Apr 4, 2013

Nepal: US excitement!

By N. P. Upadhyaya Nepali

Kathmandu: Nepal as a nation-state has reasons to be happy that her friends near and far, wish to make this country a prosperous one with an institutionalized democratic system in place.

For example, India-the traditional friend is always at the back of Nepal and has been supporting (though is being held suspect more often than not) Nepal beginning early 1950s and has tentatively assumed the guardianship of this nation which needs no further explanations. The wearer knows where the shoe pinches.

The United States of America, one of the oldest and reliable friends of Nepal, too has been extending its support to Nepal which, pleasingly (?), has taken a new dimension of late for some mysterious reasons. Yet the analysts do not suspect the US credentials. Benefit of doubt to a far flung country.

Similarly, the countries belonging to the European Union were Nepal’s declared development partners and have poured in money into this country, under this or that pretexts, like anything. A section in Nepal though is not happy with EU’s assistance for a variety of reasons. Beauty of democracy.

As of China, its ‘quiet diplomacy’ somehow or the other doesn’t allow her to extend its helping hands in Nepal for various reasons which could match with the support being provided by other nations. But formidable challenges remain in the pipeline for Beijing in the days ahead. President Carter has already taken the lead.

All in all, the countries both near and far, appear to institutionalize everything, including their own grand presence, which is what has been paining a section of Nepali leaders and academicians alike who take such more than needed love and honor as a ‘grand design’ to further strike at the foundations of Nepal and keep this country in an overly stretched chaotic state so that their respective core interests could be served. Is this a presumption only?

Definitely, each country extending its “valuable” support to this fractured nation may have their respective interests which are not unnatural.

Analysts believe that some countries may have their design to keep Nepal under their firm grip and similarly some others may have their preference to make Nepal a real football ground from where they could tease Nepal’s neighbors under any pretext that may suit to their political interests.

In sum, scores of countries from across the globe have centered their eyes on Nepal for a variety of reasons, it is widely believed.

To come to the point now.

That United States of America favors early election in Nepal got reflected on March 28, 2013, early evening when the suave US Ambassador, Peter W. Bodde, while greeting a sizeable US-Nepal exchange program alumni suddenly appealed his audience gathered at his official residence saying that “it was time for the Nepali people to go to the poll as the poll were the most essential elements for a functioning democratic system”.

In saying so Ambassador Bodde was not wrong. He spoke what he had to. However, what was surprising is that Ambassador made this fervent appeal much ahead of what should have come from, as a matter of fact, the mouth of the Election head Council-Justice Khil Raj Regmi.

Thanks that after some two days of the US statement, Justice Regmi made the same appeal to the Nepali population. Told to do so or…?

How much US cares Nepal got evident from Ambassador’s clarion call? Nevertheless, Ambassador Bodde did not talk of the constitutional procedures that had been completely ignored while elevating Justice Regmi as the election head? Analysts would have taken the US timely appeal that was made on that evening in a beaming manner had he also touched upon the trampling of the notion of ‘constitutionalism and separation of power’ theory which too, Ambassador Bodde must recognize, while elevating Justice Regmi as the country’s new election Prime Minister.

To recall, a democratic system functions only when these two basic fundamentals, the ‘constitutionalism and power separation theory’, are strictly honored. Khil Raj Regmi has two feathers in his cap even as of today.

Ambassador Bodde’s statement made on that evening must be honored but the US envoy while appealing the Nepali population to embrace the poll must not have missed to talk on the lines stated above. After all the US is the champion of democratic system.

Moreover, the manner the US envoy appeared excited, and the excitement was a real one, provided some space to some to faintly think that the US too in some way or the other was involved in giving a full shape to the new government headed by Justice Regmi or else why the excitement?

Yet analysts would give some plus point to the US envoy that he spoke in favor of the election much ahead of what should have come from Justice Regmi’s statement.

The US did its job. No qualms.

Yet something more remains to be said.

Ambassador Bodde makes an appeal to the Nepalese to participate in the poll whose dates are yet to be announced. (This he demanded from the same platform).

Just three days after US envoy’s call for election, former US President, Jimmy Carter talked to the local media men and suggested the government authorities that election in Nepal be held in November/December. Why? And why the UML leader, Jhal Nath Khanal and Maoists Chairman Prachanda too prefer the election in November/December? Other leaders will expectedly follow the suit.

Most thrilling is President Carter’s declaration that “Nepal was being pressurized by the Chinese government on issues related with the Tibetans residing in Nepal”?

Now the question come to the mind of the analysts as to whether President Carter had landed in Nepal to encourage the Nepali population to embrace the poll or had he come to Nepal to exert (undue) pressure on Nepal government to ease the presumed restrictions imposed on the Tibetan refugees stationed in Nepal?

Understandably, the Indo-US axis favors to tease Beijing from the Nepali soil. This remains no longer a secret. President Carter is now in the forefront.

The question is also as to how long the Indian regime tolerates the increasing US influence in Nepal? Sooner than later, the US will notice that India would not prefer the US grand presence in Nepal for long. For India, Nepal is its lap-dog. 

China is not that fool, let’s presume it to be so, not to have understood the impending plans of the Axis.

Though China is a back bencher in Nepali politics but should the situation so demand then Beijing, analysts predict, may emerge as a formidable force in Nepali affairs which so far has remained under the mercy of the Indian regime. China, analysts claim, has that potential.

China is beginning from scratch to make its inroads in Kathmandu’s politics. The new Chinese Ambassador is doing all he can to secure his country’s space but problems galore. How he takes steps in the days to come will apparently shape the Nepalese politics.

If one were to believe in what Dr. Shekhar Koirala said while talking to one national daily then not only India, but the US and the entire countries of the European Union have already made their grand presence in Nepali politics and that if the impending Nepal CA poll is held under their instructions then that would bring in a sort of political catastrophe.

The constitution, as and when it is drafted under alien pressure, says Dr. Koirala, may not be honored by the majority of the population.

Dr. Koirala says the friends of Nepal should limit their excitement just to the level of what he calls a “good will one”.

Interestingly, Dr. Koirala doesn’t mention the name of China. Should this then mean that he prefers the overwhelming presence of Beijing in Nepal as a political deterrent? Keep on guessing. 

Published in the Telegraph Weekly, April 3, 2013.

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