Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Nepal PM Prachanda: Between Fire and Frying Pan

Nepal PM Prachanda: Between Fire and Frying Pan

N.P. Upadhyaya

Kathmandu: The approaching crises are taking shape in some dark corners of Kathmandu, Beijing and in New Delhi as well.

How Nepal’s Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal tackles the approaching evils and take steps to thwarts these designs and comes out unscathed will perhaps be a test of the political acumen that he is presumed to have in his possession in abundance. But is he that competent?

But since he is a sentimental political personality and prefers to shed tears every now and then may avert some of the crises but how he counters and takes into confidence an already annoyed New Delhi and Beijing will in effect be a litmus test for Comrade Prachanda in the immediate days ahead.

Let’s begin with New Delhi first.

New Delhi by this time now has already understood up to the brim that Nepal’s avant-garde Prime Minister took the entire Indian establishment for a ride and managed a “free reside in New Delhi” for some good eight years consoling and repeatedly assuring the shelter providing regime stating that “after sidelining the Nepali Royalty, his government will submit itself to the mercy of the Indian establishment”.

New Delhi took his words for granted.

Unfortunately this was not imminent. Poor Ambassador Shyam Saran and the likes of self proclaimed Nepal experts retired army man General Mehta and S.D. Muni, to name a few, must have felt the shock and they are now advised to bear with what humiliations they might have felt finally with the Nepal outcome.

Instead, Prime Minister Dahal facilitated and even encouraged the Chinese regime, a total and complete bete noir of the Indian establishment, to infiltrate deep into the Nepali schemes to the extent that practically every week, this country is greeting and welcoming with open heart the declared and even undeclared guests from the North.

Perhaps sensing in advance that Prachanda was deviating from his admitted path and assured political course he would take upon saying good-bye to the institution of the monarchy, the Indian foreign minister Pranav Mukherjee some where early January this year tried to cut down the size of ballooned Prachanda by stating that “it was the Indian establishment which facilitated the Maoists to assume power in Nepal through the use of the 12 point agreement that was signed in New Delhi on November 22, 2005”.

Mukherjee might have concluded that his “timely” exposure of the Maoists will some how or the other force the Maoists in power to keep a comfortable distance with the Chinese regime, however, things didn’t move as expected by minister Mukherjee.

Like it or not, the Chinese have already made a place in Kathmandu politics. They will in all likelihood remain here for comparatively a longer period than expected by the opposing establishment in the South.

But the fault lay with the South in having forced Nepal and its current leaders to formally “invite” the Chinese to come to Kathmandu. Now they have already come and secured and ensured their place here and now to repent on “why it so happened” in Nepal will just be a cry in the wilderness. The damage has already been done.

Had India not pushed Nepal to the wall beginning early 1950, the Nepalese leaders, specially the Maoists, may not have accorded a warm welcome to the Chinese.

So should this mean that Indian cards have gone high and dry now?

No! The Indians have several cards under their sleeves.

Some old cards have already been “reactivated” and have come to the open by default.

For example, the one to one secret meet of the declared India men-Girija Prasad Koirala and Khadga Prasad Oli, April 19, 2009, is a strong pointer which abundantly indicates that the Indian regime has become now restive and thus active and is hell bent on “teaching a befitting lesson” to the Maoists sooner than later.

Understandably, as per the media reports, the two Indo-pendent leaders from the Congress and the UML, talked on how to get rid of this government?

While Koirala suggested Oli to move ahead with this scheme and become the next Prime Minister, on the other Oli convinced Koirala that the nation needed Koirala’s guardianship even today.

Mind it, this secret meet has taken place at a time when the UML President is on a trip to the land of late Chairman Mao Tse-Tung.

Despite the fact that such a clandestine meet may have its negative impact on the Maoists led government, yet the fact is that Oli’s hands are tied as he is in “minority” now in the party.

A clever UML President Jhal Nath Khanal out of fear of being pushed to the minority managed the travel of his party vice president Ashok Rai together with him to China. Mr. Rai though is close to Khanal but it is not that he doesn’t honor Oli. And since Mr. Rai has some sizeable UML CC members with him and thus Khanal preempted the possibility of pulling out of the government plan that could have materialized had Mr. Rai been present in Kathmandu.

Mr. Khanal is presumed to be equally close to the Chinese regime and the American administration.

Khanal has the distinction that he is closer to both China and the USA. Indeed he is a shrewd diplomat.

Be that as it may, if the meet of Oli and Koirala has some Indian political connotation then let’s presume for the time being that the Indian regime has concluded that the Maoists should pack now. Enough is enough.

The Indian regime received high voltage electric current shock when it learnt that the Chinese have pushed the draft of a new treaty to the perusal of the new Nepal regime for its positive consideration.

Had the Chinese draft treaty not been leaked, deliberate or otherwise, Nepal PM Dahal was about to sign the treaty during his sojourn to China.

Indian authorities were taken aback when they learnt that the Chinese draft too demanded the “same” treatment from Nepal regime what was demanded by the Indian establishment.

This does mean that moles from both North and South reside in Kathmandu’s foreign ministry and that too remain unnoticed?

Or else how the Chinese draft would have been similar in both content and nature?

So this was a double treachery, by all means.

To sum up, the Maoists will have hard days ahead to cope with the approaching Indian fury. The Indian foreign secretary Shiv Shanker Menon is learnt to have already designed a well structured “New Nepal policy” which enjoys the support of both the ruling Indian Congress led by the Indian Queen and the opposition-the Bharatiya Janata Party.

It would be perhaps this New Delhi policy that will fix the Maoists first and then its tenure in government.

Interestingly, that New Delhi has already prepared a new Nepal policy has come to fore les than one month of the return of the former King from his Indian sojourn. Has it some connections? Who knows the Indian designs?

Now let’s take up the Chinese considerations.

It is not that only New Delhi is angry with the Maoists but the Chinese regime, claim high placed sources, too is thinking on how to treat the Nepal Maoists government.

The regime in Beijing got an impulsive shock when it learnt that its draft treaty carefully handed over to the Nepal Prime Minister through the foreign ministry got leaked. The Chinese have had reasons to suspect the very reliability and the credibility of the Maoists top-hats who pose to be “great and compassionate” friends of the Chinese people and government.

Some sources close to the local Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu claim that the Chinese understand very well that the Maoists spent eight years out of ten of their people’s war right being in New Delhi.

“The Chinese embassy officials have informed Beijing authorities not to take the Maoists love and honor being exhibited towards the Chinese regime at its face value”, adds the same source.

This does mean, if it were a true story, that the officials in Beijing will take some more time to read and study the Maoist’s inner psyche and would in the mean time go on in search for a suitable and trusted alternative leader in Nepal to keep its place secured in Kathmandu’s politics”.

What about UML leader Mr. Khanal then?

The Chinese may think about Mr. Khanal and put him to some crucible tests prior to backing Khanal in Nepal.

Analysts say that the Chinese regime is dilly-dallying Nepal PM Dahal’s China visit for a host of reasons.

But then yet, if and when Nepal PM is in Beijing, China will leave no stone unturned in throwing a red carpet welcome to Dahal. This they will hopefully do concluding that at least Prachanda’s regime in Kathmandu curbed the anti-China activities that had become a real headache for the Chinese authorities.

In the name of keeping out the Chinese underbelly-Tibet from the easy reach of the “outsiders”, an obliged China may practically honor all the “requests” that PM Dahal has already kept in his pocket to be pushed to the perusal of the Chinese government the moment he lands in Beijing.

But this should not mean that Beijing remains fully assured and confident about the credibility of Nepal PM Dahal and his colleagues.

Definitely, China too has become attentive and is, as stated earlier, in a search for a reliable partner who could be trusted.

The Chinese wariness grew recently when Beijing learnt that Nepali Prime Minister “assured and gave words” to the Indian authorities that “I will not sign any treaty while being in China”.

While this may have assured the Indians but the same event must have sent chilling waves in the spinal cords of the Chinese authorities.

In all, domestic plus neighboring politics appear to be going against the Maoists more so against the Prime Minister who talks different to different persons.

The days ahead are rough and tough for Comrade Prachanda.

Back home, the NC and the UML’s Oli faction are already against the Maoists. If need be, and if advised by the regime in the South, some more coalition partners will presumably quit the government without even forwarding logical reasons to Comrade Prachanda. The brawl with the Nepal Army, at time of the writing of this story, is at its zenith which too may add to the distress of the already tormented and troubled Maoists. What if the Army retaliates and sided with the India backed camp that is against the Maoists? The probability though remains but the character of the Nepal army is to embrace what appears in shape. Not bad for political health of the country. (The Chief of the Army Staff, Mr. Katwal is already under the wrath of the Maoist government. Katwal is supposed to provide his clarifications today, April 21, 2009, morning, as demanded by the government. He is most likely to be sacked by today afternoon.)

Thus Prachanda is between the fire and frying pan. He has to choose in between the two equally perilous options.

Keep your fingers crossed.

source: http://telegraphnepal.com/news_det.php?news_id=52622009-04-21 14:30:26

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