By Deepak Gajurel
Assistant Professor, Tribhuvan University, Nepal
TQ1: So how have you been analyzing the new trend being observed in Nepali politics of late?
Gajurel: Nepali politics has a very gloomy picture. There will be no ‘Sahamati’ among these ‘Loktantrik Ganatantrabadi’ politicians. The political imbroglio of the last seven years clearly shows that Nepal is going to be ruled by 'Gun' which will precede a devastation, in terms of human lives and national property, dwarfing the 10-year long killings and destruction of nation's property. And I don’t think that 'Gun' is going to be of the Maoists.
TQ2: As a student of political science, do you think that political theories that guide a country’s politics are being observed in Nepal?
Gajurel: In a single word, no Political theories, democratic norms being observed elsewhere in a civilized society have been made a complete mess and mockery in Nepal that too is done in the name of ‘Democracy.’ What a pity!
TQ3: You often claim that Nepal will soon become a play ground of the foreign powers. But how will they poke their nose in Nepali affairs and make their presence felt in Nepal?
Gajurel: That major powers are poking their noses in Nepal’s affairs are evident in the everyday speech made by the politicians themselves. One should understand that external forces are not here for Nepal’s interests; rather they serve their own interests through overt or covert means. A high level foreign official working in Nepal had publicly said that Nepal is going to have an 11-member cabinet of independent persons. And lo! Nepal got exactly that in around one month of that ‘prediction.’ Don’t you understand what does this mean? Is there any need for details of modus-operandi?
TQ4: More often than not you write stories which tentatively indicate that a fresh India-China war was round the corner. What is the premise of such an assessment?
Gajurel: There are clear indications, in more than one form, that large scale conflict, one sort or another is brewing up in the Himalayan Asia region, the region covering South Asia and China.
Recent developments in Af-Pak area, Nepal’s continued political entanglement, intensified Tibetan assertiveness in Nepali and Indian soils, growing tensions in South China Sea, major US military shift in Asia-Pacific from the Atlantic, and grooming, but still in the fetus stage, tensions in the Indian Ocean, are some of the indicators, if one can read between the lines, of a fresh conflict. That’s it.
TQ5: New Chinese President and Prime Minister have said that China will accord top priority to her relations with Nepal. What do all these statements indicate? Is China ready to face any challenges to its soil from Nepali landmass?
Gajurel: From the realist approach, I see this as an indication of China’s realization of Beijing’s past misapprehension in handling Nepal policy. To be specific, China mishandled the 2006 political change in Nepal, which has resulted into heightened anti-China drifts in and from the Nepali soil.
Yes, China now seems ready to take any challenge from Nepali soil. And this is what I fear a situation of ‘hot-spot’ for Nepal, where all major world powers would clash for their respective antagonistic interests. The net result: Nepal will become a helpless sick man fractured by more than one blows.
TQ6: President Jimmy carter apparently instructed Nepal government to ease restrictions on Tibetan refugees. Why the US authority in Nepal talked of China? Three countries got involved. What say you of Carter’s statement?
Gajurel: This is a clear signal of Nepal becoming a hot-spot for international power struggle. Washington’s strategy is to weaken its potential rival Beijing, by overt or covert means. As you know, covert measures work better than the other way round.
TQ7: You have written very freshly that the Maoists and the then SPA inking the 12 point agreement would bring in about a sort of political disaster in Nepal? Will the disaster be a home grown or alien manufactured?
Gajurel: As a student of International Relations with special focus/study in realpolitik and power equation, I have been, since the signing of 12-Point Delhi Agreement between the Maoists and SPA, projecting so far correctly, that this course would take Nepal to disaster for sure. .
On record, in the media, print as well as in electronic medium(s), I had pointedly projected that CA would not promulgate any constitution, which turned out to be true. One week prior to the last CA elections, I had projected that the Maoists would gain by and large simple majority seats in the CA, which came true, notwithstanding some 14 to 20 seats projections, to Maoists, by various opinion polls at that time.
Your questions speak themselves. SPA and Maoists were brought into partnership by Delhi, despite open opposition from Washington and concealed disagreement from Beijing. Remember then US Ambassador’s statement immediately after 12-point agreement? Was James F. Moriarty an independent single person or was he speaking as envoy of the lone Super Power, when he said, ‘This (Delhi agreement) will take Nepal nowhere?’
TQ8: The US has ignored its long time ally - Pakistan and embraced the Indian regime which have had signed a peace and security treaty with the then USSR. Why the US may have chosen to sideline its longtime friend? Will not this push Pakistan closer to China under compulsion? Or what?
Gajurel: You have correctly projected. However, we have to remember that Pakistan was Beijing’s long time strategic partner, despite US’s continued military and other supports of various types of regimes in Islamabad.
After the demise of the Soviet Union and the end of Cold War, Beijing has been pushing strategic moves into the Indian Ocean, in general, often portrayed as String of Pearls’ by some analysts and in Af-Pak area in particular.
Here I take note of a Chinese South Asia expert speaking to an international TV broadcast, three years back, had said, ‘Pakistan is our Israel.’ This in itself gives a clear picture of what Himalayan Asia is going to realize in the days to come; only one has to understand the things in its entirety.
TQ9: You are taken as an expert on Asia-Pacific region. How are the things there at the moment? Will China succeed to distance US from that very area?
Gajurel: Currently, the obvious tension is in the Korean Peninsula. Nevertheless, we have to look at the broader picture to understand the things brewing up in the Asia-Pacific region.
The United States has been, since the end of the World War II, concentrating its major military projection into the Atlantic. This was in pursuance of two aspects, first, obliterating any recurrence of West European conflicts, and second, containing the Soviet Union from entering into West Europe.
Now the things have changed with the end of Cold War and Washington does see little importance of its presence in the Atlantic, in military terms. New arena for the United States is the Asia-Pacific, as mentioned, in an article in Foreign Affairs in 2010, by then US Secretary of States, Hillary Clinton. By declaring itself ‘a Pacific power,’ US has already decided to shift sixty percent of its military power into the Pacific, which obviously will reduce the US strength in Atlantic, which played the important role of protecting Europe for more than half a century.
This could have grave consequences, first, a new cold war would erupt in the Asia-Pacific region, second, Western Europe will be left on its own, and endangering it engulfing again into European conflicts, as pre-World War II situation, third, Russia would seek to fill the vacuum by penetrating into European affairs. Some indications already have surfaced on the rift in the EU.
No matter what situation would come up in the Asia-Pacific and Europe, this will have serious implications for China and the countries of South Asia. China evidently has to take the new challenges coming from the Asia-Pacific, which is not going to be easy to handle, or discard off.
TQ10: We have heard of the existence of Indo-US Axis. What political impact may this Axis have in this part of the world-Himalayan Asia, as you have coined, and also tell us as to what are the inner designs of this Axis?
Gajurel: I don’t see any Indo-US Axis, in terms of power rivalry or power alignment. Of course, Washington has been working for eliminating any potential rival, anywhere in the globe. US nuclear agreements with India, signed in 2008, might have long-term impacts in terms of regional power equations and rivalry, such as, possible Indo-Pak and/or Sino-India conflicts.
TQ11: You claim that soon Nepal will be ruled by Gun. It will be India made or donated by the Super Power? Or will it be that the US will supply guns and Kathmandu will have those Guns imported from India? But who will take the lead? Which revolutionary party will come to the front with Guns to kill their own people?
Gajurel: You call ‘revolution’ or ‘Loktantra’ when you kill thousands of people and destroy billions of rupees worth of national property. It makes no difference where you buy guns from. In the foreseeable future, I don’t see any political stability or ‘Loktantrik Ganatantra’ institutionalized in Nepal.
The seven-year long alliances between SPA and the Maoists have so far been proved unnatural and unworkable, whether they themselves accept this or not. Everyone wants to subvert the other, by hook or by crook. This obviously will lead the nation to a chaos, against all democratic norms. This is evident in 11-point agreement among 4 parties and 25-point declaration by the President that amended the Interim Constitution. What you expect when a few people possess the authority even to amend the fundamental laws of the land?
TQ12: You have also predicted recently that parliamentary parties like the Nepali Congress and the UML will eventually vanish. But why and how? Which force will gulp these two parliamentary parties?
Gajurel: The picture is transparent. You have no constitution, as one sees in view of a democratic society. The judiciary has been brought under the command of the whim of a person, politics has been criminalized and crime politicized.
Maoists have achieved what they have been seeking for long. NC, UML, some Madhesis and former Panches (read RPP and RJP) are towing the path what and where Maoist supremo wants. Currently, Nepal does not have legislature, judiciary has been brought under Prachand’s will, as this communist party has been trying in the Constituent Assembly. Now, where is the place for NC and UML and so forth? Where is their ‘Loktantra?’
TQ13: Chairman Dahal is in China trip. Why the Chinese central leadership may have invited him knowing that his political credentials are not that strong. Is it that China wants something to get it done through the assistance of Chairman Prachanda?
Gajurel: As you know, Dahal has become the pivot of Nepali politics, for; this nation runs at his will. Beijing cannot be expected to be unaware of this. So, Beijing leadership will certainly try their cards. However, we have to wait and see for the outcome.
Exclusive for telegraphnepal.com
Published in The Telegraph Weekly April 17, 2013.