Nepal in Crisis and Indian Interest

also published at Associated Content

Analysts Look into What is at Stake for India as Nepal Crisis Drags On

Crisis in Nepal is nowhere near getting solved. Government lead by Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal is not ready to negotiate with the agitating Maoists, and the deadline to complete new constitution is fast approaching.

Nepal's capital Kathmandu

Nepal’s closest neighbor India has lot at stake. If Nepal is pushed back further into chaos, it has direct security and social implications for India. Analysts are now wondering whether should play an active role in facilitating peaceful negotiations between the Nepali government and the Maoists.

At Eurasia Review Padmaja Murthy says

“Given the challenges India faces from its own Maoists or Naxals it is essential that the experiment of bringing Nepal’s Maoists into the mainstream succeeds. On the other hand India could continue the status quo in its policy. India’s recent statements reflect its support to the government led by Madhav Kumar Nepal. The deteriorating situation could drag India into the divisive politics of Nepal leading to India providing assistance to the Nepal Army to quell the situation. The army would gain momentary control, only to be challenged periodically. This would not ensure peace and only result in a long drawn conflict, the impact of which will spill over into India. This scenario is not beneficial for India.”

Current situation in Nepal concerns India not only because the Maoists are openly challenging the government and have significant support from the rural public; India is also worried about China’s growing influence in the Nepal. When the Maoists lead government was pushing for closer ties with China and demanding 1950 Peace Treaty with India be renegotiated, there were some serious rumbles in New Delhi.

Vishal Arora at World Politics Review says that some “elements” in Nepali politics are playing the China card against India.

“These Nepalese “elements” playing the China card include Prachanda, the leader of the country’s former Maoist guerrillas. After becoming the country’s prime minister in August 2008, Prachanda paid his first official visit to Beijing for the closing ceremony of the Summer Olympic Games, breaking a tradition forged by his predecessors, who reserved that honor for New Delhi. Prachanda also crushed anti-Chinese protests by Tibetans in the run-up to the Olympics. Finally, in May 2009, he sacked Nepal’s army chief, Rookmangud Katawal, for his refusal to integrate the former Maoists guerrillas into the Nepalese army. “

India’s concerns about Nepal-China proximity have largely been dismissed by the Maoists and a section of Nepali public who want a more balanced foreign policy with equal priority given to the neighbors-India and China. They see India’s concerns as an attempt to maintain influence over Nepal and check China’s growing influence in South Asia.

Bhumika Ghimire at World Security Network says that India’s concerns may be bit over rated

“But Nepal is in no position to give up on India completely. It would be very short sighted for Nepal to completely ignore India and depend on China. After all, India and Nepal share miles long open and very porous border, almost 44% of foreign direct investment in Nepal is from India, and the two countries are bound by strong cultural and religious ties.”

Things could take a positive turn if Prime Minister of Nepal shows some flexibility in dealing with the Maoists and prevents further exacerbation of the crisis.

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