Jun 8, 2012

Going, going, gone: End of the Nepali nation?

By Maj.Gen. (Retd.)  Pradip P.B. Malla

The Nepalese nation was established with the power of khukuris and swords over two centuries ago. Today in the 21st century we are on the verge of disintegration! As a former soldier, I have witnessed the Nepalese political scene begin to be murkier after 1990 when constitutional monarchy was established. This uneasy period, especially between the Nepali Congress government of Girija Prasad and the Palace (along with the Nepalese Army) lasted much after the Royal massacre.
During the “people’s war” it was increasingly evident that the Nepal Police could not tackle the insurgency and eventually the Army had to be deployed. In the mid 90’s, when Girija Prasad was the PM, every proposal submitted to the Defense Ministry took much too long for approval; in fact these were viewed as sinister plots hatched by the palace. These recommendations included the establishment of National Security Council, the Corps concept i.e. formation of Division level command, in each of the Development regions.

The Kathmandu valley as the capital and the central region with the important communication arteries was to have another Division, a total of six divisions. These plans were gradually introduced. The tempo of increment of the strength increased after Sher B Deuba became the PM, The organizational structure and strength of 95,000 was envisioned at that period. The Nepalese Government under Girija Prasad was neither willing to provide sufficient funds to control the Maoist insurgency nor had a tangible plan. Neither the Royal Palace nor the Army was willing to be deployed” piece meal” like the Nepal Police. Lack of funds prompted the Army to resort to cannibalization. The Nepal Police received nearly twice the budget for two to three consecutive years compared to the Army.

After prolonged deliberations the Army proposed a plan called the Integrated Security and Development Plan or (ISDP). This plan was basically derived from the Briggs Plan (Malaysia) and the US Army plan called the Integrated Development and Defense Programmed (Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos up to 1975).At this juncture, resource constraints were acute and deployment of the Army as the last means required a tangible plan. ISDP was finally applied in the six mid-western and Gorkha districts. This plan encompassed development, economy, intelligence, social awareness, military operations, etc. Lack of unity of effort between various actors was the major reasons for the lack of desired success. However the climate of rapport were much improved after Sher B. Deuba became the PM, as adequate budget were allocated to the Army and other security forces.

The political scenario became more complex after 1990, as  individuals and political parties jockeyed for power or were for sale. This situation became fertile for foreign nations, specially the EU and India to blatantly interfere in the domestic politics of Nepal. Each successive government threw “caution to the winds” and national interest took the back seat. The trend of foreign interference became more pronounced after the removal of monarchy. The increasing foreign interference recently, has led to numerous letters to the editors in almost all the major national dallies, criticizing this continued undiplomatic norm.

This present political impasse must be blamed on then PM Girija Prasad who seeking greater glory then justified, awarded one demand after another to the NCP (Maoist). The biggest blunder was perhaps the CA election which was conducted with the Maoist Peoples Liberation Army and the YCL intact. This gesture was the single most criteria for the NCPU (Maoist) election victory. The outcome surprised all political pundits as well as India. It has become elementary that the Indian government was playing a double role by supporting both the Nepalese government and the Maoist during the People’s War. The Maoist leaders found safe havens and refuge in the border towns and Noida, while the PLA cadres received military training in Chakrata, near Dehra Dun. As India became aware that the Nepalese Army was replacing it’s over 35 years aging SLR guns, India became insistent to acquire its inferior INSAS rifle. After the Royal takeover both the UK and Germany refused to honour their earlier commitments to supply arms and Heckler and Koch G36 rifle, Hence INSAS became the choice by compulsion.
The evolving political trends tend to suggest that the EU was supportive of the NCP (Maoist) even during the Peoples War as it is now reported by various newspapers. As a former military officer, I wonder why both India and the EU are hell bent in dividing Nepal along communal and ethnic lines. Europe which was ravaged by incessant wars up to 1945 should be aware, that most conflicts arise from ethnicity, religion, resources divide, etc. Most security personnel of Nepal are well informed with conflicts sparked by either religion or ethnicity.  They having served in various conflict-torn areas in UN Peace Keeping Missions, such as the sectarian violence in Lebanon, Congo, former Yugoslavia, East Timor, Sudan etc, India, which has witnessed frequent communal violence, even after five decades of independence must realize that a fragmented nation on communal lines poses a great instability. An unstable Nepal will always pose a considerable threat to India.

The various foreign interests to fragment Nepal can be visualized as follows:-
a) Unstable and divided Nepal will always be beholden to India.
b) India will be assured of the Madeshi card in domestic politics of Nepal in the future.
c) Divided Nepal will be perhaps, more receptive to the Free Tibet movement.
d) Ease of proliferation of Christianity.
e) Ultimate union of Terai with India.
f) Poverty alleviation of marginalized indigenous communities. (This is nonsense only the Rautes, Chepangs mussars, tomata, Dums, etc are actually marginalized). It must be realized that the inhabitants in the Karnali Zone are the most economically and otherwise marginalized people in the whole nation.
g) To break the political hold of specially the Brahmin, Chettries and Newars.
h) To usher in a new beginning of economic development which over 50 years of planned development and massive foreign aid has miserably failed.

These are some of the reasons visualized for the continued foreign interests; there could be others more reasonable factors. The fact remains that our political leadership has totally failed to uphold the aspiration of the people. Whatever the outcome, the seed of discontent has been sown and communal harmony of yester years is now a distant dream. In the present political context the following verse would be appropriate:

“Till the hands turns to dust, it will drop the sword. We have loved enough and finally we wish to hate.”
 Finally, the leaders of the major political parties have failed the aspirations of the people. In the five odd years they were either promoting their own or the party interests. They never rose above their vested interests to champion the national interest. Perhaps new and young generation of leaders, with vision and better leadership are in the aking!   

Courtesy: People’s Review

No comments:

Post a Comment