Great Power Game in Nepal


By JP Naren

During the book launch program of ‘Prayogshala’ penned by Sudheer Sharma last year, politician Pradip Giri said, “Interests of all powerful nations in Nepal has increased; intelligence agencies of many countries have been collecting core information under the veil of something other but, officers of Indian intelligence announce themselves as the agents of Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW).” To one’s surprise, the Kathmandu-based US Embassy is the second largest diplomatic mission in Asia after its office in Saudi Arabia.

It is also noteworthy that, for the first time in Nepal’s history, a cabinet meeting was held out of the capital city due to massive pressures caused by the anti-Chinese activities of Khampa uprising in the 70s. Henry Kissinger’s secret China trip on July 9, 1971 and the successful Mao-Nixon talks as well as the results of ‘Ping Pong Diplomacy’ helped reduce Khampa uprising in Nepal.As a president candidate, Richard Nixon argued that the US and rest of the world would benefit from engaging China. Similarly, Nixon considered China as the useful counterbalance against USSR during the time of souring relations between the US and USSR.

The Tibet-centered campaign of Khampa was launched in 1956–with training and support from CIA and R&AW–by making Nepal’s northern region a base came on September 15, 1974 after the demise of Gay Wangdi– a counterrevolutionary leader. At present too, anti-Chinese activities are undergoing in one or the other forms. A recent meeting of NC leader and lawmaker Gagan Thapa with Pasang Pasang Chungduk Lama– the most-wanted Tibetan refugee– and Thupten Lama, a representative of Radio Free Asia also symbolizes backing of political honchos for the anti-Chinese activities.

But, the frequent concerns of Chinese diplomats and officials about the anti-Chinese activities taking place in Nepal are something more serious.

On the other hand, massive smuggling of fake Indian currency and rising anti-Indian amplifications hint that Nepal’s land gradually becoming a site to run activities of the Muslim extremists and westerners by targeting the emerging world powers.

Indians and Chinese security experts have well understood such facts to further bolster their relations. By realizing the situation, at a program on ‘track to diplomacy’ organized by Nepal Institute of International and Strategic Studies on September 11, former Chinese deputy foreign minister Chang Wai Chao and former Indian ambassador KV Rajan, Former Director General of Indo-Tibet Border Force Gautam Kawal shared a same opinion to maintain stability, peace and prosperity in the region through Panchasheel (five-point principle) and environment of trust. I could assume that speakers at the program were worried about anti-Indian and anti-Chinese activities being carried out from Nepal due to Nepal’s political fluidity.

With the paradigm shift in world’s socio-political features, considering the sensitivities of India and China is a must for trilateral –Nepal, China and India—collaboration. The worldly ambition of the rulers of both India and China fuelled by the rapid growth in their economies has also increased the importance of Nepal’s geography—a buffer zone between the world’s most populous nations.

More than this, the Indian Prime Minister has a dream for ancient Jammu plateau that his Guru Madhav Sadashiva Golbalkar had shared with Nepal’s king Mahendra and then prime minister Tulsi Giri in 1963 during his visit in Shivaratri.

If so, what is the importance of Nepali land for India and China on the backdrop of such historical importance? Is it a bridge to maintain harmonious relations between two gigantic nations or a yam between two rocks? Or is it dynamite between two rocky mountains? But, we have different school of thoughts and deliberations on the very topic.

For the westerners, the English speaking elites in Kathmandu valley were/are key informants. Mount Everest, birthplace of Lord Buddha, Sherpa, British Gurkha soldiers and Kathmandu’s temples were described as synonymous to Nepal’s identity and the people residing only in hilly and mountainous regions or those migrating from there were known for bearing Nepali identity. But, this canon does exist no more; thanks to the decade-long People’s War albeit no powers in the world put its trust on Nepal’s liberation movement waged by the Maoist rebels. Instead, the powerful nations and the elites agreed on a one-point agenda to sabotage the Maoist movement; if not possible, to emasculate it at any expense fearing that a success story of the communist guerrillas would encourage the like-minded forces in other parts of the world. They supported the ‘so-called establishment power’ to destroy the Maoist movement under the pretext of assistance, social mobilization, poverty alleviation and media monitoring or even in the name of researches.

Since then, the westerners established their stations mainly for two reasons, (a) to rupture Nepal’s progressive movement waged against feudalism, poverty, injustice and discrimination; and (b) to run anti-Indian and anti-Chinese activities from Nepal.

This is no secret that the Britons made their access to Nepal’s security agencies through the Department for International Department (DFID) while many other INGOs prepared environment for the same schema through populist programs.

Surprisingly, supports of Norway—comparatively a soft-cornered nation—to different NGOs in Nepal to help germinate a status-quoist vibes should be construed as a psyche of the westerners.

The powerful nations have keen eyes on emerging economies—India and China and they know pretty well that Nepal’s soil could be a haven for them to watch the societal shift in India—the third Muslim inhabited nation in the world; from where they could express their rejection to the Muslims equal to what they did to Jews in the 20th century. Side by side, Nepal’s land is equally suitable for the westerners to watch Tibetan issues and the Uighur Muslims in China.

The major concern of India’s establishment faction in Nepal is to tap Nepal’s immense hydro potential for its interests, and ‘prevent’ the smuggling of counterfeit notes from Nepal’s soil.

India’s intelligence bureau not only acquires information and submits them to the government but also directly influences in the domestic politics of neighboring nations to bring the interest meeting persons and group in power. More than that, Jammu plateau ambition is a dream of Modi’s cultural nationalism.

Furthermore, the Chinese are more cautious to stop the anti-Chinese activities that have taken place in Nepal mostly in the name of Tibetans refugees. They want a strong commitment from Nepal’s establishment faction on a one-China policy and Nepal’s support to quash any of the anti-Chinese actions like that of Khampa carried out in 70s. China’s close eyes are towards the westerners’ activeness played in the sentiments of Tibetans and Buddhist monks.

The roles of NGOs operating in the border lines of northern and southern parts of Nepal are suspicious. Equally suspicious is the westerners’ investment in Nepali media in the name of ‘shaping people’s mind’.

The westerners including the USA want to keep the rising economic influence of China and India in a limited size. In the midst of the westerners’ ‘silent war’ that is targeted to two emerging economies from Nepal has brought the Himalayan nation’s politics in a shambles. The middle-class intellectuals and media fraternity are being used to prepare the psyche acuity for their hidden interests. INGOs and NGOs even the religious institutions are being used to administer such misdeeds.

Nepalis barely enjoyed religious freedom before 1990 and religious conversion was tantamount to a crime. But, many people have taken part in the religious conversion after the end of party-less Panchayat system as if it was a carnival.

After 2006, the christianization Hindu Dalits, Janajatis and other marginalized communities reached at its peak making a basis to the secularism. The number of Buddhist Gumba also increased in a large scale while Madrasa and mosques have been established in southern belt abundantly. The rapid pace of christianization and expansion of Gumba and mosques is not a matter of religiosity, but a cultural encroachment in Nepal. All such activities are engineered by the westerners not other than to weaken China and India.