FB   
 
Powered bysps
        Society for Policy Studies
 
 

 
Next door Nepal: Searching for scapegoats
Posted:Jul 23, 2017
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 
By Yubaraj Ghimire
 
With ITs domestic politics in disarray, the key actors in Nepal’s polity now seem to hold outsiders guilty for everything that is going wrong. Nepal’s journey towards a radical political agenda — denying traditional forces and institutions any space — and the simultaneous peace process that first brought the Maoist insurgents to the mainstream 11 years ago had these “outsiders” as trusted partners and catalysts. The twin processes relied on them. Both the local actors — the half dozen top leaders of as many parties — and the key foreign diplomats of democratic countries as well as the UN would decide the agenda from their respective fora and have them ratified in parliament without debate and due process. Now, while the international actors cannot speak out publicly, the local actors feel they were misguided all these years.
 
 
The rift between the two sides is quite visible now. Last week, the foreign ministry shot-down a visit of Jeffrey D. Feltman, UN Under Secretary General in-charge of political affairs, that was to start from July 22. He was advised to visit on a mutually agreeable date after the constitutionally mandated elections are over in January. This would have been Feltman’s third visit in as many years, and the first after the couple of remaining UN field offices outside the capital were shut down because the government suspected them of aiding and abetting “secessionist activities” in Nepal’s plains area.
 
 
The Maoists, former insurgents and currently in the government, are particularly upset with the UN. The latter mediated in the peace process but did not push the general amnesty clause in the transitional justice mechanism. This enhanced the chances of Maoist leaders being tried and punished for human rights violations during the decade-long conflict. Incidentally, it was Maoist leader K.B. Mahara, now the country’s foreign minister, who deferred Feltman’s visit.
 
 
That is not an isolated act on the part of the government against the distant “outsiders”. It is tightening the screws on I-NGOs. There has been a selective approach to the renewal of the I-NGOs licenses as some of them are suspected of supporting religious conversion and the politics of ethnic and region-based identity. The government’s move against these donors follows the near total rout of forces pursuing identity politics in the recently held local bodies elections. According to the international economic cooperation coordination division under the finance ministry, Rs 23 billion was spent by 74 I-NGOs in 22 Tarai districts during the recently concluded financial year, not so much on construction of physical infrastructure, but in the name of creating awareness on political rights and religious conversion.
 
 
How firm can the government be while dealing with rich and powerful “outsiders”, especially when local political actors are more divided than ever and their credibility stands diminished? Only courageous introspection, a politics of reconciliation and course correction — especially over the monarchy vs republic and federalism vs effective power devolution issues — will make all forces — traditionalists , democrats and radicals — the joint owners of the new political agenda.
 
 
Instead of reading the public mood and frustration, the local actors that have monopolised power are only targeting and blaming the distant foreigners. They, however, seem to realise that the confidence and support of two powerful neighbours — India and China — although in confrontational mood at present, will be crucial along with effective local initiative.
 
 
Both India and Nepal are in talks about high-level bilateral visits, including by the prime ministers of both countries. Nepal Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba may visit India towards the end of August. Narendra Modi is looking for an opportune moment for his third visit to Nepal as India’s PM, ostensibly to lay the foundation of a major hydroproject, an Indian undertaking. However, the visit will be mainly aimed at neutralising the anti-India sentiment triggered by India’s excessive involvement in Nepal and the post-earthquake economic blockade. The high-level exchange with China continues and Nepal is desperately trying to reschedule President Xi Jinping’s visit that was cancelled in October 2016.
 
 
While India seems to favour a pro-democracy approach in Nepal, China has been asserting a pro-sovereignty approach asserting the peoples right to chart out the political course best suited to them. Nepal’s future if stability lies in blending these approaches and seeking the endorsement of its two big neighbours.
 
 
 
 
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 

Disclaimer: South Asia Monitor does not accept responsibility for the views or ideology expressed in any article, signed or unsigned, which appears on its site. What it does accept is responsibility for giving it a chance to appear and enter the public discourse.
Comments (Total Comments 0) Post Comments Post Comment
Review
 
 
 
 
spotlight image Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo has confirmed his presence for the occasion. In an exclusive interview with INDIA REVIEW & ANALYSIS, Indonesia’s Ambassador to India, Sidharto R.Suryodipuro, reminded Nilova Roy Chaudhury that the first Chief Guest for India’s Republic Day celebrations, in 1950, w
 
read-more
The words of Ho Chi Minh  “Nothing is more precious than independence and liberty” rang true for the people of the erstwhile East Pakistan when, with increasing brutality, the West Pakistani oppression spread across the land, writes Anwar A Khan from Dhaka
 
read-more
In a significant boost to New Delhi's Act East Policy, India and Japan set up the Act East Forum on Tuesday as agreed during Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit to India this year for the annual bilateral meeting that would help to focus and catalyse development in India's Northeast.
 
read-more
  United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson reiterated on Friday Washington's warning that “all options are on the table” to meet North Korea's nuclear threat while offering to keep the lines of communication with Pyongyang open.
 
read-more
The 15th trilateral meeting of the foreign ministers of Russia, India and China concluded in New Delhi on Monday with many nuanced takeaways embedded in the joint statement of 46 paragraphs. Reiterating that the forum “is not directed against any other country”, the statement underlined the importance of the establishment o
 
read-more
The first thing that one sees when a flight approaches New Delhi is thick smog that envelopes the city and its lack of greenery.  In almost all other major cities of India lack of greenery is the most obvious sight that one sees when approaching it by air.
 
read-more

Pakistan has agreed to allow the rupee to depreciate after holding talks with the International Mone­tary Fund (IMF) on the country's economy.

 
read-more

Two major global changes in the past year; the ‘Brexit’ referendum and the advent of Donald Trump, writes Sandeep Kaur Bhatia

 
read-more

It is also imperative for India to explore other regions for markets. Its trade deficit with Latin America has been narrowing. Also, its trade with Mexico, Colombia and Guatemala has increased, ...

 
read-more
Column-image

Over the last 25 years, India's explosive economic growth has vaulted it into the ranks of the world's emerging major powers. Long plagued by endemic poverty, until the 1990s the Indian economy was also hamstrung by a burdensome regulat...

 
Column-image

Title: A Ticket to Syria; Author: Shirish Thorat; Publisher: Bloomsbury India: Pages: 254; Price: Rs 399

 
Column-image

Gorichen, a majestic peak in the Eastern Himalayas at an altitude of 22,500 feet, is the highest in Arunachal Pradesh. Beautiful to look at and providing a fantastic view from the top, it is extremely tough climb for mountaineers.

 
Column-image

It is often conjectured if the reason for long-standing conflicts and insurgencies, in the developing world, especially South Asia, is not only other powers fishing in troubled waters but also the keenness of arms industries, mostly Western, to...

 
Column-image

Title: The People Next Door -The Curious History of India-Pakistan Relations; Author: T.C.A. Raghavan; Publisher: HarperCollins ; Pages: 361; Price: Rs 699