Jun 28, 2012

Nepal: Elephant versus Dragon

N. P. Upadhyaya Nepali

Kathmandu: With the emergence of a new Maoists party, the country’s politics is poised to embrace several such splits. Symptoms have already surfaced.

The Janjatis belonging to the Nepali Congress and the UML have already threatened that they will not settle for less than having a identity/community based federal order in Nepal.

If things go smoothly and if the mood of the leaders from the Janjati community remains as aggressive as they have become now then what is for sure is that the Nepali Congress and the UML will not be able to avert the splits that were already in the pipeline.

Needless to say, the Janjati leaders have the political acumen and the required stamina to form new parties and run the new entities in an effective manner.

If this does happen, and the strong likelihood of which remains, the NC and the UML will pay the price for their past misdeeds wherein the party top hats had ignored the very existence of the Janjati community. The parties must admit this blunder.

At yet another plane, with the expected but abrupt death of the Constituent Assembly body, the question of legitimacy of the office of the Nepal Prime Minister and that of the Nepal President too has come under intense debate and constitutional discussions.

If the Prime Minister now is a caretaker one then how come the office of the Nepali Presidency which had elected the incumbent President has itself become non-existence?

Doesn’t this mean that the office of the Nepal President too has become a defunct political institution?

By extension, some constitutional experts even challenge the very authority of the Interim constitution that is still in force?

By the way, Mr. Dina Nath Sharma, June 27, 2012, openly told Dr. Yadav that he had no constitutional authority to sack Nepal PM Bhattarai. President Yadav must have been in a tensed state.

Kamal Thapa has already declared that the decisions taken by the CA body, beginning May 28, 2008 till its sad demise stand null and void and that the nation has already reverted back to the days of the Royal regime, early 2006. 

Many political complications have cropped up with the sudden death of the legitimate but money spinning CA body, also taken as national burden.

Perhaps it is because of these complications, the caretaker Prime Minister Bhattarai upon his return to Kathmandu from Brazil told the media men point blank that “I will not resign under pressure”.

Yet he opines now that if consensus then he may resign. But when consensus and for what? Bhattarai has played a trick.

Incidents of several cardiac arrests remain high in the political paraphernalia.  Attention NORVIC and Ganga Lal hospitals.

As if this were not enough to tease the parties now in the opposition who have been demanding Bhattarai’s immediate resignation to facilitate the formation of what they call a national unity government, the caretaker Prime Minister took the opposition demand as a “childish act”.

Nepali Congress President Sushil Koirala who had already made up his mind to become the next Nepal Prime Minister after Bhattarai resigned, must have a sleepless night, June 25, 2012, when he listened to what Bhattarai said of his resignation. Another potential contender of Nepal PM post from the NC quota is yet to be discharged from the Hospital.

The entire opposition must have fallen flat listening to what Bhattarai said at the Airport upon his arrival in Kathmandu.  Prachanda too have been shocked upon listening to such an arrogant remarks. Chairman Dahal though has assured Madhav Nepal that he will take penal actions against Bhattarai if the latter did not tender his resignation.

But what if Bhattarai pounces upon Dahal? Dahal-Bhattarai possible fierce conflict already visible. But it could be a joint trick to dupe the opposition as it so happens occasionally. 

Constitutionally speaking, the Nepal President, whose post itself remains in a debatable state, has no authority or whatsoever to sack the functioning Prime Minister, claim some.

But yet if he takes steps in sacking the Prime Minister as per the encouragements being made to him by the visiting opposition parties, his own office may thus be challenged by the sacked Prime Minister. To recall, Bhattarai has already warned the President not to take any steps which could boomerang on him time permitting. Under these very constitutional complexities, the question thus is: whether or not the President dares to sack the Prime Minister? And even if he sacks the PM then how will the country’s politics proceed thereafter?  Chaos or a complete silence? 

By the way, the Nepal President must not ignore the fact that Bhattarai has returned Nepal with the required and the desired blessing from the Indian Prime Minister-the de facto ruler of Nepal. 

If the Indian blessing was there for Bhattarai then it should mean that India still counts on Bhattarai-the former JNU Graduate.  He has to pay the price of the salt that he may have consumed while being for so long in India.

Perhaps observing this visible and clear Indo-pendent leaning of caretaker Bhattarai, the Chinese Prime Minister summarily ignored to meet the Nepali PM in Brazil despite of hilarious efforts that was made by the lousy foreign ministry officials.

These speaks of so many things unspoken and thus no wonder that Beijing now prefers to enter into the “12 point champions club” and brainwash their perverted brains which gets reflected from the ongoing Beijing visit of Madhav Kumar Nepal. This could be just the beginning of the beginning.

To recall, Beijing understands though that Mr. Nepal is the one who scolded China by being in New Delhi, 2005 but yet preferred to invite him. This must have some meaning underneath. Hopefully, Mohan Baidya and his entire team may soon visit China. Sujata will be more than pleased if she is invited to Beijing. Why not to give it a try? Mr. Khanal will also rush to visit Beijing, if invited, to pay a tribute to late Chairman Mao Tse Tung.

Madhav just signed a deal in Beijing with the Chinese officials for some construction works in Lumbini.

China has begun picking up the Nepali leaders for a trip to Beijing when she has been creating mild problems for India of late in a direct and indirect manner both.

China has begun talking of Kashmir of late. Could be a design to make fun of India and keep its rival also engaged in the border issues so that she may penetrate into Nepali politics.

China has already entered Bhutan, the soft underbelly of India, by the way.

Look what a Chinese high level authority freshly said of Kashmir: “If the Kashmir dispute is not handled carefully by India, it may have negative impact on Beijing’s bilateral relations with India.

However, China had no intentions to meddle in the dispute”.

The statement was given by the Spokesman and the DG of the Information Department of Ministry of Defense, Senior Col Geng Yansheng, while talking to a select group of visiting journalists from India.

The visiting Indian media men may have trembled from within. What a befitting treatment to the honored guests?
Maintaining that Jammu and Kashmir is a disputed territory between India and Pakistan, China has also expressed the hope that the two countries will be able to resolve the issue bilaterally and peacefully.

Says Col Geng Yansheng , "Our stand is clear. Jammu and Kashmir is a disputed area between India and Pakistan. It is a sensitive issue. China is handling this sensitive issue carefully to avoid any misunderstanding.”

Delhi, hopefully will remain absorbed in understanding the inner meaning of the Chinese message on Kashmir and in the time left in between, Beijing will increase its influence in Nepal through the kind courtesy of those Nepali leaders who have been seeking Bhattarai’s summary ouster.

As if this were not enough, yet another Chinese scholar, Jia Xiudong, a Senior Fellow in Residence at the state-run China Institute of International Studies (CIIS), told the Indian journalists, June 26, 2012, that “the islands in the South China Sea and the adjacent waters fall within its "core interests" and it will not accept any "provocative action" in the sea off the China coast.

This could be a message to India because the latter too exhibited its interests in having its engagement in the South China Sea activities under US encouragement.

To recall, CIIS is of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and conducts research and analysis on a wide range of foreign policy issues, according to the official website.

Sounding a tough note, Jia said that China's "restraint" should not be taken as "a sign of weakness and acceptance of encroachment of sovereignty".

Strong warning indeed.

"China will react now, or in future, no matter what others think of China, in regard to sovereignty issues," he asserted while talking to a group of visiting Indian journalists.

This by implication means that China will instantly hit back if Tibet is destabilized from the Nepali soil.

Interestingly, China is sending this rough and tough message to Delhi through the Indian media men. Straight talks works fast.

Delhi must have got the point. But will Delhi halt teasing China?

At yet another plane, the Indo-US axis is being further mocked by China-Pakistan newly “increased” friendship.

Fresh reports have it that Western states pressured China at closed-door talks, according to Reuters, last week to address concerns about its plans to expand a nuclear power plant in Pakistan and provide more information, but were rebuffed, two diplomatic sources said on Wednesday, Reuters claimed.

To boot, Beijing's atomic relations with Islamabad have caused unease in Washington, Delhi and other capitals due to Pakistan's possession of nuclear arms technology.

But China, claim reports, showed no sign of reconsidering its position on building two more reactors at the Chashma nuclear power complex in Pakistan's Punjab region, the official and another source said, a stance Beijing also took when the issue was raised in last year's NSG talks in the Dutch city of Noordwijk, writes Reuters from Vienna dated June 27, 2012.

As its ties with the United States have suffered, Pakistan has been trying to move closer to Asian powerhouse China, which has welcomed Islamabad's overtures. A trusted friend is need. This has logic.
One more added headache for India and the US.

But this headache will soon disappear by creating problems for China from the Nepali soil.

In such a background, China’s sensitivity in Nepal will surely increase as Nepali media reports have it that “Free Tibet Movement is in full swing and is likely to increase in the immediate days”.

Things have begun moving.

Media report, for example, as carried by the Rajdhani daily dated June 26, 2012, even claims that Sudip Pathak is the main man who controls the entire anti-China activities, including Free Tibetan Movement, from the Nepali soil.

Mr. Pathak so far has not clarified his innocence as regards such a grave accusation. 

A secret report compiled by the National Investigation bureau too has claimed this thus what could be expected that the Indo-US axis is in a re-energized state whose activities will increase incredibly the day Peter Boddy, the new US Ambassador to Nepal lands Kathmandu to take up his new assignment.

His fluency in Nepali language will be an added advantage to Ambassador Peter Boddy.

All put together, India and China will surely meet in Nepal together with the US siding with India.

How China takes up this challenge with its loose lobby, if at all that exists, will have to be observed.

By the way, a Nepali national, Tamding Dorje is highly likely to be nominated as the official representative of The Dalai Lama in Nepal, claims Rajdhani daily.

China must recall and repent over the political follies she made during 2006 upheaval by siding with its arch rival-India.

Nepal’s political fluidity is sure to increase in the days ahead. The country is really in a very bad shape.  Worst is yet to come.

Welcome the Dragon and the Elephant in Nepal. 

Written on June 26, posted on June 28, 2012 with some addition: Chief ed.

Courtesy: Telegraphnepal.com

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