Nepali Times

The Indian factor
What a shame! How and when can we Nepalis decide our own fate ('The diplomat's burden', Prashant Jha, #533)? I have not seen a single political analysis without the India factor being the prime driver in anything we want to do, from writing a constitution to taking care of our people. Yes, I agree that we have a very strong socio-economic-political relationship with our powerful neighbour. But is that the most important factor that shapes our future? Are we Nepalis so incapable? Can any political pundit tell me how we can do better ourselves in our unique geopolitical situation?


We can choose our friends, but we can't choose our neighbours.

We can't escape from the fact that India is our neighbour and we are more dependent on India than it is on us. India has more leverage with us economically, politically and culturally. We also can't ignore the reality that India has vested interests in Nepal, which can conflict with Nepal's own interests and may be related to its national security concerns, or simply its desire to prove its big power status. Nepal can't expect any better from any other country, whether China or the US.

The challenge for Nepal is to manage India's interests for its own benefit. A case in point is the Sri Lankan civil war. President Rajapaksa astutely asked India for military supplies to suppress the LTTE but when India refused for domestic political reasons (Tamil parties are in the coalition government), he turned to China. The rest, as they say, is history.

Nepal would like to do the same but unfortunately can't because of the divisive nature of Nepal's politics. India has in essence become the kingmaker as one political party or an institution turns to India to enhance its position when it is weak. The bottom line is, let us stop bitching about India, and first put our house in order.

Unmanning UNMIN
Kanak has been gentler towards UNMIN in this article particularly in raising rather a meek voice about the accountability of UNMIN ('Not missing UNMIN', Kanak Mani Dixit, #533). Obviously, had it not been for UNMIN's presence, the Maoists would probably have never agreed to put their fighters in the cantonments and the disqualified would not have been released. But it must be noted that UNMIN was invited only after the government and the Maoists decided on the peace accord. In other words, it was not UNMIN that brought the conflicting parties together and made them agree on the peace accord.

Nonetheless, UNMIN did its job and it should have left long back. But instead they invented many excuses and reasons to extend their stay in Nepal. Neither UNMIN nor the UN facilitated the strengthening of the Special Committee to take up monitoring responsibility. Clearly, strengthening the Special Committee was a suicidal game for both UNMIN and the Maoists. This non-functional Special Committee worked quite well for both of them. For the Maoists, it was an excuse to continue playing their games under cover of UNMIN. For UNMIN, it has been an excuse to stay longer at huge cost, and be part of international politics. Evidently, a longer UNMIN presence not only jeopardises the peace process, but also blindfolds Nepalis and prevents them from seeking a long-term solution independently.

The Maoists should understand that it is not only the 20,000 combatants that make up their strength. After all it was the people's votes, not the combatants, that made Prachanda the prime minister of Nepal.

Mahesh Sharma

In writing the 'Nepal Ko Sambidhan, 2046' no foreign help or expertise on such a colossal scale was involved. This time, covertly or overtly, there is much foreign hand involved in this exercise. Does this not hurt Nepali pride? It was a purely Nepali affair previously.

The Indian Constitution was drafted by Indians, and it has been said that its indigenous nature is the major reason for that constitution's success. During the drafting process, the chairpersons of all committees – Nehru, Rajendra Prasad, Ambedkar, Patel, Kripalani, etc –attended the meetings without fail and contributed to their fullest extent. Is it not a shame and a dereliction of duty towards the country and the people that our socialist comrades, who mention the people in every sentence, have such bad attendance at constitutional meetings? Why not ostracise them for such acts? 'No attendance, no vote' should be our slogan now.


I think UNMIN did a great job facilitating the peace process. It gave Nepalis a ray of hope in the path towards peace. But I have a feeling that the Maoists are taking advantage of UNMIN and has always stressed extending its term. Despite weapon registry and monitoring by UNMIN, Maoist cadres have always been able to access the weapons. The Maoists have also used UNMIN to their advantage by urging it to hold talks with parties and negotiate demands on their behalf. So it is probably the best time for UNMIN to leave, as it has already managed the key process of keeping the Maoist combatants inside the cantonments along with provision of regular stipends. Thanks to UNMIN. The key thing now is for the other parties to unite until the Maoists give up their weapons, dissolve the YCL, and return seized properties to their respective owners.


(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)