One word can’t describe India’s unnecessary concern about Nepali prime minister’s Beijing visit. That’s the combination of hypocrisy, double standard, childishness and hegemony. When their Sonia and Rahul Gandhi can visit China and meet Chinese leaders, why can’t the Nepali prime minister do so?
Nepali Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal’s first foreign trip to China has set off a controversy (and it was created by no other than our southern neighbor India). Obviously, PM Dahal visited Beijing and met Chinese President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao before attending the closing ceremony of the Beijing Olympics. And this visit has irritated New Delhi, a section of Indian politicians and the media who still see China through the 1962 Indo-China war. Nepal’s ambassador to India Durgesh Man Singh sought to allay anxieties in Delhi about PM Dahal’s five-day visit to China. He defended the trip by saying that Nepal’s ties with India were different, and that choosing China as the first foreign destination should not have raised anybody’s hackles. The first port of call for a new Nepali prime minister has customarily been Delhi. However, the break with tradition has stunned Delhi hawks as they fear that Chinese influence over Nepal would further corner India.
The reaction in India clearly shows that Indians are still haunted by the ghost of 1962 when China and India fought a bitter border war. PM Dahal visited China to attend the closing ceremony of the Beijing Olympics as Nepal, being a next-door neighbor, could not skip it. The Indian Congress sent high-profile leaders — Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi — to attend the Olympic inauguration. But PM Dahal’s visit was interpreted in India as a sign of Nepal’s pro-China tilt under the new dispensation that may challenge Delhi’s preeminence in Nepal. The Indians are arguing that India had invited the new prime minister first; but Dahal went off to China without accepting or rejecting the Indian invitation. Now Delhi hawks are concerned about how to deal with the Maoist leader who has termed the 1950 Nepal-India Friendship Treaty “unequal” and wants to revise it to suit Nepali interests.
Differences between these two Asian giants may linger as they follow different political systems. But their differences should not be allowed to undermine Nepali sovereignty. India cannot dictate to Nepal and make it toe the Indian line, nor can this country be turned into an anti-China platform where pro-Tibet Indian activists travel to the Nepal-China border and raise Tibetan issues on Nepali soil. Nepal has its own foreign policy, and it has always remained equidistant from China and India. Nepal shares common cultures and religions with both countries. When Sonia and Rahul Gandhi can visit China and meet Chinese leaders, why can’t the Nepali prime minister do so? Nepal needs both Chinese and Indian support to rebuild its insurgency-ravaged land. And PM Dahal must rebuild it as he was the architect of the decade-long Maoist rebellion that claimed over 14,000 lives and reduced the country’s economy to rubble. It is very disappointing to see such political immaturity in some Indian leaders and diplomats.
India ready to review 1950 treaty
NEW DELHI, Aug 29 – The Indian government has said it is ready to review all treaties and agreements including the Indo-Nepal Peace and Friendship Treaty -1950. During bilateral talks with visiting Minister for Foreign Affairs Upendra Yadav in New Delhi on Thursday, Indian Minister for External Affairs Pranab Mukherjee requested Yadav not to be “skeptical” of the Indian government on the issue of review of past treaties and agreements. (more)