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Friday, October 9, 2015

Nepal is not landlocked, it is once again a victim of New Delhi’s attempt to flex its muscles Bihari K Shrestha

Dear all, 

I am taking the liberty of attaching herewith my article on the above subject that appeared in the Nepali Times today Oct 9, 2015 along with the comments that it has so far generated. 

Warm regards
Bihari Krishna Shrestha

Nepali Times                                  

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9-15 October 2015 #779



Nepal is not landlocked, it is once again a victim of New Delhi's attempt to flex its muscles

Bihari K Shrestha


India has blatantly
 blockaded Nepal to back a splintered bunch of disgruntled Madhesi politicians, who were humiliatingly rejected by the Madhesi voters themselves in the last election. They won a mere 11 seats of the total of 116 constituencies in the Tarai, and turned to India.

New Delhi, mysteriously, finds it in its interest to side with Madhesi 'outcasts'.The agitating Madhesi Morcha is a fractious coalition of at least four sub-morchas which in turn is the coming together of over 13 different entities, more than one of which is a self-declared Bharatbadi.

Their main demand has been the implementation of the agreement that two of these parties had signed some nine years ago with the then Girija Prasad Koirala government that, among others, provides for delineating the whole of the Tarai as one province under federal Nepal. Given Nepal's variegated geography, this makes no
 economic sense, and it would also be potentially suicidal for Nepal because it would put the plains in the hands of Madhesi politicians and their mentors across the border.  

What is even more perplexing is that India, which is aspiring to become a permanent member of the UN Security Council, has got itself embroiled in this misadventure out of which it has no perceived advantage or exit strategy. India's foreign policy has become the subject of ridicule around the world, even from pundits within India.

Humiliation does not seem to matter to the Indian establishment. Back in
 1989 during the previous blockade, the World Health Assembly passed an amendment proposal by the Nepal delegation, which I had the distinction of leading, to a Palestinian resolution against an Israeli embargo calling for it include all landlocked countries. 

After three exchanges between me and an Indian delegate, the Assembly adopted an amended resolution to the utter embarrassment of the Indian delegation. The delegate passed on a threat that sounded exactly like the one recently issued by the
 Indian foreign secretary, S Jaishankar.

Soon after the 1989 embargo and regime change in 1990, India helped the ethnic cleansing drive of its protectorate, Bhutan, and ferried more than 100,000 of its own citizens to the Nepal border and dumped them there. Furthermore, while India has all these years complained of terrorist incursion by Pakistan, New Delhi has been complicit in providing a safe haven to Nepali Maoists whom India's government has officially declared to be terrorists.   

No matter which party is in power, strangulating Nepal into submission to India's whims of the day seems to be the only affordable arena where India can show its emerging power status despite the fact that it continues to remain home to the largest number of hungry and homeless in the world.

We should also somberly reflect that no country in the world has come to Nepal's rescue on the blockade. Let alone material support, there hasn't even been verbal sympathy. No country wants to antagonise India and jeopardise its big market. Even China is cautious, but there is nothing stopping us from improving our road and air links to China. Even if we survive this blockade, there will be future ones.

Read also:

Proxy war

North and south, Puru Shah

Barking up the wrong tree, Anurag Acharya

Blockade blues, Bidushi Dhungel

(Quote) Blockade (Unquote), The Ass

It's not about the constitution, Om Astha Rai

From our archives

Time to think

4th October 2001

Nepal, 17 September-1 October 
- Vijay Kumar

Taliban, talks and political change

4th October 2001

Editorial in Kantipur, 24 September

Kolkata Maoists

4th October 2001

Jana Aastha, 19 September

Takes two to talk

4th October 2001

Saptahik Bimarsa, 21 September 
Excerpts from an interview with Krishna Bahadur Mahara


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Kumar  a day ago

I echo "Why so much hate against India. I have grown up talking very positively about Nepal as Neighbor" BUT now I have to think accordingly.. remember 1 thing blaming is not good alternative to stop someone's right.. you do business with India or not but I will wish the progress of Nepal... best of luck..


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namah  a day ago

There is the kind of attitude which irks Nepal: TINA: There Is No Alternative. Remember: even INC (Indian National Congress) used to run on a similar plank for many years and BJP/JD/JD/JP/etc etc etc never got a chance. Atal Behari showed India that governance by a non-INC govt is just as good, or even better. On his wings (despite all his shenanigans) Mr.Modi reduced the once towering, freedom fighting party to pittance.

So you see...things should be magnanimous when powerful, and grateful when not...

Nepali politicians have not done this nation any favors. We have oscillated from the despicable to the maleficent. However, sikkim and bhutan are real life examples. History is not the sole inheritance of the GoI. Hence an underlying distrust of the GoI and its intentions.

The common Nepali is grateful to India. However with an indefinite blockade looming, it certainly should not be expected for masses to keep their cool. better twitter rants, than something far more ominous. At the same time, Nepali politicians have shown their true colors once again of reckless statements and Indian opinion makers have conflated themselves with their government.

You - i.e. an average Indian - are an independent thinker. Try it. You make like it. Read beyond the MEA_India handouts. There is always a more interesting story underpinning the headlines. God bless all of us.


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Indian  2 days ago

Why so much hate against India. I have grown up talking very positively about Nepal as Neighbor(For that matter Indians always look Nepal in a very positive way). Whole artical talks bad about India..there are supposed to be pro and con arguments. This whole artical talks as if there is some personal animosity of the author with india or indians.
I am not sure if india has done some intentional blockade. If yes, definitely bad from India but fact of the matter is the this all started with Nepal's Own people. You are killing your own people and not giving them what they deserve(i as an ordinary indian dont even care about that).
Drink some water and calm down. I am pretty sure that most of Indians will be happy with Nepal's Progress.

kaliya  2 days ago

time to talk had past long ago. if india gets away with this, they will get away with anything in future. it won't be too long before they demand Janakpur and not Kathmandu, to be the capital of Nepal. then it will be New Delhi.
Nepal now has a serious choice - surrender and do what they want or fight to survive. Neither is going to be easy but at least one will have positive outcome for our children and our children's children. we need to choose...

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gaurav  2 days ago

Nepal is in deep trouble and it is not of India's doing. When a country so willingly decides to ignore 40% of its own people and pretend that everything is fine , things can not be right. India is merely protecting its own interest which it should because a disgruntled Madesh on its border will create a stateless actor and jeopardise Indian security. Nepali politicians are known to be petulant, churlish and use India as convenient. Now they are stoking anti-india sentiments to appear Nationalists. Whereas they could easily settle the dispute instead of calling Madhesis as "flies". If Madheshi are being mentored from across the Border, then question is where do politicians like Oli take their order from ? What made Nepal ditch Tibetans ? It is not that Nepal is this saintly innocent country and India a monster. Nepal' s failure is failure of its diplomacy .

binod  gaurav  a day ago

get your facts correct.. 51% of Nepal's population lives in Madhes,. 40% of which are are nepali of other ethnicity.. so this Indian line of 40% population is ignored in this constitution is a propaganda.. in fact 90% of madhes agitation is orchestrated by Biharis or biharis who also have nepali citizenship.. if it was a real madhes movement like in 2007 , Kathmandu would have knelt a long time ago..when people rise no " hill elite" can stop it.. because india is indirectly supporting 200 protestor who move from place to place this so called agitation hasn't reached its culmination...india is using Madhesi to bargain with Nepal.. once it gets that it will dump madhes just the way they dumped maoist after removing monarchy...nepali need to be careful not to fall into this trap of communal division..this is a testing time for us..


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ambarish palit  2 days ago

well writtten piece but it leaves me wondering why the writer failed to include the 40 plus deaths and the deaf ear given to the agitating madeshis right before the and during the promulgation of the constituition in short why was there a hurry to declare the statute with so much death and dissatisfaction around.


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dgupta  3 days ago

It is high time Nepal strengthens its ties both economic and political with China, a veto power of UN and an economic power house. Nepal can serve as a middleman for chinese goods to India whose most imported goods are from China anyway.

IAF101  dgupta  2 days ago

LOL - what makes you think Nepal will retain the same status it has now to just send goods over to India ? If China is using Nepal as a trade corridor - then India will treat the border as any other border it shares and start taxing ALL goods to and fro and subjecting them to customs and international tarrifs and inspections.

rahil aryan  3 days ago

The sole reason behind this turmoil is Nepal's new constitution and their lack of faith in India and more towards China, which is outrageously wrong. The Madhesi and the Tharu communities are protesting in the neighbouring districts of India-Nepal border against the new constitution framed on September 20, 2015. There are many other reasons behind this economic blockade, which seems to be more Nepali government sponsored than India or by the people residing in the bordering Terai areas who are mostly pro India. The Nepalese political parties fear that India is anti Nepal and China is pro Nepal, which everyone knows is due to the Maoists who sadly dominate Nepali politics and are actively today promoting a false propaganda against India.

In recent years Nepal has been the subject of ever-changing political environment and is today probably the worst politically administered Asian country in the world, even when their new constitution is soundly in place. Nepal's mainstream political parties in the country are not able to deal with the current political situation in the country as they voice different opinions and have lost mass support. All this coupled with corruption and power politics amongst them is taking Nepal towards its impending doom.

namah  rahil aryan  2 days ago

the maoists were a RAW creation...LOL...all the top leaders went 'underground' in India during the insurgency years...we all know that...don't BS about China. I have no illusions, however, of China's politics and what it does to its neighbors in the south china sea.

There is a reason why Nepal gravitates towards India. However, India is REALLY TRYING HARD to kick Nepal out of its zone of influence. You tell me why? We are all puzzled in Nepal. Forget about twitter trends, etc. That is just representative of an elite english speaking who have online access.

...and thanks for stomping on a newly created think this will win India accolades? it might win Modi the bihar elections, but blockade2 will be talked about for years...

A Nepali  3 days ago

Wow...and thank you!


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rose555  3 days ago

We will not Forget this incident. We will be smart & learn to diversify our business with several other countries (not just one country). Expand Expand Expand, Diversify Diversify Diversify


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IAF101  rose555  2 days ago

Easy to say - VERY hard to do. You can open every single meter of border with China - but it won't change the fact that Oil from the Middle East will have to travel to Chinese Ports, get refined in Chinese oil refineries and then transported over 2000 kms of the worlds heightest mountains to reach Katmandu. Its easy to see why that is not a viable alternative to the India route.


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namah  IAF101  a day ago

That is the kind of attitude which irks Nepal: TINA: There Is No Alternative. Remember: even INC (congress I) used to say that for many years and BJP/JD/JD/JP/etc etc etc never got a chance. NOW suddenly things have changed, and people wonder in India if Pappu will ever make it to the top you see...things should be magnanimous when powerful, and grateful when not...nepalis have a lot to learn...and so do indians...I don't spare anyone...


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namah  3 days ago

Solar and water energy are right here. We can become energy sufficient with smart roads, and public transport systems, plus online mechanisms which allow citizens to communicate with government agencies online. It needs someone with a holistic sense of commerce, industry, and transportation.

We will never become 'India-free' so to speak. But at least it can be brought down to acceptable levels.

Finally, we need to address social causes for the unrest. India or no India, madheshi issues remain within our domain.

IAF101  namah  2 days ago

The day Nepal becomes self sufficient is the day India will be most happy.

Ram Sunuwar  3 days ago

very good article. we have to have other options. the india establishment is letting local politics ( bihar elections ) decide our relationship. while some of the demands have to be addressed there is no way the whole of tarai or anywhere in nepal should have states based on ethnicity. madesh based parties have every right to protest but not to destroy property, hurt people, block someone ,vandalize trucks .come on guys we are all Nepalese lets at lest

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