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Time for India to rethink its foreign policy with Nepal
Lo and behold, after KP Oli became the Prime Minster of Nepal, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, the Prime Minster of Pakistan, became the first foreign visitor to Nepal, whom Oli received on 5 March this year.

Agreed that Nepal and Pakistan are both SAARC countries but what is common between them beyond that for Abbassi to visit Nepal other than China? With its economy itself in doldrums and the country neck deep in debt, in what way can Pakistan help Nepal? The only common thread between them is that one is sworn enemy of India and other is trying to project itself as an independent foreign country, away from Indian influence, under Oli. So be it, but India now must reshape its Nepal policy and not fall into the trap of appeasing Nepal.

Tarai people of Nepal, also called Madhesis, are basically of Indian origin. When in 2015, the Nepali Constituent Assembly adopted a Constitution not favouring Madhesis, despite Indian pressure on them to be even handed towards the rights of Madhesis, the stage was set for confrontation with India of hill people elite of Nepal.

After the Nepali political elite did not listen to India, Madhesis imposed a blockade on the border, crippling essential supplies. This generated a backlash in Kathmandu and the hills. However, instead of maintaining its aim of assisting Madeshis in their rightful demands, India developed cold feet and lost out on all fronts. It annoyed all communities including Madhesis. Typical blunders of the Indian bureaucracy. KP Oli and his ilk saw in this a victory and since then have been trying to prove that they can follow a policy independent of India by cozying up to China. Of course, China is ever ready to oblige.

Oli's romance with China started in 2016 when he visited China. There he signed three dozen pacts including the Transit and Transport pact. China also gave a 3 billion yuan loan to Oli for reconstruction work. While Nepal's total exports to China are 181 million dollars, its import from China is growing by 39 per cent annually. China is the second largest source of foreign tourists to Nepal. Nepal holds an observer status in Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.

What is somewhat a worrying factor is the fact that India and Nepal had appointed an Eminent Persons Group (EPG), consisting of four members each, to go into the gamut of all aspects of the 1950 Treaty between India and Nepal. It is now clear that Nepalis are going to recommend complete overhaul of this treaty. That is OK but what is bothersome is that Nepali members are insisting that there should be complete regulation of border between the two countries, as also documentation of entry and exit of each person.

It is time for India to understand and make up its mind on KP Oli's game plan. Oli wants to play a game and make both India and China competitors in wooing Nepal. India should make it clear to Nepal that it is not going to become a competitor along with China. 

If Nepal wants to sit on China's lap, it is most welcome to do so. If Nepal thinks that Pakistan will come rushing to its help, so be it! India could not care less. If Nepal wants to regulate the borders then so be it! But then, no Nepali will be allowed to work in India without a work permit. India should also disband all Nepali Gorkha regiments of the Indian Army. We have sufficient Gorkhas of Indian origin in our country. Finally, India should also make it clear to Nepal that Madhesis are of Indian origin, so India will not compromise their interests come what may! India should also stop granting loans to Nepal on subsidised rates. Every deal should be on a country to country basis.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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Bihari Shrestha
Army people must not lose their cool, just because sovereign Nepal said enough of Indian atrocities. The problem with India as the south Asian power has been that, given its own level of poverty and backwardness --after all, India still remains home to world poverty even after seven full decades of independence--India has been using negative incentives to impose its hegemony with smaller neighbours. As things stand, India has been sadistic and masochistic at the same time in its dealing with Nepal in particular; it does not mind hurting itself as long as it also hurts Nepal. India could have benefitted so very vastly by helping Nepal harness its rivers for mutual benefit. But India would rather go for atomic reactors and suffer acute shortage of water for irrigation and drinking. While India has promised many projects to Nepal over decades, its reputation is in tatters due to its sustained failure to live up to them, very much unlike China that delivers quality work and on time. For all such habitual deficiency on India's part, Brig Bajpai surely knows that nobody around the world takes India seriously. Regarding the 2015 blockade, almost all Indians, including most of its media, seem to take great pride in telling lies about it. It is unbelievable that a veteran of the rank of a brigadier would not know that the shameful and illegal 2015 blockade of Nepal came about due to sovereign Nepal promulgating its own constitution, and that the small cabal of Madhesi politicians, by their own public admission, had sat at the Raxaul border to provide the ostensible cover for India at the world stage only after two days of the onset of the blockade by India and at the repeated behest of their handlers in the South Block and the promise of sumptuous meals--breakfast, lunch and dinner--provided by a BJP element across the border in India. While the Madhesi people of Nepal, although of Indian origin, live fully integrated with rest of the people in their multiethnic motherland, it is that small cabal of first generation Indian immigrant, self-declared Bharatbadi, Madhesis who, for all practical purposes remain India's Trojan horses in Nepal and have been the trouble makers whom the Indian mischief makers have been using to create instability in their own fatherland. Brigadier Bajpai would also surely know that his own country had hosted, aided and abetted the Nepali Maoists who have the blood of 18,000 innocent people in their hands that they also share, by implication, with the conniving politicians, Babus and army people in India. Since India has lately done some population swap with Bangladesh, maybe, this should be one of the options for restoring cordiality between Nepal and India too, and exchange those Madhesi trouble makers with the Nepalese suffering in the Indian soil.
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