Nepal Relation With China is Cordial: Why Tension With India?

Nepal Lies Between China and India

Nepal, China and India are permanent nations adjoining each other. The southern neighbor- India was liberated from the status of colony of the British Empire in 1947. The northern neighbor- China was overtaken by a communist regime two years after in 1949. Both of the nations have huge expanse of territory. Nepal lies between these two giant nations. Although Nepal is small in size but it was never colonized by any Empire. Unlike India and China, Nepal was never ruled by a foreign government.

It was successful in saving its dignity from imperialist nations. After independence, under the leadership of Jawaharlal Nehru-the PM, India followed the path to build a new constitution through the Constituent Assembly (CA) as united federal states. After the CA India and Pakistan separated whereas, in China the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) under the leadership of Mao Ze Dong moved ahead progressively.

Nepal a Communist Regime

On the one side, Nepal has faced a communist regime while on the other a republic system. Nepal had to preserve its dignity and move ahead between such two nations. Nepal did not want to support either the communists or the Indian democracy; nor did it want to oppose any. The quality of Nepal, by adopting a neutral position was desirous of maintaining a harmonious relation between these two nations. But after India became independent its leaders conspired to draw Nepal under its umbrella.

‘Nepal is a yam between two boulders’- the message of the great King Unifier Prithbinarayan Shah is still relevant. China never troubled Nepal ever since communism was established in China. Although Nepal has ties with India-geographically and culturally since the Muslim rule, it is a matter of worriless that Nepal always faced threat from India. In that context, Nepalese scholar diplomat Keshar Bahadur KC said- ‘If there was no China, Nepal would have ceased to exist.’

A Symbiotic Relationship

In the context of Nepal, China and India relation the former PM Kirtinidhi Bista opines on Nepal, China and Indian relation- ‘The symbiotic relationship that exists between India, Nepal and China can neither be belittled nor neglected or disturbed if regional stability in South Asia is to be maintained. Nepal’s national interests are integrally linked to the prospect of lasting peace and stability in South Asia.

For this reason alone Nepal must always be vigilant, proactive where necessary, and try to maintain the delicate balance in its relations with the two emerging regional powers of Asia. For Nepal there is no alternative to including its next-door neighbors as common partners in its development efforts while keeping the door open for other countries interested in the region’s peace and stability. For the world-at-large, too, it will have to pay dearly if any attempt.

Unbreakable Relationship

Nepal is linked by its sacred soil with India and China, as well as by rivers flowing from China through Nepal to India. These factors, more than anything else, establish the ground for unbreakable relationship among the three. This cordial relationship has to continue for the benefit of the vast South Asian region as well as China.

Nepal, for her part, has been making modest efforts within her means to consolidate and strengthen the compact that exists between the unequal partners of Asia. Fully realizing the fact that Nepal’s rich natural resources and its development not only benefits the country, but also others countries in the region, King Birendra had proposed the development of Nepali hydropower for the benefit of the South Asian region.

The proposal that was floated at the tenth Colombo Plan Consultative Conference held in Kathmandu in 1978. Any country looking to secure a bright future has to first mind its business and that is where its national interests come into play. In this connection Nepal has to face a tough challenge of not only safeguarding its national interest but also creating a stable and peaceful situation favorable for the all-round development of the country, in close cooperation with her fast-developing neighbors in India and China.’ But, India could not understand the reality of Nepalese prestige.

India in Fear of China

In 1950 India and Nepal reached a Delhi agreement through which India had a design to capture Nepal. India wanted a new constitution in Nepal through a CA. When Nepal and China entered bilateral relations in 1956 India became hesitant. As anti-India sentiment was increasing and due to the interest shown by the communist China in Nepal, then, India canceled the necessity of CA in Nepal.

India, in fear of China, completely abandoned its scheme of capturing Nepal and the idea of a constitution through CA. And then, In 1958 King Mahendra formed a commission through which he declared a constitution for the country. In the same year on basis of this constitution a parliamentary election was held. After the election Nepali Congress (NC) came to form the government in the leadership of the PM B.P. Koirala. After the formation of NC Govt. India began to conspire in various ways to influence the NC led government.

India wanted to take advantage of its friendship with NC leader BP Koirala. India continued to intervene in Nepal’s internal matters. India succeeded in taking control over some Nepal’s rivers.

Enhancing Understanding With King Mahendra

Chinese leader Mao studied the fact that Nepal and China could remain secure only in the presence of royal institution in Nepal. So he looked to enhance the understanding with King Mahendra. That became the headache for India. There was no game of conspiracy behind promotion of Nepal’s harmonious relation with China. Nepal does not want to move against the interest of India or China. Nepal only wants to maintain a good relation with both of the powerful neighbors. But India has never wanted to understand this fact. The Indian rulers have time and again harassed Nepal due to which Nepal is ever suspicious of its southern neighbor.

Although there is consistent visits from Indian nationals to Nepal and vice versa; although Nepalese and Indian people maintain a cultural bond and relation, the Indian rulers have always wanted to misuse this harmonious understanding. Due to this fact, Nepalese people, in spite of difficult geographical connection with China, despite unfamiliarity of language and other traditional norms, have trusted China. China too has never taken interest in Nepal in negative prospective. Nepal will never bargain off its sovereignty to India on grounds of its relation pertaining to religion, culture and geography or any other. Nepal adores nothing more than its sovereign existence.

China Shows Interest in Nepal’s Security

In 1960 King Mahendra took over the power against the Indian intervention and conspiracy. In the real sense, it was not against the interest of Nepali Congress. And introduced the Panchayat system after which India drew back. There was no any negative aspect in regards Nepal-India relation from 1960 to 1978. But, there started the conspiracies that in 1973 the Indian intelligence agency ‘RAW’ supported the hijacking of an airplane and in July the same year backed the act of arson at Singha Durbar.

China had shown interest in Nepal’s security in relation to these acts. A Chinese Professor at Hunan University Wang-Chung published a book ‘Nepal’s National Defensive Strategy and Nepal-China Relation’ and divulged many facts. He wrote that in June, 1973 Congress activists hijacked a Nepal Airlines’ passenger plane and forced it to land in India. The book also delved on facts relating to the fire at the Nepal government’s central Secretariat at Singh- Durbar in July and then the attempt to kill the King in March, 1974 (the bombing at Janakpur).

Prof. Wang-Chung writes-‘On 23, June 1975 the Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi declared emergency in entire India, in which, a ban was issued on the political activities of Nepali Congress leader BP Koirala and the party activists in exile in India. After that BP Koirala returned to Nepal with the policy of national reconciliation to join the hands with the King. BP was convinced that the security of Nepal lay in the reconciliation between him and the King and that Nepal could never benefit from India. However, after the death of BP, there was no reconciliation between NC and the monarchy. And then India had another opportunity to play.

The Indians did not like King Birendra for his independent and self-sustaining foreign policy. So it is not unusual to suspect a black hand of Indian intelligence agency in the royal palace massacre that took place on 1 June 2001. He further writes- ‘When China provided economic support to Nepal, India did not allow China to get involved in Nepal’s Terai region. India fears Chinese involvement in Terai region could make China spread communist ideology in India.’

Chinese Intellect Points Out An Indian Conspiracy

It is not necessary to add anything more here after mentioning what a Chinese intellect has explicitly written about black Indian conspiracy. It is a matter of investigation to find out who was responsible for the arson at Singha Durbar. When a Chinese intellect has pointed out that it was an Indian conspiracy we too are bound to accept it as true when we look at the dirty game played by India. Yes!

If there is fire in a house the people of that house know less about it than their neighbors. Neighbors first see the smoke coming out of the fire. Such is the case of Nepal in relation to Indian intervention, arson at Singha Durbar and the royal palace massacre. After Rajiv Gandhi came to power the Indian policy became more discriminate towards Nepal. In 1988 India went on to issue a blockade of Nepal on an irrelevant reason of commerce transit.

For the same reason it fueled the NC and the leftist parties in support of an uprising. To avoid the prospect of foreign intervention King Birendra with great understanding reinstated democracy in 1990. In the democratic setup the misunderstanding between the ruling party and the opposition, corruption from the ruling side and Indian intervention increased. Under Indian direction the factories made under Chinese support as Harisidhi Brick-Tile Factory, Bansbari Leather Shoe Factory, Gaindakot Paper Factory among 12 other factories in profit were sold at a worthless price.

Nepal Unstable Due to Maoists’ Rebellion

The then ruler took huge sum of commission to carry out this dirty act of India. As the scale of injustice soared India backed the Maoists’ rebellion in the hills that terrorized Nepal. Many innocent people, policemen and army personnel were killed and infrastructure worth billions destroyed. Such acts of destruction carried out intentionally made Nepal unstable.

India had designated the Maoists’ as terrorists but they supported the same terrorists to destroy Nepal. Then after, in 2005, India mediated pact between the Maoists’, NC and UML in the name of 12-point understanding. And, the uprising began by the paid workers of Maoist and Christians including the threatened villagers with aggressive. Then the King handed over the state to the political parties after the uprising-2006. The uprising came to a halt in agreement with the monarch and after the party leaders deceived the agreement by the hints of RAW and CIA. At the backing of India and western nations Nepal was declared secular and republic. These are the causes of current crisis.

With the deposition of the royal institution in Nepal, India and China both are in difficulty in security point of view. In absence of the royal institution India fears that China may intervene in Nepal to establish Communism in Nepal and India. In absence of monarchy in Nepal Chinese fear is of the danger of America and its CIA European nations’ and Indian agency’s activities in name of human rights that will be used in the name of Free Tibet to disintegrate China.

China and India Creating Very Difficult Scenario for Nepal

So, China in order to avoid a security lapse is showing more interest in Nepal. It is looking to participate in activities of Nepal with economic support and development schemes. The ensuing tussle between China and India is creating a very difficult scenario for Nepal. It is true that Nepalese forever will remain in suspicion and fear of the economic and other support lent by India. Nepalese are always skeptical whenever their Prime Minister goes on an official Indian visit. They fear if the PM would handover Nepal’s rivers, natural resources, Nepal foreign and security policy to India. Despite the extent of cultural bond and contact between the Indian and Nepalese people the black deeds of Indian rulers has always posed a security threat to Nepal.

In this context, a scholar Dr. Ramesh Dhungel writes- ‘It is notable that the very exercise of Nepal as an independent country was made possible only because of geographical situation of the region by Prithbinarayan Shaha alongside the committed, dedicated and trusted ministers and generals belonging to the various origins. Very surprisingly, Nepal was able to stand its ground as an independent, unique and powerful multi-ethnics state situated in the lap of the Himalayas, even in such a vulnerable situation where such extreme colonial encroachment in South Asia was rife.

Joint Conference Between Nepal, India and China

People of different ethnic backgrounds seemed to have united under the umbrella of the newly emergent Nepal. In many cases, a practical policy, offering dependent states to smaller friendly principalities was adopted by the king of Nepal.’ So, to remove all the confusion, there must be reinstatement of the Nepalese monarchy and in the presence of the King, there should be a joint conference between Nepal, India and China to reach a concrete decision which these three nations can adopt permanently as diplomatic strategy.

Dirgha Raj Prasai is a former Member of Parliament in Nepal, a political analyst who writes from Kathmandu.