Nepal’s SPA, India Pressured by US Ambassador’s Speech

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The US ambassador James F. Moriarty makes headlines whenever he makes statements. His speech delivered at the Ganesh Man Singh Foundation early this month was symbolic in a sense that late Singh was a selfless leader who didn’t crave for power for the sake of democracy and freedom. Our contemporary leaders both of the NC and the UML never followed the path of Ganesh Man.

Girija Prasad Koirala even went ahead to minimize Singh during his own life time by actively conspiring to defeat Mangala Devi Singh (Singh’s wife) and Prakash Man Singh (Singh’s eldest son) in the general elections of 1991. Therefore, by choosing to speak at the forum of a Foundation named after late Singh, the U.S. envoy sarcastically called for inner party democracy and selflessness to nurture democracy by recalling what Ganesh Man had done but apparently what all leaders of today have forgotten.

His contempt and dislike towards the 12-point agreement between the parties and the Maoists supposedly reached at the behest of Delhi has come up as a surprise to everyone. This agreement was reached months ago and neither the U.S. government nor Moriarty had spoken anything grossly negative when the agreement was actually reached.

But it seems now that the Bush administration has realized how awful and dangerous the 12 point understanding actually is. The parties are where they were in front of the people but the Maoists have got huge gains out of the agreement. It has become very easy for the present government also to tell to the people that “See we were always telling you, these seven parties have been tacitly aiding the Maoists”.

The fact remains that the Maoist movement started when there was full-fledged multi-party democracy and that the insurgency actually spiraled out of control when the Nepali Congress and the UML were in power. This theory of party leaders like Bam Dev Gautam and Khum Bahadur Khadga tacitly aiding the insurgency during their respective tenures as Home Minister proved right when the same bunch of leaders signed the agreement with the Maoists. This agreement was defective, shady and flawed from the day it was inked as has been realized by the envoy of the world’s only superpower.

Now, if the present government bans the political parties and declares those that tie nuptial knots with the Maoists as “terrorists” themselves, it seems that there won’t be such a degree of international criticism as one would like to imagine. The publication of a caricature of prophet Mohammad by a Danish newspaper has already started global debate on whether the press should be allowed to publish anything in the name of press freedom. The Malaysian government immediately banned a 60-year-old newspaper for re-printing the same cartoon. In our case, those newspapers that openly favor the Maoist propaganda have been allowed to operate and yet the government continues to get the blame for harassing the media.

The second element of Moriarty’s statement is overtly directed towards India. Every sane mind knows that top Maoist leaders live and give out their directives to their cadres from within the Indian territory. Lately, several interviews have been taken of the Maoist leaders from the Indian capital. It is anybody’s guess that India very well knows where Prachanda and Baburam are hiding but does not want to arrest them for some future usage that they have vis-a-vis the give and take that may take place between the monarchy and the Government of India. The 12-point agreement definitely had the tacit Indian consent. Some reports even suggested that the Government of India itself had engineered the understanding in order to pressure the King.

But ambassador Moriarty’s compos mentis speech suggesting that the agreement was “ill-intentional” clearly indicates that the world’s only superpower is against India’s unnecessary meddling inside Nepal’s internal affairs. The publicity that the U.S. and India were in tandem in their respective Nepal policies has fallen flat after Moriarty’s speech. It has obviously embarrassed Delhi to a great deal.

Everything that was “achieved” in the post February First period has been lost by a single statement. India has thus wasted one full year in Nepal which could have been well used in nurturing the present government and in achieving concrete things in security, political and economic areas. Besides, it now seems that the US has started looking Nepal from the Chinese window as they have been doing as regards to other countries in the region.

After all, Moriarty is a known China expert in the State Department and speaks fluent Mandarin, he has years of experience in Beijing and Taipei. This will be dangerous to India’s long-standing unique bond with SAARC countries like Bangladesh, Bhutan and Sri Lanka. With Pakistan, the American policy is exactly the same as that of the Chinese policy. What is even more astounding is that the Chinese ambassador in New Delhi openly said that his government is ready for assisting in the peace talks with the Naxalites of the entire sub-continent who use the name of Mao-zee-Dong. Therefore, from every rational standpoint, Delhi should not delay in keeping the Narayanhiti royal palace in good humor before it is too late and before the U.S-China axis from within Nepal begins to take shape of the Pakistani variety.

His Majesty the King, on his democracy day message, called for reconciliation but the 7 parties, obdurate and inflexible as they are, have rejected his call for a dialogue. It must be well understood that the product of reconciliation is a change of the government not the other way around. Former MPs who were last elected 7 years ago do not represent the will of the sovereign people and if they claim that they still do, they must cave in their over-sized egos for their own common benefit or else have the fortitude to contest the general elections.

Moriarty has thus told clearly to every power centre in Nepal that terrorists everywhere whether it is Osama Bin laden and al Qaeda, LTTE, Hamas or the Maoists of Nepal are basically the same. Their tactics of terror and intimidation are the same. They kill civilians and give the pretext of “empowering the people” in the name of violence. They are all terrorists and one should not negotiate with them until they give up arms.

America has been utilizing a military solution to the al Qaeda problem and Nepal should also do the same by requesting for necessary arms and ammunition to defeat terrorism within Nepal. If peace can only be achieved by “talking” with the Maoists, then a good example must be set by those that preach this noble idea. There should be no double standard.

If Nepal should negotiate with the Maoists by agreeing on a 12 point understanding, the EU also should first formally invite Osama Bin Laden to Brussels to hear his genuine concerns and problems. If Nepal Television should not try to interview Prabhakaran and his gang of murderers or the leaders of ULFA and BODO; then The Times of India, The Hindu, BBC and other media should also not publicize Prachanda and his idiotic verse of nonsense that everybody finds insane.

Will the Government of India allow Nepalese journalists to interview and thereby mystify the terrorists who planted bombs in the parliament of India? What will be the Indian reaction if Nepalese media start writing editorials that it is high time that Delhi begins realizing that without an independent Kashmir, the problem of the people of Kashmir will not be resolved?

Therefore, it is now Delhi’s turn to follow-up on Moriarty’s genuine and truthful statement and not embrace the Nepali Maoist leaders as if they were different to its own Naxalites running wild from Bihar to Chattisgarh and all the way to Andhra Pradesh. Since its ambassador at the India House has already said that “political parties in Nepal can use the Indian card”, Delhi must clearly tell the political parties that if they are to co-exist and survive, they must reciprocate the call of the monarch for a reconciliation.

Nepal established diplomatic relations with the United States of America before it did with India and China. Sometimes, we are forced to appreciate the Ranas for some of the far-sighted decisions that they took during their 104-year rule.

Ms. Preeti Koirala is an insurance executive of Nepali origin, based in the USA.