Baburam Bhattarai would have been in Delhi for more than a day by the time this column appears, enough time for Delhi to make up its mind about whether Nepal's new prime minister fits with the kind of relationship it wants with its northern neighbor.
The thing about relationships, of course, is that they don't measure intimacy. The glass is never half-full or half-empty, and zero-sum games do not apply. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar put it best some years ago when, musing about the state of the India-Nepal relations, he said poignantly: "I don't know whether India and Nepal are friends or enemies, all I know is that when it rains heavily in Nepal, the rivers in India are flooded. We are so intimately joined that cause and effect become irrelevant."
Nitish's understanding would have helped Delhi deal with Kathmandu. Except, ever since this government began to believe that 8 per cent economic growth was a short cut to regional power status, its relationship with its neighbours have taken a back seat. Ambassadors and high commissioners accredited across the region know about the need for nations to fall in line, and the Indian political class behaves as if the bureaucracy is beholden to them.
Bhattarai's visit is an opportunity for the Indian political class to rediscover itself. For better or for worse, politicians must take the lead in envisioning intimacies across the region. South Asia is a natural unit and it has already paid heavily for the violations wrought by little men like Radcliffe and Durand. In the run-up to the 200th anniversary of the Treaty of Sugauli in 2016, the subcontinent's elected leadership must take a call on what its priorities are for the region.
On top of the agenda for India and Nepal during this visit is the removal of suspicions and hostility. Is Baburam Bhattarai a fearful member of the Marxist-Leninist club which believes that it must bring about revolution from Tirupati to Pashupati? Or is he an Indian operative?
Ever since he was swron in, Bhattarai has tried to tell people he is a Nepali first and everything else later. His symbolic use of the Made-in-Nepal Mustang jeep and the donation of the per diem given to him for his trip to the UN are firm indicators that he is someone who wants to be seen as different. He has tried to jump start the peace process by returning the keys to arms containers to the Special Committee, it was an important gesture that unfortunately has not been followed up.
Then there are the statements to the Indian media that Nepal will protect Indian investments henceforth, and in fact treat them on par with domestic investors.
Clearly, Bhattarai needs help to show he can do it. There are indications that Delhi is willing to meet him more than half-way, even though the Indian establishment is wary of getting involved in Nepal's internal political dynamics. Should Delhi very cautiously nudge the Nepali Congress into supporting Bhattarai as he very much wants, thereby imparting stability to the Maoist leader's government?
It would be a good idea. First of all, no one buys Delhi's claim that it has decided to have a hands-off policy on Nepal. Every ambassador worth his salt, including the last one, Rakesh Sood, have had very strong views on how India should deal with Nepal. To be sure, that's what ambassadors are for: to give their home country an assessment on what's happening on the ground in the country they're accredited to.
Now, Delhi has always stated, usually in the context of Pakistan, that it will engage with whoever is in power in the neighbourhood. If that is true, then it has no option but to engage with Bhattarai, irrespective of what it does to the Mohan Baidya or Prachanda faction.
Delhi must do with Nepal what it has done with Afghanistan for some time now: help it economically to resolve its political problems. Whether it is helping write Nepal's Constitution, doubling or tripling the credit line to Nepal to $250 million, or help rehabilitate the Maoist cadres who cannot be assimilated into the army are all things India can easily do.
New Delhi should use the Bhattarai visit to show that India means well, and is willing to use its economic growth to put its money where its mouth is. Let us reinvent our intimate relationship with Nepal.
I'm so envious(healthy) when India scores marks against terrorism with strong determination.The Indian Democracy is in the rank of grandee in spite of great scales of violence that the rebels in many parts of the country spread, whereas ours is a democracy where terror prevails ultimately and without memory .The question is: what can we do? The answer is: nothing, because the Maoists have become the masters of our lives.
Even if we accept the very well known assumption that Bhattarai's India visit will reach the same useless range of political activeness, at worst only the presence of Bhattarai as a PM of Nepal in India has the effect of invalidating everything we had as a peace loving country. His biography as a Prime-Minister is a direct insult to the victims of war. Huge dose of hypocrisy has not been enough to present him as a statesman, for his active terrorist past which is indelible. How does India value him as a PM of a country who(and his party) has yet to renounce weapons and violence?
No matter Bhattarai is there with his mantra as a political architecture, he even does not hold the authority in his own party which he enjoyed, having been for years one of the three men who instructed Maoists' terrorist actions through out the country. India herself declared them as terrorists and U.S. still does in spite of the vigency of peace pact. Actually, Bhattarai earned his personal and political advantage and now this hospitality in Indian territory, not because of his PhD in JNU, but precisely because of that bloody link of Maoists' terrorism.
Again, in front of the Maoists' guns the terminology of dialogue and Peace process deceptively resembles a mantra, a repeated mode that enlightens us to the truth. In reality, what is more important is not the new constitution, the federal structure or the possible institutional framework but If they can participate in the polls and that without weapons and numerous barracks of militants. Many alternatives under the rule of law could be considered and tested but not when the Maoists are still advocating the use of violence in name of social justice and that Mr. Bhattarai as well as India are well aware of this, aren't they?
Nepali newspapers have been choreographed by the illusion of Bhattarai's political architecture. The man is again repeating the same rhetoric of Peace and dialogue and now as a political architecture like a soloist in the choir, who once oficiated the terror between Nepali poor people. So it is understandable that a man of quality and a supporter of Gandhi, Mr Manmohan Singh does not come to welcome him in person or prepare a pompous ceremonies and instead the main Indian leaders prefer to see him from the back door of New Delhi. Indian communists may have wanted to hide those bloodiest times of the Maoists party positively in front of Indian political class, as they were the ones who sheltered Bhattarai and company so that he could operate from Noida and spread terror in whole Nepal. There has been little greatness in the Mecca of Nepali polítics in favor of Bhattarai with the confusion and suspicion prevailed which always favored the Maoists' terrorist strategy.
No matter the script of the Peace process has been already written in New Delhi, its pre-established outcome is something that time could tell us how it'd be. The timing of Bhattarai's visit corresponds to the desire to generate a pressure element in Nepal to conclude the Peace process during his tenure. Quite possibly we are in front of the case of the conclusion of Peace process, but it is evident that the Maoists are not here as a political party of Peace ( seen from current perspective) but to reinforce the interests of terrorism within and outside the country, well the brotherhood of blood between Indian Naxalites and Nepali Maoists affirms the above presumption more concretly.
Last but not the least, what Bhattarai and company knows from their personal experiences is that how terrorism can become an advantageous policy when defeat of terrorists is not possible coming war with poor rule of law.
21 OCT 2011 | 1:07 PM NST
2. who cares " Nepal's new prime minister fits with the kind of relationship it wants with its northern neighbor."
if he does not fit then what???
"Except, ever since this government began to believe that 8 per cent economic growth was a short cut to regional power status, its relationship with its neighbours have taken a back seat."
no i dont think so. i think india used to be worst.
"Radcliffe and Durand"
who the hell are they?
"Or is he an Indian operative?"
"Should Delhi very cautiously nudge the Nepali Congress into supporting Bhattarai as he very much wants, thereby imparting stability to the Maoist leader's government?"
what the hell!
"doubling or tripling the credit line to Nepal to $250 million,"
some body convert the free water, looted water india is getting from nepal into hard cash.
in south asia, even probably in the world, i think nepal is the one country which can influence india the most cause 100s of millions indian lives are dependent directly on the water they get from nepal, unless indian govt has no respect for the lives of poor indians.
i am not talking about blackmailing, all i want is fair deal and dignity, peaceful existence.
21 OCT 2011 | 1:59 PM NST
Or is he an Indian operative?
Do you still have doubts about this? And you call yourself a journalist?
21 OCT 2011 | 4:47 PM NST
4. MAHESH THAPA
Indians leaders in Delhi. Take a step back and look at the neighborhood. INDIA in all reality has the wrost relations with - Pakistan, Bangaladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal. It has always bullied all these nations and stole from them as well. All I can say is times are a changing - meaning India better start to change the way it does business. Indian leaders have no credibility- they are liars and looters. If India wants to live in peace, then let India leave their neighbors alone and not create turmoil. What a farce, the Indians created the Maoist, then when Maoist came to power, they became anti India and now the Indians are wooing and bribing the Maoist so China can be kept at distance. The sad thing is Nepal has no leaders that can look India in the eye... all Nepali leaders are in the pocket of India. So until we have real Nepali in charge, this is how India will play this game. Nepal needs a game changer.
6. R in Silgadhi, Doti
I would recommend all the above commentors to consider this:
(They fail to understand that) ....change is an idea, and ideas are never permanent: they evolve, they are subjective and self-reflective. Ideas are not prisoners of doctrine. (from Key Questions, By the Way, Nepali Times #23- 29 sept)
Reading your comments makes me think that you, more than the PM or Indian politicians are "stuck" in your doctrines, thoughts and "conspiracy theories" . Come on! Things are changing; the Maoists are, the Indians are, the world is!
There will be no consensus, no peace and no moving forward if not ALL parts/sides are prepared to change their stance and give up SOME of their demands.
22 OCT 2011 | 11:39 AM NST
7. Unwanted Shree
Two important news during these few days.A visit of Mr.Bhattarai to Delhi and the news about Lumbini Development project and Mr.Dahal as Chairman of this project.How to keep neighbours happy?Here is the answer. Lumbini for China with Mr.Dahal and his sponsors of previous clan behind Dahal and Mr.Bhattarai signing deals with India,to get the ball rolling.What did these two politicians sell out ?They have understood one issue ,there can not be a communist government in Nepal. So Chinese way of it is accepted as a part of the development for the country ,in exchange for the Lumbini .It's letting two influentual forces in real Nepal coexist, Mr.Dahal's and his clan behind and Mr.Bhattarai and the rest of elite of Kathmandu behind ,as no one can deny,if these forces are not given outlet,there is not gone be change ,for better or worse in any way.The question of integration of PLA seems to depend from India,the question of Constitution seems to depend from India ,nothing depends from what we as Nepalis can do.Unbelievable, but true. While the press is letting us read the bits and pieces of the articles,the real deals and politics are behind the curtains.Let's just look into the world press and think of the movement and actions many governments are taking.Let's start with G20 ,the governments involved at this stage ,at the government hosting it ,at the offer of Chinese government,at the persons involved and their CV compromised and reabilitated in the name of image. Let's look from the home window.PM Bhattarai sacks two Ministers,Mrs.Tiwari keeping quiet,afraid of consequnces and choosing to compromise for the sake of her children.Mrs.Koirala getting involved in the discussions on Lumbini.The announcement of one Brand of Cashmere and Pashmina products,the supply of raw materials available in Mustand,the increase of exports to countries such as France etc.and Chinese government waiting for an official visit from Mr.Bhattarai and his presence at the official meetings. Do you see how the tread is woven.Do you see the spider web? Mr.Bhattarai's visit to India,is for cash only, plus giving India at this time a 10 year gap to prove that Mr.Bhattarai is serious otherwise there wouldn't be cash.Let's remember what does a credit means plus 10 years is a sufficient time period either to get rich and still be safe to move one's assets out of the country such as Nepal as there are no guarantee for anything ,no quality,no change of minds.Let's not forget, Nepal will always be just a plaform for the neighbours to pump out as much as one wants.For China it is interest in Lumbini for the sake of principle as you know the history,for Nepalis involved it is chance of doing bizness ,plus recognition of today's bizness and China's influence in the world's bizness and therefore taking side of Lumbinis project by the clan and Dahal as the frontier,even though the project was started by Japanese,but then Japan needs help at this point as well due to the tragedies that had accured in recent months and IMF is ready to sponsor to keep Japan afloat in Asia ,which is correct in my opinion as Japan is one of the countries who has got what it takes,will power,brain,integrity despite that fact that there ar bigger in size neighbours,however these neighbours are only concern about their bizness and taking the advantage of the difficulties in the world as gap of opportunity to move ahead.The reality,we are being presented with the articles by the press that doesn't or is forbidden to look ahead,as whoever has the wand knows how mentality of people in Nepal work and it is used very succesfully by those who are at the leadership now in Nepal,China,India ,and the Master Plan requested by Mr.Bhattarai is presented and you can see how it works just by reading world press. As for Nepal,it is like Mr.Bhattarai has written in his private notes,to keep both sides happy,NC,clan,the bigger picture,PLA soldiers are being untouchable as per wish of India,so Mr.Baidhaya no need to worry,as he was not informed due to his age and the inability to quickly adopt to change in starategy of Maoist Party plans.So let's be realistic,who is interested in how is the real situation in the country?Only Nepalis themselves and it is right to accept the responsibility,as knowing the situation around the world,it is people of Nepal who can help themselves the only question is ,what leaders like Mr.Bhattarai are selling out and waht Mr.Dahal has sold out?Ten years are given by India ,we don't know yet anything about Lumbini project except Chinese are very much interested .Is that gone keep the balance?India needs water,China needs Lumbini and in the middle are Nepali biznessman and elite who wants to secure the future with Mr.Bhattarai ,Mr.Dahal as the two fishes for the bigger kind of fishes to do the job ,as we can see the results of their destruction ,so let's assume that by following their Master Plan Nepal won't be poorer as what are the bigger consequences from sharing Nepal with neighbours is not hard to predict.
Thank you Mr.K.Dixit for making the article New Nepal to New Dehli accessable.
22 OCT 2011 | 4:16 PM NST
So, what has Baburam Bhattarai got during his India visit?
....to such a degree that he is at the point of taking out a loan (I don't mean the soft loan which he can spend on his karyakarta and party's welfare in name of development) and paying the huge interest because he is not able to see any other way. Baburam you belong to a country where 75% of laboral days are wasted on hadtaals and bandas, be realistic, it has nothing to do with risk taking attitude. I remember a kind of "joke", Which is used when rebuking children who are asking for too much or who are asking impolitely.
Child: Mummy, Mummy, I want some sweets. Mother: Shh, you have already had plenty of sweets today. Child: But I want some sweets! Mother:I want and I don't get them.
Child: I want to go to the circus. Mother: I want and I can't. Remember to say please. Child: Please may I go to the circus? Mother: That's better.
Moral lesson: The more you ask, the less inclined I am to give it to you.
22 OCT 2011 | 12:27 AM NST
The author would do well to look up the word "extraterritoriality" and see it in the context of the BIPPA agreement just signed by Baburam.
And then tell us if she still has any doubts as to whether Baburam is an Indian stooge.
24 OCT 2011 | 8:56 AM NST
10. who cares
what are the clauses included in bippa?
what ever there is, it is an irony that it is signed by bhatterai, maoist?
i agree that investors including foreign should be given protection.
at least i know is, there is a clause that says that the investors from both country will be treated equal? i again want to repeat the same question, why did maoist kill 17000 nepalese?
if we read past articles, interviews, speeches from bhatterai, he could be the record holder in making such views that opposes foreign investments especially indian one, and even he could be the person who taught his followers regarding opposing foreign investment.
and still he is the person who goes to india to sign the agreement.
could it be possible that he sign such deal so that india could control nepal's business? there are, in news that, damages could cover the risk risen from war, natural disaster etc.
nepal has to pay nepalese investors if they loose their investment due to such risk and the damages to be paid could be high. but if we have to pay indians too then govt. wont be able to pay to anyone. so then after war, only indians will have money to invest in nepal.
by the way, do such kind of international agreements really cover the risk from war, natural disaster, load shedding?
i think that is not right. cause its investors, managers who have to consider such risk while investing, operating business. it not the job of the govt. and again during such event, to protect national interest govt. has to protect national investors, and since during those time, govt., state's economy stretches then how could such govt. pay to foreign investors?
i thing govt. should only guarantee to cover the risk created by human, not disasters imposed by nature? insurance should cover natural disaster and in the case of war, even insurance may not cover so how could some govt. guarantee such risk?
it is suspicious that bhatterai still has not disclosed the exact terms of the deal.
i repeat, govt. should pay for the damages to all investors that arises due to the attack from anarchist, change of political policy etc but for the risk from war, natural disaster etc.
24 OCT 2011 | 1:18 PM NST
11. who cares
it is amazing that the party, the bhatterai who always opposed foreign investment, treating indians equally are the one behind the bippa deal.
they are giving such treatment to indians even before providing such guarantee to nepalese. are we second class citizen in nepal after indian?
the best thing about this deal is, now nepalese investors can also demand govt.'s guarantee, at least what indian will be getting.
24 OCT 2011 | 1:23 PM NST
It is really fun watching all the mandaales shouting that Bhattarai is an Indian agent - together with the "hardliner" Maoists.
25 OCT 2011 | 7:09 AM NST
13. who cares
who drafted this agreement? some hyper educated or some under educated did.
why the language used in laws, agreement are always complex? do they use such language so that it would create conflict which gives them opportunity to loot.
does this agreement give equal right to indian investor to invest in nepal as to nepalese investors? does this mean only nepalese investors can not compete with each other to win hydro project or any other business?
if this is the case, this agreement should not be passed by the house with proper revision.
to create balance, nepal may have to invite hydro investors from only those countries who already have not won more than 10000 MW? will this agreement block such policy?
if above mentioned clause is there in the agreement, then i am gonna have to say "bhatterai sold us".
25 OCT 2011 | 4:57 PM NST
14. who cares
there are some advantages nepalese investors get over foreign like- nepalese hydro promoters have to hand over hydro project to nepal govt. after 35 yr where as foreigners have to hand over in 30 yr?
will this bippa agreement end this special treatment? if all these points are there in the bippa then non indians wont be able to compete in nepal.
25 OCT 2011 | 5:08 PM NST
Interesting to see how internal party differences are created and brought to public attention via the media every time these same parties come to governing the nation. The Maoists are no exception, publically showing their inter party diferences and behaving in the same foolish manner like all the others. Once militant revolutionaries now political, caniving and lusting for power cronies.
Bhattari's group is emerging and fissuring from the Maoist militant group publically, which is good for the nation. Because as he exposes and defeats his opponents, the militant faction of his beloved Maoists, in his lust for power then the people will start to rise without fear anymore and then ultimately stop him. The true rise of democracy, elections and freedom of speech without fear and intimidation.
So I am banking on Bhattari to silence his militant colleagues, so eventually true democracy will appear around the corner which will ultimately throw him and his crazy Maoist ideology down the toilet.
25 OCT 2011 | 9:30 PM NST
Baburam,s return to Delhi will only be meaningful and serve the purpose if it turn out to be "the Return of the Prodigal Son". Will he be a turn coat? Will Prachanda compete with him on that race? How about the fate of "the Gang of Five".? The Gang of Five will not change. When will they meet the fate of "the Gang of Four"? Nepal has surpassed China in this respect ;they had 4 ,we have 5.