Geopolitics

That’s The Dragon in Nepal’s Shadow!!
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Issue Net Edition | Date : 21 May , 2020

On May 8, 2020 the Defence Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated the road to Lipulekh Pass on the Himalayan Watershed (the ancient customary and traditional boundary between India and Tibet) to shorten and ease the extremely difficult trekking route of the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has emphatically reiterated that this road in Pithoragarh District of Uttrakahand runs its entire length within the territory of India. However, Nepal protested against inauguration of this road with Nepal’s Communist Party (NCP) accusing India of unilateralism through a statement – alleging that India’s decision “violates Nepal’s sovereignty”.

The statement was signed by chairs KP Sharma Oli and Pushpa Kamal Dahal alias Prachanda. The road has been in existence for long and made motorable in recent times till four kilometers short of the LAC.

Interacting with the media on May 15, Army Chief MM Narvane said, “I do not see any contradiction at all as far as the road to Lipulekh Pass is concerned. In fact, the Nepalese ambassador had mentioned that the east side of Kali Nadi (Mahakali River) belongs to them. There is no dispute in that. The road which we have constructed is on the west side of the river. So, I don’t know what exactly they (Nepal) are agitating about. There have never been any problems on this issue in the past. There is reason to believe that they might have raised the issue on the behest of someone else (read China). That is very much a possibility.”

If the NCP was to protest about the road for purposes of domestic consumption, it would have happened long back because making the road motorable took considerable number of years, besides it being within Indian territory. Red flagging a non-existent issue at this juncture is obviously on behest of China – as hinted by the Army Chief. There has been visible discord between Oli and Dahal in recent times and China had to intervene to broker peace between the two. Oli was also under pressure from factions with the NCP because of two ordinances he wanted to introduce: amending the Constitutional Council (Duties, Functions and Procedures) Act, and; amending the Political Party Act. However, both these ordinances had to be withdrawn because of vehement opposition.

The Maoist insurgency in Nepal was China’s strategic move, roots of which go back to era of Mao Zhedong whose Ministry of Foreign Liaison embedded the Maoists movement in Nepal. The violent insurgency resulted in the killing of some 19,000 people between 1996 and 2005. This included insurgents, army and police personnel, and civilians. 1,665 of the dead were reportedly women. In addition, an estimated 100,000 to 150,000 people were internally displaced. China’s aim was not only to overthrow Nepalese monarchy but establish a government in Nepal opposed to America and India, drawing Nepal into China’s strategic sphere.

China has taken remote control of the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist) and the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre). Using these political parties in addition to political and economic coercion on policy makers, China has been promoting anti-India and pro-Pakistan agenda in Nepal. Nepal is home to some 20,000 Tibetan refugees, 9,000 in Kathmandu alone but they live under restrictions because of China’s diktat to Nepal. There were reports in the past of some of these refugees being handed over to China.

China has rapidly advanced its presence in Nepal in the economic, political, cultural and strategic spheres. China is the largest source of investment, development aid and economic support in Nepal. Of the total FDI pledges of USD 95 million in Nepal during first quarter of FY 2019-2020, China alone had pledged USD 88 million. This represents nearly 93% of total foreign investments committed FDI, showing China’s dominant position.

Nepal views the rise of China as an opportunity; attracting Chinese investment, technology and skills to realize its own vision of sustainable long-term development. Nepal joined China’s Belt and Road Initiative in 2017 for becoming part of the global supply chain, ignoring China’s strategic aims that are becoming clearer with similar BRI projects in other countries. China is also the second largest source of foreign tourists in Nepal after India.

Nepal’s close links with Pakistan have facilitated ISI and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) presence in Nepal. An Intelligence Bureau report of 2018 indicated a well-oiled network in Nepal not only giving protection to ISI-backed terrorists, but becoming a “Control Centre”. China’s hard and soft power has subsumed Nepal indirectly and if the Oli government is not careful, China can make Nepal the laboratory for hybrid war; PLA-Maoists-ISI-LeT collusion, the blowback of which would hardly be conducive to Nepal’s stability. All development projects of China abroad have covert presence of PLA. Nepal has also given oil drilling rights to China in the Terai region bordering India.

Post release of COVID-19 from Wuhan, the Kathmandu Post wrote that China’s authoritarian system of government had worsened the deadly Coronavirus outbreak. The Chinese embassy resorted to threatening the paper, in response to which Kathmandu Post responded by saying, “The Chinese embassy did not just express its discontent with the article published, it went so far as to disparage the Post’s Editor-in-Chief and employ threatening language.

 The undiplomatic — and frankly menacing — manner in which the Chinese embassy made its objections known is condemnable. The actions of the Embassy… can be perceived as a direct threat to the Nepali people’s right to a free press, freedom of opinion and freedom of expression.”

During his visit to Kathmandu in October 2019, Chinese President Xi Jinping reacted angrily after Nepal did not sign an extradition treaty aimed at deporting Tibetan refugees back to China, which Xi was desperately eager to affect. Xi referred to Hong Kong in his speech and shouted, “Anyone attempting to split China in any part of the country will end in crushed bodies and shattered bones. Those who engage in separatist activities in any part of China will be smashed into pieces.”

In the fit of anger, Xi did not realize his mask slipped – baring traits of a ‘street bully’. Perhaps he was also conveying indirect threat to Nepal; extradite Tibetans or face consequences. In a recent show of obdurate belligerence on May 2, 2020, China’s state-run Global Television Network (CGTN) claimed Mount Everest and surrounding areas in Nepal as the territory of China. There are strong protests in Nepalese media but response from the Nepalese government, if any, remains unknown.

Nepal is a sovereign country but China’s is employing hard and soft power to assimilate it. Psychological conditioning through scholarships, training, Confucius Institutes, people-to-people engagement, Maoism, political warfare and buying politicians are all part of the tactics. How much China subsumes Nepal will depend on how China can manage the Maoists and Nepal’s communist parties. It will be in Nepal’s interest not to become a satellite state of China – like Pakistan and not get debt-trapped. Examining China’s behaviour in hiding the COVID-19 outbreak and to the world at large thereafter, needs to be taken into account.

If Nepalese people are not careful they will witness sovereignty problems with China, especially if they default on repayment of any loans or other treaty clauses they may have entered into. Finally, Nepal should remember Mao Zhedong had said Tibet is the palm of China. Of the five fingers he mentioned, two were Nepal and Bhutan. It will be in Nepal’s interest to not become China’s proxy.

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The views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions or policies of the Indian Defence Review.

About the Author

Lt Gen Prakash Katoch

is a former Lt Gen Special Forces, Indian Army

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22 thoughts on “That’s The Dragon in Nepal’s Shadow!!

  1. Dear nepalis mt everest thek hai na? :),,,,,wait for few more years for Chinese to grab whole nepal just like they are doing in hongkong and in Taiwan 🙂
    Rahi baat Pakistan ki wo to ajtak koi Jung nj jeet saka india se Bangladesh ka bhagode srinagar inka allah bhi ni le sakta,bus frustration dikha sakte hai social sites pe ake🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

    Chinese ke paaltu kutte failed countries jo china ki roti pe patle hai aur sochte hai india se thakkar lege aukaat 2 din ki nahi
    Pakistan
    North korea
    Now
    Nepal🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

  2. Pakistanio tumse ma hona srinagar fateh itne exited na ho jaya Kato,india ne isse bhi buri situations mai india ka difa kia hai ham 13 din mai bangs bhagae wali kaum ni hai.islam is not a religion, it’s a mental disease

  3. Pakistan lost all 4 wars against india ,lost Bangladesh, siachin(raddeamal of khalistan)
    ,lost kashmir jihad,no way near to defeat india,they are only good on Twitter trolls,so far as india is concerned now even china cant defeat india in battlefield because of geographically terrain,the surprise element is no way in this subcontinent,we monitor their every movement, this is not 62,
    Pakistan cant do anything they are good for nothing ,,,,
    Inka allah bhi srinagar fateh ni kar sakta ,yeh dono mulk china ke paaltu hai jinhe lagta hai an China hamare sath hai to india ko Maaro,baccho tunhara Allah bhi kuch ni kar sakta agar china ki itni aukaat hoti to aaj tum srinagar mai baithe hote aur dhaka mai bhi
    Nepal get well soon,communist pigs

  4. Ture story and real fact of our nation , we are proud of you, Now our any enemy cannot confuse and blame us, we people alway ready to fight with anti nationalist. It seems muslim are confused people and our main enemy. We should hate this jealous people.

    • China have conflicts with every neighbor
      Pakistan have conflicts with every neighbor
      Dont show ur hatred towards india unders
      Bloody communist dogs slaves of Chinese dont give the argument of morality
      Muslims have conflicts with every religion of this world

  5. What a deranged article, totally negating history and resolve of Nepalese ppl. The General seems to have graduated from an RSS Shakha. Its India who has problems with every neighbouring country.Sikkim absorbed, Bhutan nominally independent,Wars with China and Pakistan,military intervention in Maldives and Sri Lanka and water disputes with Bangladesh.
    Nepal is standing tall in South Asia by calling the bluff of RSS.

    • Abe lodu tu srinagar fateh kar Bangladesh ke bhagode india baapbhai tera samjha,jihadi,rss se itni gaand kyu fat ri hai,india bahut takatwar mulk hai na to kashmir fateh kar sakte ho tum na India ka kuch bigad sakte ho,Twitter pe baith ke maatam manao

    • Who started all wars with india go and read history first lodu,yes we did 71 and we are proud of it because u tried to divide india in 65 but u failed,dont worry durund line ki fikar jar
      Hidus of india
      Buddhist of srilanka Myanmar
      Christian’s of Europe and America
      Communists of china and russia (xixyang and Chechnya)
      Why muslims have conflicts with every religion of this world?
      Loser pig srinagar na le pane ki frustration na dikha

  6. Indian state terrorism is happening all over the region Because at present the Indian state is ruled by the worst ignorant Nazi-minded terrorist organization in history.Narendra Modi is an ignorant tea seller who heads the RSS and the BJP and these terrorist organizations. Which is known all over the world as Gujarati butcher killer Then there will be unrest in the region May Allah protect this region from the evil of these evil elements

    • Islam is a terroist religion,Pakistan have conflicts with afganistan, India,iran
      Dont show frustration of not winning a single war against india,4 war loser Bangladesh yaad hai na srinagar tera allah bhi ni le sakta, durund line ki dkh ab tu,srinagar lele ake mard ke bacche,rss modi tumhe raddeamal dete hai na tumhare hi lahze mai islie gaand fat ti hai tunhari
      Hindus in India .Buddhist of srilanka Myanmar
      Communists of china russia(xixand Chechen)
      Christian’s of America europe
      Har kisi ke islam se hi conflict kyu hai?
      Because islam is a nazi fascist terroist religion

  7. For a long time, there has been only one terrorist state in the region, which has been leading riots and terrorism in all the neighboring countries and playing the role of a cowardly enemy against the neighboring countries. That is India, it is shameless Against Occupied Kashmir and Nepal China and Sri Lanka Bangladesh etc.

    • 4 war loser porkistani Bangladesh ke bhagode,srinagar tera allah bhi fateh ni kar sakta,Osama bin laden,Taliban ko plane walo terrorism ki baat karte ho,terrorism to quran mai sikhata jaata hai
      Buddhist of srilanka Myanmar
      Hindus of india
      Christian’s of Europe America
      Communists of china and russia(Chechnya and xixyang)
      Har jagah sirf islam se kyu ladai hai dunia ki bhosdk,,tera allah bhi hindustan ni tod sakta frustration kahi aur jake dikha madarchod 4 jung ki sikast yaad rakhna 93000 surrender kargil 65 ki thukai yaad rakhna ,afganistan Iran se ristey samjhal apne pahle

    • Ale baba le,jam black dog se medicine lete time sharam ni ari,hamare mulk mai job lete time sharam ni ati ,,,jealous chutiye,cant run small nepal,bloody beggar,aukaat roti khane ki ni aur india ko bol ra,ek shanti sadak tak ni bna sakte

  8. Nepal is lost to India. The influence of the Dragon is all too pervasive, too strong, too lucrative.
    We should annex Nepal at earliest or else PLA will be on Indo Nepal borders, in the garb of construction activities . Pakistan would use it as a terrorist base , operate unhindered & enlarge its scope to Eastern and Central India .

    Today India can retaliate with sanctions, also send back Nepalese working in India , disband Gurkha Regts based on Nepalese Gurkhas but in turn it will be swamped with Nepalese refugees and a heightened violence of Gorkhaland movement.

    And India is too too Humane to inflict such misery on Nepal , a Hindu Kingdom and a very old friend, for a long time.

    • Annex Nepal….. ITS GOOD TO DREAM.
      Do blockade, we will rise higher than u in 15yrs time.
      Show us protecting ur country without gurkhas
      Nepal receives 1 billion from India but India receives 7 billion from Nepal.
      Activate visa system between Nepal and India and see who will be affected more…
      There’s more to write but it’s enough…

  9. It’s high time India annexed Nepal or else next PLA will swamp Nepal in the garb of construction activities, similar to Gilgit- Skardu in POK .

    India can cut offland routes, starve Nepal , refuse employment but not for lng as Indian State is too humane to inflict misery on common people of Nepal for a long duration . If it dies, possibly it will be swamped with starving Nepalese seeking refuge.

    Nepal now is lost to India as China’s influence is too strong and lucrative. Pakistan too now has a third country to induct terrorists at will .

    Annexation is the only answer and should be done post haste.

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