29 July - 4 August 2016 #819

Geopolitics of regime change

Editorial in Kantipur, 28 July

Government change is normal in parliamentary democracies. Nepalis have seen two dozen governments in 25 years, so they are used to it. This time, the UML’s KP Oli is out and Pushpa Kamal Dahal of the CPN (Maoist-Centre) is back in. The Indian media and Indian diplomats have been portraying this regime change in Nepal as being in India’s national interest. If true, this is unfortunate for Nepal’s sovereignty and independence.

Nepal’s leaders tend to blame India when they are brought down. Oli is no different. But it is also true that India has had a hand in just about every political change in Nepal. However, Nepalis expect politics to be free of outside interference. The fact that India suggested changes to the constitution last year which led to a blockade proves that the South Block wants a say in Nepal’s politics. Indian leaders and diplomats drop such hints often. Indian diplomats have said that India was behind Oli’s exit and it was India’s wish.

To be sure, big countries always try to influence smaller neighbours, and it is up to the smaller country to be smart. It is an insult to citizens to allow a foreign country to have a say in whether their government stays or goes. A lot of the blame goes to Nepal’s own politicians, who invite such interference. Nepal’s relations with India are age-old; they should be in a state of equilibrium, and should not affect our relations with another neighbour.

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