिएको हो । सन् १९६२ को संक्षिप्त युद्धपछि लगातार विवादमा रहेको सीमा सम्बन्धमा दुबै देशबीच १४ पटक वार्ता भैसके पनि अल्लेखनीय प्रगति चाहिँ हुनसकेको छैन ।

सीमा विवाद र सामरिक होडबाजी जारी रहे पनि चीन र भारत आपसी व्यापारचाहिँ बढाइराखेका छन् । अहिले करिब ६० अर्व अमेरिकी डलर रहेको दुईपक्षीय व्यापार आगामी चार वर्षमा १०० अर्व डलर पुर्याउने लक्ष्य रहेको बताइएको छ । औपचारिक रुपमा, आधिकारिक सरकारी स्तरमा, चीन र भारतबीच कुनै प्रकारको संवेदनशील तनाव देखिन्न । तर करिब २ महिना यता आम-सञ्चारका माध्यमबाट बेइजिङ्ग र दिल्ली दुबै एक अर्का विरुद्ध खनिएका छन्

चीन-भारतबीच बढ्दो तनाव
चिनियाँ अखबार वा समाचार संस्थाले भनेका/लेखेका कुरालाई सिद्धान्तत: चीनको सरकारी धारणा मानिन्न । तर चीनको शासन प्रणाली र त्यहाँको शैली अनुसार चीनका अखबार, टेलिभिजन वा समाचार संस्थाले भनेका/लेखेका बिचारलाई चीनको सरकारी धारणाका रुपमा हेरिन्छ । र यतिबेला चिनियाँ समाचार माध्यमहरु भारत विरुद्ध आक्रामक रुपमा खनिएका छन्

भारत वा अन्य कुनै छिमेकी देशका बारेमा सामान्यतया त्यति 'कभरेज' नदिने चिनियाँ समाचार माध्यमहरु गत सेप्टेम्बर यता लगभग दिनहुँजसो भारतका बारेमा लेख्दै/बोल्दै आएका छन् । पाँच दशकको चिनियाँ शैली र तरिकाको पृष्ठभूमिमा यो अस्वभाविक हो । चिनियाँ कम्यूनिष्ट पार्टी वा सरकारले कसैलाई कुनै सन्देश दिनुपर्यो भने आफ्ना सञ्चार माध्यम मार्फत अहिले जसरी नै दिने गर्छन् भन्ने विगत्ले देखाउँछ । त्यसैले यसबेलाको भारत विरुद्ध चिनियाँ आक्रामकतालाई सामान्य ढंगले लिनसकिने अवस्था छैन ।

भारतका समाचार माध्यमहरु बेलाबेला चीनको आक्रामक नीति तथा कार्यशैलीको आलोचना गर्छन् 'चीनले भारतलाई घेर्दैछ', 'चीनले भारतको सीमा मिच्यो' जस्ता प्रचार भारतीय सञ्चार माध्यममा नियमितजसो आइराख्छन् । तर यसबेलाको चिनियाँ शैली बढी नै आक्रामक देखिँदैछ । 'भारतलाई पाठ सिकाउनै पर्छ' भनेर केही दिन अघि बेइजिङ्गबाट प्रकाशित हुने ग्लोबल टाइम्सले लेख्यो । भारतले साउथ चाइना सीमा प्राकृतिक स्रोतको अन्वेषण गर्न गत सेप्टम्बरमा भियतनामसँग सम्झौता गरेपछिका दिनमा यस्तो चिनियाँ चेतावनी बढ्दो छ ।

चीनको सरकारी समाचार संस्था सिन्ह्वाले यही नोभेम्बर ८ मा 'पूर्वतर्फ बढ्नुअघि भारतले सोच्नु पर्छ' भन्ने शीर्षकमा भारतलाई चेतावनी दिँदै लेख्यो, 'विदेश नीति बनाउँदा त्यसको परिणाम के हुनेछ भन्ने विषयमा दुई पटक सोच्न भारतलाई सुझाव छ ।'

गत् तीन महिनाको अवधिमा अफगानिस्तान, भियतनाम, म्यानमार लगायतका देशहरुसँग भारतले गरेको सुरक्षा सम्बन्धी सम्झौताहरुको पनि चिनियाँहरुले विरोध गरेका छन् 'आफ्नो वरपरको क्षेत्रमा चीनको बढ्दो प्रभावलाई सन्तुलित पार्ने उद्देश्यले भारतले यी देशहरुसँग यस्ता सम्झौताहरु गरेको बुझिन्छ' भन्दै सिन्ह्वाले लेखेको छ, 'चीनको तागत्देखि डराएर भारत आफ्नो सैनिक संख्या बढाउँदैछ, र सेनाको आधुनिकीकरण गर्दैछ ।' तर जे गरे पनि भारत चीनको अगाडि केही गर्न सक्ने हुनेवाला छैन भन्ने चेतावनी पनि उक्त चिनियाँ सरकारी समाचार संस्थाले दिएको छ ।

भारत विरुद्ध चेतावनीयुक्त बिचार सिन्ह्वा, ग्लोबल टाइम्स्, चाइना वायर, पिपुल्स डेली जस्ता चिनियाँ सञ्चार माध्यमहरुबाट मात्र आएका छैनन् । चिनियाँ सेनाको आधिकारिक प्रकाशन 'पि. एल. . डेली' ले समेत भारतलाई 'अर्काको अधिकार क्षेत्रमा प्रवेश गर्नु अघि बिचार पुर्याउन, नत्र परिणाम भोग्न तयार रहन' चेतावनी जारी गरेको छ । केही हप्ता यताका चिनियाँ सञ्चार माध्यममा भारत सम्बन्धमा आइराखेका सामग्री हेर्दा यस्तो लाग्छ, चीन भारतसँग बेस्सरी रिसाएको छ र चिनियाँ सेनाले भारतमाथि कुनै पनि बेला आक्रमण गर्न सक्छ ।

भारतमा चीनको त्रास
उत्तरी छिमेकी चीनका तर्फबाट भारतविरुद्ध तगातार चेतावनीयुक्त धारणा आइराखेको बेला केही भारतीय 'थिङ्क ट्याङ्क' हरुबाट चीन-भारत युद्धको खतरा औँल्याउन थालिएको छ । रणनीतिक विश्लेषक शशी थरुर लगायत कतिपय भारतीय विद्वानले अव 'चीन-भारत युद्ध टार्न सकिन्न' सम्म भन्न थालेका छन् । भारत र चीन दुबै अन्तर्राष्ट्रिय शक्ति समीकरणमा आ-आफ्नै ढंगले अघि बढेका र एउटाको कदमले अर्कालाई बाधा पुग्ने अवस्था रहेकाले यी दुई देशबीच द्वन्द्व बढेर जाने ठहर उनीहरुको छ ।

चीनले पाकिस्तानी सेनासँग मिलेर आतङ्कवाद विरुद्ध हालै गरेको संयुक्त सैनिक अभ्यासलाई 'चीनले भारतलाई डर देखाएर तर्साएको' व्याख्या भारतीय टेलिभिजनहरुले गरेका छन् । सामरिक तथा रक्षा सम्बन्धी केही स्वतन्त्र भारतीय विश्लेषकहरुले अब चीन र भारत युद्धमा होमिन्छन् तर भारत चीनसँग युद्धका लागि तयार छैन भनेका छन्

एकजना भारतीय रक्षा विशेषज्ञ भरत वर्माले त झण्डै दुई वर्ष अघि नै 'चीनले भारतमाथि आक्रमण गर्ने 'अग्रिम जानकारी' दिएका थिए । सन् २०१२ भित्र चीनले भारतमाथि कुनै न कुनै बहानमा सैनिक हमला गर्ने स्थिति बन्दै गएको चेतावनी विवादमा परिरहने यी विशेषज्ञले दिएका थिए ।

स्वतन्त्र विशेषज्ञ र सञ्चार माध्यमहरुले भारतमाथि चिनियाँ आक्रमणको त्रास देखाइराखेको बेला भारतीय रक्षा मन्त्रालयसँग सम्बन्धित तर स्वतन्त्र संस्थाको रुपमा प्रचारित एउटा 'थिङ्क ट्याङ्क' ले चीन-भारत युद्धको संभावित परिदृश्य सहितको एउटा प्रतिवेदन सार्वजनिक गरेको छ । करिव एक महिनाअघि प्रकाशित इन्ष्टिच्यूट अफ डिफेन्स स्टडिज् याण्ड एनालिसिस् (आईडिएसए) को सो प्रतिवेदनमा चीन र भारत दुबैतिर एक अर्काप्रति अविश्वास रहेको स्वीकारिएको छ । 'भारतले आफ्नो सैनिक सुदृढीकरण गर्दैछ । अहिलेका लागि मात्र होइन भविष्यका लागि पनि त्यसो गर्नु आवश्यक छ । तर पनि चीनले भारत विरुद्ध 'याक्सन्' लिन सक्छ' भन्छ आईडिएसएको कन्सिडरेसन अफ सिनो इण्डियन कन्फ्लिक्ट शीर्षकको सो प्रतिवेदन ।

'भारत आगामी दिनमा अझै शक्तिशाली र सशक्त बन्न सक्छ । त्यसैले भारत अझ बलियो हुनु अघि नै भारतलाई रोक्न 'प्रिएम्प्टिभ वार' मा चीन जान सक्छ' भन्ने सो थिङ्क ट्याङ्कको प्रक्षेपण छ । आईडिएसएको सो प्रतिवेदनले चीन-भारत युद्धका विभिन्न संभावित परिदृश्य समेत आंकलन गरेको छ । र त्यस्तो युद्धको परिणाम भारतका साथै छिमेकी नेपाल र भूटानमा समेत कसरी तथा कस्तो पर्नेछ भन्ने प्रक्षेपण गरेको छ ।

औपचारिक रुपमा स्वतन्त्र भनिए पनि वास्तविक रुपमा भारतीय रक्षा मन्त्रालय अन्तर्गतको रक्षा सम्बन्धी विश्लेषण गरी आवश्यक नीतिगत् सुझाव दिने सो संस्थाले चीनले भारतमाथि आक्रमण गरेको बेला पाकिस्तानले पनि भारतमाथि दवाव बढाउने रणनीति अख्तियार गर्न सक्ने तर्फ समेत नयाँ दिल्लीका नीति निर्माताहरुलाई सचेत गराएको छ ।

साउथ चाइना सीमा भारत प्रवेश गर्न खोजेको विषयलाई लिएर विवाद उत्पन्न भएका कारण पूर्व रक्षा मन्त्री जशवन्त सिँह लगायतका केही भारतीय विद्वानहरुले चीन र भारतबीच समुद्रमा भीडन्त हुनसक्ने आशंका गरेका छन् । तर आईडिएसएले चीन-भारत लडाइँ यी दुबै देशको सीमाको भूमिका हुने आँकलन गरेको छ । 'चीनले तवाङ्ग कब्जा गर्न सक्छ । त्यस्तै, कश्मीर लडाइँको अर्को क्षेत्र हुनसक्छ' आईडिएसए भन्छ ।

परम्परागत् रुपमै विश्वासको संकटमा रहेका चीन र भारतबीच अहिलेको यो छद्म जस्तो देखिने वाक्युद्धको परिणाम के र कस्तो हुने हो, अहिले नै ठोकुवा गर्न सकिन्न । तर अहिलेको यो द्वन्द्वले भावी दिनमा हिमालयन एशियाका लागि खतरनाक स्थिति सिर्जना गर्न सक्ने संभावना चाहिँ बढाएको छ ।

गजुरेल त्रिभूवन विश्वविद्यालयमा राजनीतिशास्त्री हुन्

नयाँ पत्रिका दैनिकमा प्रकाशित, मंसीर १३, २०६८ (नोभेम्बर २९, २०११)

Nov 27, 2011

हिमालयन एशियामा चिनियाँ रणनीति र नेपाल

दीपक गजुरेल

'नेपाली भूमिमा चीन विरोधी गतिविधि भैराखेको छ र क-कसले चीनको राष्ट्रिय स्वार्थ विरुद्ध यहाँ काम गरिरहेका छन् भन्ने एक-एक विवरण हामीसँग छ । यहाँ बाहिरी शक्तिले चीन विरोधी कामहरु गराइराखेको पनि हाम्रो जानकारीमा छ ।' नेपालका लागि चिनियाँ राजदूतले हालै एउटा औपचारिक कार्यक्रममा बोल्दै नेपाल शक्ति रष्ट्रहरुको छद्म भीडन्तको अखडा बनेको स्पष्ट सन्देश दिए ।

केही समयअघि नेपाल भ्रमणमा आएका चिनियाँ कम्यूनिष्ट पार्टीका प्रभावशाली एक नेताले चिनियाँ राजदूतले भनेकै कुरा फरक शब्दमा बोलेका थिए । 'स्वतन्त्र तिब्बत' सम्बन्धी गतिविधि केही वर्षयता नेपालमा तीव्र गतिमा बढाइएको छ । चीनको सिमानासम्म पुगेर चीन विरुद्ध नारा लगाउने अवसर 'गणतान्त्रिक' नेपालका शासकहरुले दिइराखेका छन् । भन्ने बेलामा 'एक चीन नीतिप्रति हामी प्रतिवद्ध छौँ' भनिन्छ, तर व्यवहारमा स्थिति ठीक उल्टो छ । काठमाण्डौँस्थित चिनियाँ राजदूतावास र अन्य चिनियाँ निकाय अगाडि बाह्रै महिना, चौबिसै घण्टा सुरक्षाकर्मी तैनाथ गर्नुपरेको केही वर्षयता हो । यसले पनि नेपालमा दलाई लामाका मान्छेहरुलाई (तिब्बती र अन्य विदेशी मात्र होइन, भाडामा काम गर्ने नेपालीसमेत) चीन विरुद्ध काम गर्न कति सहज अवसर उपलब्ध गराइएको छ भन्ने प्रष्ट हुन्छ । 'पुरानो नेपाल' मा यसअघि कहिल्यै नभएका दृश्य-अदृश्य यी लगायत चीन विरोधी काम किन भैराखेका छन् भनेर बेइजिङ्गले बुझेको छैन भन्न मिल्दैन ।

नेपाल बाहेक, पसिफिक लगायत अन्य क्षेत्रमा समेत चीनलक्षित गतिविधि व्यापक भैराखेको बेला चिनियाँ नेता तथा पदाधिकारीहरुको नेपाल भ्रमण बाक्लिँदै गएको छ । अन्य क्षेत्रसँगै तिब्बत चीनका लागि अत्यन्तै सम्वदेनशील र चुनौतिपूर्ण अवस्थामा रहेको कुरा बेइजिङ्गका शासकहरुले बुझेका छन् । त्यसैले हिमालय दक्षिणबाट तिब्बतमा कुनै खतरा नहोस् भन्ने कुरामा चिनियाँहरु सचेत छन्

नेपालको आन्तरिक राजनीति अत्यन्तै जटिल र अन्यौलपूर्ण रहेको अहिलेको अबस्थामा चीनको तर्फवाट झन् भन्दा झन् कठोर धारणा आइराखेका छन्, नेपाल र तिब्बतका विषयलाई लिएर । आधा दशक अघि नरहेको यस्तो स्थिति किन अहिले आयो ? चीनले नेपालमा चलिरहेको सत्ता सँघर्ष र वर्तमान दक्षिण एशियाली शक्ति समीकरणलाई कसरी हेरिराखेको छ ? र नेपालको सार्वभौमसत्तासँग चीनको के-कस्तो स्वार्थ जोडिएको छ भनेर हेर्नु जरुरी छ, चीनको बढ्दो चासोलाई बुझ्न ।

यसबेला नेपालप्रति चीनको चासो अलि धेरै बढ्नुमा नेपाल राष्ट्रको भौगोलिक अवस्थिति एउटा कारण हो । यसका साथै, विगत् केही वर्षयता दक्षिण एशिया र वरपरका क्षेत्रमा विकसित रणनीतिक परिदृष्यले पनि चीनलाई हिमालपारी बढी सचेत हुँदै प्रभावकारी कदम चाल्न बाध्य पारेको हो ।

अन्तर्राष्ट्रिय शक्ति समीकरणमा चीनको बढ्दो प्रभाव, एशिया, खासगरी दक्षिण एशिया, दक्षिण पूर्व तथा सुदूर पूर्वी एशियामा चीनको शक्तिशाली उपस्थिति, चीन विरुद्ध हुन सक्ने सम्भाव्य नकारात्मक दबाव र बेइजिङ्गको प्रभाव विस्तार गर्ने रणनीतिको परिणाम हो यतिबेला नेपालप्रति चीनको बढ्दो चासो र सतर्कता ।

नेपालमा चीनको स्वार्थ, उसले चाहेको वातावरण र उसले भावी दिनमा चाल्न सक्ने कदमलाई दुई मुख्य आधारमा विश्लेषण गरिनु पर्छ । पहिलो, आत्मरक्षा: चीनको अखण्डता अक्षुण राख्दै आफ्नो रणनीतिक स्थितिलाई अझ सुदृढ पार्दै लाने, र दोश्रो, एशियाका साथै सिँगो विश्व शक्ति सँघर्षको रणभूमिमा आफ्नो प्रभाव शक्तिशाली ढँगले बढाउँदै लाने ।

आत्मरक्षाको चिनियाँ स्वार्थ
अन्तर्राष्ट्रिय शक्ति समीकरणमा चीन अहिले सम्भाव्य महाशक्तिको रुपमा माथि उठ्दैछ । पश्चिमाहरुले 'सुतेको बाघ' भन्ने गरेको चीनको शक्ति बिस्तार रोक्नु र उसलाई कमजोर पार्नु विश्वको एक मात्र महाशक्तिका लागि अनिवार्य छ, आफ्नो विश्वव्यापी प्रभूत्व कायम राख्दै अझ व्यापक पार्न ।

दलाई लामालाई उचालेर तिब्बतमा उथल-पुथल मच्चाउने र यसका लागि नेपाली भूमि समेत प्रयोग गर्ने रणनीति व्यापक पारिएको छ । सन् १९७० को दशकको मध्यतिरको खम्पा विद्रोहपछि पहिलो पटक काठमाडौँका सडकमा फ्री तिब्बतको नारा-जुलुस र 'सँघर्ष' तीव्र पारिएको छ । भिक्षुका भेषमा चीन विरोधी 'छापामार' हरुलाई तालिम दिएर नेपाली भूमिहुँदै तिब्बत छिराइँदैछ भन्ने केही नेपाली अखबारको दाबीलाई ठाडै अस्वीकार गर्न सकिने अबस्था छैन । नेपालसँगको एक हजार किलोमिटर सीमा क्षेत्रबाट चीनको अभिन्न अङ्ग तिब्बत यस अघि जस्तो अब सुरक्षित रहेन भन्ने बेइजिङ्गको विश्लेषण देखिन्छ । 'नेपाल-तिब्बत सीमामा हाम्रो सेनाको सँख्या र क्षमता वृद्धि गरिँदैछ' भन्ने जनाउ बेइजिङ्गबाट आइसकेको छ । र चीनले तिब्बतमा आफ्नो सुरक्षा स्थिति मजबुत बनाउँदै लगेको यथार्थ चीन बाहिरकाहरुले पनि भनिराखेका छन्

अरुतिरको भन्दा चीनको नेपालसँगको सीमा तुलनात्मक रुपमा तिब्बत विरुद्ध प्रयोग गर्न सहज छ, भौगोलिकका साथै कूटनीतिक तथा राजनीतिक हिसाबले । नेपाल एउटा स्वतन्त्र, अखण्ड राष्ट्र रहिरहेको खण्डमा तथा नेपालमा सशक्त शासन प्रणाली रह्यो भने नेपाली सीमाका तर्फबाट चीनलाई सुरक्षाको चिन्ता कम हुन्छ भन्ने कुरा विगत्ले स्पष्ट पारेको छ । नेपालको स्थिति सिक्किम वा भुटानको जस्तो हुन पुगेको अबस्थामा चीनलाई गाह्रो हुनेछ । त्यसैले नेपाल अखण्ड राष्ट्रका रुपमा रहनु र माठमाडौँमा सशक्त (assertive) शासक रहनु चीनका लागि आवश्यक छ । अहिलेको जस्तो अन्योलपूर्ण, अराजक तथा भद्रगोल अबस्था लामो समय रहनु चीनका लागि चिन्ताको विषय हो । सिक्किम विलयलाई चीनले अहिलेसम्म औपचारिक रुपमा मान्यता नदिनु र 'मान्यता दिइने पनि छैन' भनेर बेइजिङ्गबाट सूचित गरिएको सन्दर्भ यहाँ स्मरण गर्नु उपयुक्त होला ।

नेपाली भूमिमा बढ्दो राजनीतिक अस्थिरता तथा भारतीय र अमेरिकीको यहाँ चुलिँदो हैकमका कारण नेपालमा चीन-प्रतिकूल वातावरण बन्ने चिन्ता बेइजिङ्गलाई छ । 'चुपचाप' काम गर्ने चीन यतिबेला खुला रुपमा आउनु भनेको 'अब अति भयो' भन्ने सन्देशका रुपमा बुझ्नु उपयुक्त हुन्छ । 'नेपालको सार्वभौमसत्ता रक्षाका लागि चीनले सहयोग गर्नेछ' भन्ने चिनियाँ नेताहरुको केही समय अघि आएको अभिव्यक्तिलाई सन् १९६२ मा चेन यीले दिएको चेतावनीसँग जोडेर हेर्नु सान्दर्भिक हुन्छ ।

चेन यीको चेतावनी लगत्तै चीनले भारतमाथि आक्रमण गरेको थियो, सन् १९६२ मा । नेपालमा राजा महेन्द्रको शासनप्रति नयाँ दिल्लीले त्यसबेला अपनाएको नीति चीन-भारत युद्धपछि १८० डिग्रीमा घुमेको र त्यो झण्डै तीन दशकसम्म जारी रहेको अहिले स्मरणयोग्य छ । कोदारी राजमार्ग बनाउने सम्झौताको विरोध गर्दै नेपालमाथि भारतले लगाएको नाकाबन्दी चिनियाँ आक्रमण लगत्तै फुकुवा गरेको पनि सम्झनु मनासिव होला यतिबेला ।

नेपाली भूमि बाहेक चीनको पूर्व, दक्षिण र पश्चिम दिशामा भैराखेको विकासलाई पनि हेर्नु आवश्यक छ । साउथ चाइना सीमा बढ्दो तनाव, ताइवानको सैन्य सुदृढीकरण, भारतीय शासकहरुले दलाई लामालाई दिँदै लगेको बढी छुट, किर्गिस्तान लगायत केही पूर्वसोभियत गणराज्यमा भैराखेको चीन लक्षित अप्रत्यक्ष गतिविधि, तिब्बत लगायत पश्चिमी चीनको मुस्लिम बाहुल्य क्षेत्रमा देखिन थालेको गडबडी जस्ता विकासक्रमले चीनलाई उत्तेजित पार्दैछ ।

नेपाल बाहेक अन्यत्रका सन्दर्भमा चीनको रणनीति फरक ढंगले जाने देखिन्छ । तर नेपालमा स्थायित्वका साथै 'सशक्त', 'राष्ट्रवादी' तथा 'स्वाभिमानी' शासनको अपेक्षा चीनले गरेको छ भन्ने सन्देश बेइजिङ्गबाट आइराखेको छ, बुझ्नेका लागि । चीनको यो चाहनासँगै उसको खुला कूटनीतिक व्यबहारलाई नेपाली शासकले मात्र होइन नेपाली भूमिमा 'हैकम' देखाउने अन्यले पनि बेलैमा बुझ्नु श्रेयष्कर हुन्छ ।

प्रभूत्व बिस्तारको रणनीति
अन्तर्राष्ट्रिय शक्ति समीकरणमा प्रभावशाली शक्तिका रुपमा उदय हुँदैगरेको चीन अव प्रतिरक्षात्मक मात्र होइन आक्रामक रुपमा आफ्नो प्रभूत्व फैलाउन खोज्दैछ । साउथ चाइना सीमा भारतसमेत प्रबेश गर्न खोज्दा बेइजिङ्गबाट आएको हुँकार, अष्ट्रेलियामा अमेरिकी सेना राख्ने सम्झौताको विरोधमा चीनले अष्ट्रेलियालाई दिएको 'क्रसफायरमा पर्नसक्ने' चेतावनी, भारतले अमेरिकासँग आणविक सम्झौता गरे लगत्तै चीनले पाकिस्तानसँग गरेको सामरिक सम्झौतालाई कम महत्व दिइनु हुँदैन । यो सम्झौताको असर आगामी दिनमा दक्षिण एशियामा देखिनेछ । केही विश्लेषकहरुले 'स्ट्रिङ्ग अफ पर्ल्स' भन्ने गरेको दक्षिण एशिया र हिन्द महासागरमा चीनको गतिविधिलाई सामान्य मान्न सकिन्न, क्षेत्रीय शक्ति समीकरणको सन्दर्भमा । दोश्रो विश्व युद्ध पछिको शीत युद्धकालीन दुई ध्रुवीय शक्ति समीकरण फेरिइसकेको छ भन्ने यहाँ नेर सम्झनु आवश्यक छ, पाकिस्तान-अफगानिस्तान-भारतको सन्दर्भमा चीनको रणनीतिका दृष्टिले । त्यसैले आउँदा दिनहरु हिमालयन एशिया चीन केन्द्रित हुने निश्चित छ । र नेपालले गम्भीर तर अकल्पनीय अबस्थाको सामना गर्नुपर्ने हुन सक्छ ।

हिमालय टाइम्स दैनिकमा प्रकाशित, मंसिर ०९, २०६८ (नोभेम्बर २५, २०११)

Nov 21, 2011

Turbulence in South Asia

November 17, 2011 / Indian Defense Review

The main reason for the growing influence of fundamentalists in the Af-Pak region is the continued presence of U.S.-NATO troops in this region. The Islamists in both countries have a common aim—of throwing out Americans from this region—and hence have garnered more support. Lethal terrorist attacks in the region and the appearance of new jihadi groups in India under the patronage of Pakistan’s ISI are alarming indications of this phenomenon. The Taliban are undefeated in Afghanistan and growing in strength in Pakistan. The prospects of Americans carrying out a face-saving withdrawal from Afghanistan have further encouraged the jihadi movements, whose ultimate goal is to establish an Islamic caliphate in the entire Af-Pak region.

Hostility between India and Pakistan for over 60 years has been a fact of life. Later, Pakistan embarked on a plan to destabilise India so that the balance of powers shifts in its favour in South Asia.

The bold attacks in Kabul on American and Afghan security forces, suicide attacks in Pakistan and new terror attacks in India are a clear signal of a more powerful and vigorous jihadi movement in the region. These developments are pushing the moderate elements in the Pakistan army and the civil society on the defensive, and prospects of regional peace and developments are receding. The rapid deterioration in the relations between America and Pakistan are further adding to the turbulence in the region and jeopardising peace initiatives. It is in these circumstances that we look into various developments and growth of Islamic terrorism in the Af-Pak region and some parts of India.

Receding Prospects of Peace in South Asia
The peace process between India and Pakistan and between Afghanistan and Pakistan has slowed down as the real decision makers—the Pakistan army and the ISI—have yet to show any change in their policy of exporting terrorism. There is a warlike situation on the Afghan- Pakistan borders. There is almost a daily exchange of fire between Pakistan and Afghan forces in border areas and frequent raids across the borders.
The military brass talks of war, with the possibility of a nuclear confrontation with India. A report in the media states 25 more nuclear missiles with a range of 700–1,000 km are to be added to Pakistan’s arsenal. If Pakistan successfully achieves this target, this would be the highest addition of missiles to Pakistan’s arsenal ever in a year. The air-to-air and surface-to-air missiles would be capable of hitting a target in all major Indian cities. Pakistan has been rapidly adding to its nuclear arsenal, and according to some reports, the number of warheads it possesses has already surpassed that of France.

Pakistan has been following a dual policy of continuing a dialogue with India and Afghanistan and supporting terrorist groups.

Hostility between India and Pakistan for over 60 years has been a fact of life. Later, Pakistan embarked on a plan to destabilise India so that the balance of powers shifts in its favour in South Asia. The annexation of J&K was a pivotal part of this scheme. Despite India’s gesture of peace, the Pakistan army shows no inclination to demolish the infrastructure that supports cross-border terrorism. Infiltration across the borders continues unabated, and Pakistan is keeping its options open to mount major terrorist attacks across the borders.

Pakistan has been following a dual policy of continuing a dialogue with India and Afghanistan and supporting terrorist groups. The Pakistan army still seems to believe that pressure must be maintained on India and Afghanistan so that they do not ignore Pakistani claims in the region. Many in the Pakistan army seem convinced that terrorist assaults will ultimately become unbearable and force India and Afghanistan to accept their demands and change the status quo in the region in favour of Pakistan. If the terrorism sponsored by Pakistan is not controlled in its present form, no peace process can make progress and chaos will ultimately overtake the entire region.

Indian Mujahideen (IM)
The mujahideens in India have lately become more aggressive, and there have been nine terrorist strikes since 26/11, in Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore and Varanasi. The government believes that IM is involved in most of these attacks. The security agencies still do not seem to know what the real motives behind such attacks are and whether they are all indigenous in nature or sponsored and directed from across the borders by Pakistani terrorist groups supported by the ISI.

The series of terrorist strikes carried out by the IM and Pakistani organisations across India outside Jammu & Kashmir since the Mumbai blasts of March, 1993, show that jihadi terrorism has become a permanent threat to India.

Some attacks came after the arrest of members of the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JEM) in India, who were reported to be planning to kidnap a VIP and demand the release of Afzal Guru, a Kashmiri who was sentenced to death for his role in the attack on the Indian parliament in December 2001. An e-mail message purported to be from “Indian Mujahedeen” received by some news channels before the explosions indicated that these explosions were planned by them. The message also referred to 17 September, when according them the total number of Kashmiris killed in Jammu & Kashmir crossed 100. Many of the messages in the past have borrowed the text from some messages from Osama bin Laden.

Recently, a powerful bomb placed outside the high court in New Delhi killed at least 13 people and wounded more than 100. All we know is that it was 2 kg bomb and it left a crater 3 to 4 feet deep near the main reception counter, where passes were being issued for lawyers and visitors. This was a second attack in the same area, but so far few clues have been found to establish which organisation was actually responsible for these attacks.

The series of terrorist strikes carried out by the IM and Pakistani organisations across India outside Jammu & Kashmir since the Mumbai blasts of March, 1993, show that jihadi terrorism has become a permanent threat to India. Several bomb attacks in large Indian cities in recent years connected to the IM are said to have support from Pakistan-based militants.

Role of the Pakistan Army in Terrorism
There are a lot of stories doing rounds around the world about whether Pakistan was directly involved in hiding and maintaining Osama bin Laden in Pakistan for so many years, hoodwinking the world about its role in promoting al-Qaeda and the Taliban. Now, a new story maintains Osama was provided protection in Pakistan against huge amounts as protection money. Of course Pakistan has rubbished these reports. The report, however, seems quite feasible as both the policy and religious belief in Pakistan support jihad and terrorism against those they consider infidels. The on-going terrorism against the Americans and European countries and others like India and many African countries has proved Pakistani involvement with al-Qaeda and other domestic terrorist outfits fostered by its army and the ISI.

A report claims that the Saudis were paying money to the Pakistan army and intelligence (ISI) to keep bin Laden in a safe house in Abbottabad, a city with a high military presence and after ascertaining bin Laden’s 
presence in the town, the U.S. approached Pakistan’s military leaders for their cooperation in capturing Osama, of course, in return for cash and assured them complete secrecy about their role.

If Pakistan army is gaining millions by playing such a game, it will never give up supporting or sponsoring terrorism in neighbouring countries and keep the terrorist groups safe and well oiled.

Such reports indicate that Pakistan has been fooling the world and America completely from day one since Bush and Musharraf came to an agreement to become close allies in fighting al-Qaeda and combating jihadi terrorism. It is believed that Pakistan has gained huge amounts by playing a double game all the time and that it has been getting huge amounts from the Arab countries, al-Qaeda and other unknown sources, besides American aid. The Pakistan army is training and supporting the Taliban in Afghanistan for strategic reasons, but it also gets huge sums from jihadi groups and has a large share in the billion-dollar illegal opium trade flourishing in Afghanistan. This being the case, peace will not return to the region whether American troops stay or withdraw from here. Recent reports from China suggest that Pakistani terrorist groups are even involved in brewing trouble in Xinjiang province of China through the Gilgit region. All this indicates a huge worldwide network of terrorist groups supported and trained by Pakistani elements, and it is a money-spinning trade.

If Pakistan army is gaining millions by playing such a game, it will never give up supporting or sponsoring terrorism in neighbouring countries and keep the terrorist groups safe and well oiled. India, of course, will remain its main target, and since we neither plan to attack nor otherwise destroy Pakistani terrorist groups, so far we remain extremely vulnerable. The world has yet to find some ingenious plan to neutralise Pakistan terrorist groups; however, in these circumstances, Pakistan cannot remain stable and grows internally weak and vulnerable to subversion, terrorism and disruptive forces. No one can help Pakistan in fighting internal enemies unless the public is united in convincing the Pakistan army to give up its dangerous game.

Pakistan-U.S. Face Off

Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who led the way among senior U.S. officers in urging the administration to have a close look into the dual role of Pakistan in Afghanistan, just before retiring, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that Pakistan’s spy agency—the Inter-Services Intelligence—played a direct role in supporting insurgents who attacked the American Embassy in Kabul the previous week, killing 16 people. He also said that ISI supported the Haqqani network in planning and conducting an earlier truck bombing on a NATO outpost that killed 5 people and wounded 77 coalition troops, besides other recent attacks in Afghanistan on American troops.

The Obama administration has already suspended or cancelled $800 million in military aid to Pakistan this year, and more could follow, but this is unlikely to bring Pakistan to heel. 

It is believed that Admiral Mullen and some other top U.S. officials in the past have been repeatedly pleading with Pakistan to sever all ties with the Taliban, the Haqqani network and other extremists who are spreading violence both inside and outside Pakistani borders. According to the Pakistan army’s Web site, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani dismissed the recent statements from Admiral Mullen as “very unfortunate and not based on facts.” Pakistan’s prime minister went a step further and warned the U.S. that it “could lose an ally” if it keeps humiliating Pakistan with unsubstantiated allegations.

The U.S. administration still hopes that Pakistan will change its present stance. That, however, is unlikely even though the extremists pose a great threat to Pakistan itself. The main reason for this is that the Pakistan army considers all terrorist groups as strategic assets in the event of an Indian invasion and hence intends to nurture and support them.

The Americans have limited options open to them in these circumstances to coerce Pakistan as they need Pakistan to fight terrorism and they need direct access to the intelligence sources inside Pakistan about the al-Qaeda and Taliban forces in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. They also need Pakistani routes to deliver military supplies to its forces in Afghanistan. Although there are now alternatives available to America, they are not easily available and may make the operations in Afghanistan more risky. Americans cannot just walk away and leave their most dangerous enemy undefeated or leave Pakistani nuclear assets at the mercy of the extremist forces.

Pakistan denies the charges of official complicity in the attacks on the U.S. embassy, the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul and a 10 September truck bomb attack and refuses to take military action against the Haqqanis. However, it may go slow in attacking targets across the border into Afghanistan. 

The Obama administration has already suspended or cancelled $800 million in military aid to Pakistan this year, and more could follow, but this is unlikely to bring Pakistan to heel. In these circumstances, America has to go for Haqqani forces on its own in whatever way it can without provoking Pakistan to a major war.1

Pakistan stands accused of being a state sponsoring terrorism and faces the possible threat of sanctions and even the use of force by America, but if this really ever happens, Kayani and the other military leaders will retaliate and not take this lying down—they will turn to China and Saudi Arabia for military hardware and financial aid.

Pakistan denies the charges of official complicity in the attacks on the U.S. embassy, the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul and a 10 September truck bomb attack and refuses to take military action against the Haqqanis. However, it may go slow in attacking targets across the border into Afghanistan. It may try to bring the Haqqanis to the negotiating table if the U.S. softens its stand and gives a more favourable deal to it in Afghanistan. As the endgame in Afghanistan comes nearer, the U.S. is bound to soften its stand and expect Pakistan to cooperate, but this may not be easy after Admiral Mullen said the “Quetta Shura” and the Haqqani network were not only hurting prospects for security but also “spoiling possibilities for broader reconciliation.” He also added that Islamabad’s support for these groups “continues to jeopardize Pakistan’s opportunity to be a respected and prosperous nation with genuine regional and international influence.” This suggests that Pakistan could be kept out of the Afghanistan endgame.

Regardless of all this, Washington cannot afford to rupture relations with Pakistan at this critical juncture and Admiral Mullen himself emphasised the need to maintain good relations with Pakistan recently. “A flawed and strained engagement with Pakistan is better than disengagement,” he said.

The possibility of penalising Pakistan by other means has not been ruled out. Sanctions may not be immediately imposed, but by highlighting Pakistani complicity in the attacks on U.S. targets in Afghanistan, the U.S. has turned global opinion against the Pakistan army and the ISI and has moved closer to mounting new attacks on the Haqqani group and some other targets in Pakistan. 

The killing of Osama bin Laden and continuous U.S. drone strikes on al-Qaeda and the Taliban targets in Pakistan’s tribal lands strained U.S.-Pakistan relations greatly. 

Sanctions, or withholding of further U.S. aid, are unlikely to coax Pakistan into changing its fundamental strategic thinking. If the U.S. resorts to the use of force, Pakistan would be forced to respond. There is a fiercely anti-American mood in Pakistan, and Kayani and his top generals are a bit concerned about the growing influence of fundamentalism in the army’s middle and lower ranks. Any perceived compromise with the U.S. may trigger a near mutiny. The worse situation would be if the army splits.2 

Many observers believe that, as a result of the U.S.-Pakistan duel, India will face a heightened threat to its security because of regional turmoil. Presently, India is prepared to face the new terrorist threats, but the main threats to India arise from a military confrontation between the U.S. and Pakistan in which may get embroiled. The U.S., which for long has turned a blind eye towards Indian problems regarding the role of the ISI in planning and sponsoring terrorist attacks against India, is now no longer in a position to ignore India’s concern after finding direct involvement of the ISI with the Haqqani group in mounting attacks on American establishments and U.S. assets in Kabul, which were masterminded by the ISI. America must now accept the fact of Pakistan’s double game and reshape its policies in South Asia.

The U.S. has declared that it will do “whatever it takes” to protect its security interests in Afghanistan—hinting at unilateral strikes that may be far more damaging than the sorts that led to the killing of bin Laden. There is increasing belief in the U.S. military in aggressive “hot pursuit” of terrorists who strike in Afghanistan and disappear into the rugged frontier terrain of Pakistan. This, however, would mean U.S.-NATO forces crossing the Durand Line, which is an internationally recognised border, and will entail a risk of an escalation of violence along the Afghan-Pakistan border. Pakistan may pose a new dangerous terrorist threat to India and be ready for a far more audacious terrorist strike in India. Its calculation will be that the Indian government will be forced to respond militarily to the provocation, which will draw U.S. attention from Pakistan’s western borders and force the U.S. to pullback from the brinkmanship with Pakistan. The best course for America, therefore. may be to seek cooperation from Pakistan and avoid any military confrontation with it.3 

If the terrorists lay hands on the nuclear weapons of Pakistan, they will threaten the entire civilised world.

The killing of Osama bin Laden and continuous U.S. drone strikes on al-Qaeda and the Taliban targets in Pakistan’s tribal lands strained U.S.-Pakistan relations greatly. Of course, the continuing refusal of the Pakistan army to launch attacks on the militants of North Waziristan has made matters worse. The Pakistan army is still unable to see that its terror-based policies have boomeranged and are wrecking its own country and economy. Those monsters it raised to execute its covert agendas in India and Afghanistan have now come home to attack Pakistani establishments, and innocent people are now dying daily by blasts triggered by those who had raised it in the first place. The ISI headquarters in Rawalpindi itself, apart from some of its offices in the provinces, have been targeted lately.

The Pakistan army still wants all these terror organisations as part of its strategic assets to be employed against India, Afghanistan and the United States forces operating in the Af-Pak region. The Pakistan army and the ISI continue their game, and it is not possible to establish peace in the region unless these two instruments of Pakistani power are brought under control of a civilian government in Pakistan.

Conflicting interests and internal factions have made the civil government in Pakistan ineffective. Unless the military and the ISI change their strategy of supporting terrorist groups, the situation will not change in South Asia. The terrorist groups and its supporters have already grown stronger than the state. If the terrorists lay hands on the nuclear weapons of Pakistan, they will threaten the entire civilised world.

Notes and References

  1. Source, New York Times. .
  2. Source, .
  3. Venky Vembu. “India at Risk of Being Caught in US-Pak Crossfire.” First Post, 25 September 2011. .