Nepali Times
Indian skepticism



The Maoist party's fourth round of protests targeted alleged Indian interference in Nepal
An India-Nepal conference organised by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs in Patna last week saw Maoist leaders Baburam Bhattarai and Barshaman Pun participate in the proceedings. It was a clear signal that India wanted to continue engaging with the Maoists, but the differences between the two sides persist.

India continues to be doubtful of the Maoist commitment to multiparty democracy and would like to see actual proof of their transformation into a normal non-violent political party. The recent 'national awareness' campaign has sowed further suspicions about whether the Maoists will be sensitive to India's security and commercial concerns.

The establishment believes that the Maoists must dismantle their coercive apparatus and renounce violence as the first step to any political settlement. This would entail settling the PLA question in a way whereby most combatants are absorbed into civilian life, and dismantling the paramilitary structure of the YCL. The integration issue is seen not as much as a question of numbers as that of intent. A question that is asked is: if the Maoists are indeed committed to becoming a democratic party, why do they want their people to be sent to the army?

India is skeptical of the Maoist phraseology of 'multiparty competition', and would prefer them to make a clear commitment to multiparty democracy. In this view, the issue of the democratisation of the Maoists need not be linked to power-sharing. Instead, the present 'democratic alliance' must stick together and force the Maoists to change.

India has also conveyed to the Maoists the message that that its anti-India campaign could set into motion a chain of events that would not be under anyone's control. Protests by locals in bordering Indian towns against the desecration of Indian national symbols by the Maoists were cited as proof of the hardening of Indian public opinion. India has also taken the obstruction of the Upper Karnali project by the Maoists very seriously, with officials privately warning Maoists of potential consequences.

There is a sense here that non-Maoist political parties will not be willing to take the Maoists at face value anymore. Unless the Maoists abide by their past promises, the coming months could see rising confrontation and violence.

1. Arati Budhathoki
Well, do the Indians know, or did you tell them on our behalf, that the scepticism that they hold towards the Maoists does not even compare to the one that we hold towards the Indian political establishment in general?
They might as well wax lyrical on 'special relationship' and all that. They might as well bark at the top of their lungs about their security needs. But has anyone there ever considered that their primitive SSB's hooliganism on our side of the border throws it all out of the window?
We like Indians, we would love to live in total harmony with each other. But what we cannot tolerate is that a country that makes 250 million of its own people defecate on train tracks and out in the open expecting us adjust to their newly discovered arrogance based on just 10 years of economic progress.
Start behaving like a civilised country like you once were, and we will go an extra mile to sort out all of your security concerns.

2. jange
Surely the Indians are not asking the Maoists to give up their right to use violence to achieve their means. Wasn't that the whole point of the 12 point agreement- to establish this right and to legitimise it. Where in the 12 point agreement does it say the Maoists must give up their right to use violence? Maoist violence has brought us this far and all Nepalis are enjoying the fruits of that violence. Why can violence not be used to advance a bit further?

3. Budabaaje
Indians are skeptical of Maoists, huh? Where was this skepticism when they had their 10-year long love affair with the Maoists? Where was it when India helped ink the 12-point agreement? Where was it when they supported these gun-toting guerillas to particiapte in the drama of elections? ...Only now when Indians themselves are feeling the pinch this skepticism has come about. Arati Budathoki above is absolutely correct. Most of all, Nepalis need to be skeptical of the Indian government. Nepal and Nepalis can go to hell as long as Indians get what they want. And the experience of the last few years amply proves this point. The Indian government is the biggest VILLAIN in the whole south asian region! Not only Nepalis but all south asians should always be wary, criticial and skeptical of them.

4. Arthur
Poor "democratic alliance" - must stick together when India asks them to. Must fall to bits when they can't force the Maoists to agree.

Poor India, must be frustrating having to deal with such clowns.

More straightforward for India to simply disagree with the Maoists and learn to live with that instead of trying to figure out how to make their sycophants in Nepal stick together and how to force the Maoists to agree.

5. Battisputali

@ Arthur (4) Whoever is making Indian Foreign Policy can't easily learn to live with the Maoists. It's a hard political decision when your domestic security policy is supposed to be to eradicate Maoism in your own hinterlands.

Prashant says, "India ...would like to see actual proof of their transformation into a normal non-violent political party". The Indian Maoists are supposed to hate their Nepali cousin's guts. Tansforming Maoists into a non-violent party would disassociate them more from the Indian Maoists. Thus, political pointers for congress. No?

Prashant- "India has also conveyed to the Maoists the message that that its anti-India campaign could set into motion a chain of events that would not be under anyone's control."-- Couldn't agree more. The chauvenist camapign was dangerous and recent events have shown that the Maoists in control of their party now realize this. Even from the perspective of Nepali national interest, it was absurd. There are so many Nepali nationals in India. Chauvenism here against Indians will lead to Chauvenism there against Nepalis. So many Indian companies provide jobs to Nepalis, both in Nepal and in India. The Maoist campaign was threatening to close these companies. Closings here and potential reprucussions in India would lead to more Nepali unemployment. What is more of a priority? Indian's owning shady companies in Nepal, or a lot of Nepalis loosing jobs in an already teetering economy? I say thank the heavens for the recent change in power dynamics within the Maoists and the emergence of the non-chauvenists.

@ Budabaaje (3) The 12 point agreement came at a time of the first Congress was dependent on the Indian left for political power domestically.

You are all looking at one Indian actor (the state) to understand India's Nepal policy over the last few years. You may also have to look at domestic Indian politics itself.

6. Thurpunsich
When a thief sees a burning house and says the house is burning, you folks (RT Budhathoki, Old Grandpa, and RThur) don't have to prove him wrong just cuz the guy's a thief.

Maoists' behavior is such that no measure of suspicion and skepticism is enough, within Nepal and without.

7. Sandeep Dhungana
Author is absolutely full of sympathy for India's concerns , so much bhaichara....commendable. If only the Indian media people had similar thoughts for our concerns!

8. kalu
Is Mr. Jha ji an Indian Foreign Minsitry spokersperson. He is writign as if he were the personal secretary of Rakesh Sood.

9. likpadorje
This comment has been removed by the moderator.

10. Foreigner
Its called objectivity you dimwits. What the hell does the Indian media's treatment of Nepali concerns have to do with Nepal-India relations anyway? Anyone who takes Indian media's buffoonery seriously is a buffoon themselves. Indian media doesn't make Indian foreign policy. 

Just because Jha has a Madhesi background, studied in India, and writes about Nepal-India relations doesn't mean that he sympathizes with them.We need people like Prashant to clarify India-Nepal relations especially with the amount of unchecked xenophobia in Nepal. Tell us critically what is absurd about India's foreign policy rather than rant about imagined Indian spies, stooges, and conspiracies.

11. Niel
People understand this Indian government has never been able to act against its own Maoists, how can you even expect them to take any action against Maoists in Nepal. Moreover when there was a chance to stop these Maoists, the government in India was surviving at the mercy of communists, who obviously didn't allow anything to be done.

If you look at this from a positive view point, India is following what it is following on the home turf. It is asking Maoists to abjure violence and talks and thats what it is asking Nepali Maoists to do.

No imagine a different sc

12. Chamarey
Arati Budhathoki got it so so wrong!

The number of Indians defecating openly is 700 million....!   :-)

So much for dreams to become a regional power!!! 

13. Prakash
Well, I do not understand why Nepal does not offer China to take it over? If India were not there, Nepal would have been a part of China like Tibet.

14. Raja
Hello Brothers,
     My Name is Raja, Iam From Tamil Nadu(Southern Most
Part Of India)....iam 24 yrs old..I had many of Nepali friends right from childhood.
We used to spend more time togatehr in any of our house than
separately in our houses..I dont know until read these comments
above that Nepalis hate Us(Indians) this much...I thought we share
same culture, same religion, same bond of love & respect
for elders, that i found the amount of hate very much difficult to digest...
Let me tell u guys clearly...the Congress Party which is ruling India is not even caring for india itself...Sonia Gandhi is a christian, she is giving
main posts only to Christian leaders, they along with Christian Missionaries spending lot of dollars to convert as many people to
christianity as possible...Their aim is to destroy our culture & religion....Its time we should unite..i can understand u r hurt..
but let me assure you a normal Indian dont have any hate
or ill feeling towards Nepal..Infact..We used to be proud
of honesty and braveness of Nepali Soldiers as they also belongs
to my religion...Hope we both save our Culture togathere.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)