Struggling For Nepal’s True Sovereignty

India wanted to establish Nepal as a dependent state since it had ousted the British colonial regime. It did not want Nepal to have independent foreign relations. In 1975, the late King Birendra had proposed Nepal to be recognized internationally as a “zone of peace” which had received by 1990, support of 112 countries, including that of China and Pakistan. India remained silent on this count despite repeated proposals put forward by Nepal….The Maoists want to eliminate India from Nepal’s power and politics.

By Bishnu Pathak, PhD

Land-locked Nepal has always existed in giant India’s shadow. However, now that its people have tasted democracy, they want to shake off Indian influence and become masters of their own destiny. Nepal has long historic, strategic, geo-political, commercial and socio-cultural relations with India. There has been a protracted debate and discourse to continuously improve such relations. But history also shows that whenever Nepal is in its transition phases, its people encounter several problems at national and regional levels owing to the role of India. Nepalis living on the Nepal-India border have suffered in particular at the hands of Indian border security forces and criminal groups. In spite of such suffering, they have failed to attract the country’s attention as most governments and mainstream parties have turned a deaf ear to their problems, fearing reprisals from India. A principal reason behind such practices is that the Nepalese authorities seek personal/family/party/cadre benefits whenever they get an opportunity to meet the Indian establishment, pushing behind the crucial issues faced by the people.

In the course of agitation to restore civilian supremacy, the UCPN (Maoist) initiated an anti-Indian campaign torching the 1950 India-Nepal treaty, displaying black flags in front of senior government officials, protesting in front of the Indian Embassy, boycotting CA House on the issue of intrusion and holding mass assemblies at the alleged Indian-encroached border regions from January 5, 2010 for a month. On January 11, the UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, alias Prachanda, in a mass meeting at Mahendranagar, said, “I will fight for national independence and sovereignty till my last breath.”

Addressing the assembly, he said that the tradition of bowing to foreigners staying in Singhadurbar needed to be ended. He further said that the whole nation should be united to safeguard Nepal and its border regions. Similarly, four other Maoists leaders such as Mohan Baidya, Dr. Baburam Bhattarai and Narayankaji Shrestha also inspected Ilam, Susta and Lakshmanpur dam cross-border areas respectively and protested against alleged Indian encroachment.

The anti-Indian campaign in Nepal should be analyzed in the context of India’s role and Nepal’s stand. India has given top priority to its own territorial integrity, security and national sovereignty. Due to the fragile security situation and the long transition phase, Nepal has been fertile ground for terrorist activities and the fake currency racket. India fears that rifles lost in the 1962 Sino-India war may have reached the Indian Maoists via Nepal’s Maoists. Besides, people living on the India-Nepal border are desperately poor, which makes smuggling an attractive activity on both sides. The Nepal-India border of 1,751 km is largely unguarded, unmarked and highly porous.

There are a number of pros and cons contributing to the worsening Nepal-India relations. The peace and friendship treaty of 1950 signed between the two countries was inked between two unequal protocols – a prime minister and an ambassador. The treaty was signed between the world’s largest democratic country India and Nepal’s authoritarian regime Ranarchism. The treaty influenced Nepal to demoralize the regional competitor, China. India sent military and intelligence missions to Nepal to control communism, believing that communism was being supported by China.

One-fourth (estimated) land of Nepal (called Greater Nepal) was ceded to the British East India Company under the Sugauli Treaty of 1816 when the Anglo-Nepalese War (1814-1816) ended.

Before the war, Nepal had annexed from the Tistha River including West Bengal and Sikkim in the east to Himanchal and Uttrakhanda such as Kumaon, Dehradun, Shimla, Kangra, etc. Sutlej River to the west. Even today, great majority inhabitants of these territories are Nepali-speakers whose population belong more than 6 million. The article 8 of the treaty 1950 superseded all previous treaties, agreements and engagements signed between the East India Company and the Government of Nepal. However, Nepal did not get back its lost territories.

India wanted to establish Nepal as a dependent state since it had ousted the British colonial regime. It did not want Nepal to have independent foreign relations. Nepal forced the Indian military mission to leave Nepal. It also discontinued circulation of Indian currency and launched Nepal’s own currency.

Nepal protested annexation of Sikkim to the Union of India in 1975, claiming Sikkim to be a part of Greater Nepal. In 1975, the late King Birendra had proposed Nepal to be recognized internationally as a “zone of peace” which had received by 1990, support of 112 countries, including that of China and Pakistan. India remained silent on this count despite repeated proposals put forward by Nepal.

Nepal pressed for considerable separate trade and transit treaties which succeeded in 1978. However, Nepal refused to accommodate a single trade and transit treaty against India’s wishes. This led to a serious economic blockade against Nepal that finally fuelled restoration of a multiparty democracy in late April 1990. The economic blockade was the result of weapons taken from China on the personal initiative of late King Birendra in 1988.

Two films, Kalapani and Dasgaja, tell the story of the tribulations and insecurity faced by the Nepalis. They focus on the no man’s land between Nepal and India where boundaries are affected by rivers changing course. They tell the story of people who go to sleep in the night in Nepal but when they wake up the next morning, they find themselves in India.

There are frequent reports of Indian authorities harassing Nepali nationals at the customs, subjecting them to physical torture and meting out degrading treatment to women entering Nepali territories, arresting Nepali nationals without permission from Nepal’s security forces, etc. This has created tremendous antipathy against India.

On successful mediation by India, the Seven Party Alliance (SPA), the constitutional forces and the Maoists revolutionaries signed a historic and unprecedented 12-point memorandum of understanding in New Delhi on November 22, 2005. The understanding became instrumental in restoration of peace and democracy for elections to a Constituent Assembly to establish a Federal Republic of Nepal. The uprising in 2006 ousted the autocratic rule of the then King Gyanendra and abolished the monarchy. However, the role of India was discouraging as it wanted to keep the monarch and give him some kind of a constitutional role despite the mood of the people. The invitation to the UNMIN and its establishment increased the resentment of India which had a vested interest in the entire peace process including army integration.

India informally proposed the Maoists party its full-fledged moral, technical and financial support to integrate, manage and rehabilitate their army. The relationship between the Indians and the Maoists party started to deteriorate when the Maoists denied the proposal.

On December 28, 2009, the Indian Army Chief Deepak Kapoor, advising Nepal’s army chief Chhatraman Singh Gurung, said that the Maoist guerrillas should not be merged with the Nepali Army as they would politicize the national army. The Maoist party said that this was naked intervention in Nepal’s internal affairs and asked the Indian government to clarify its position. Kapoor’s remarks have become a principal reason for the Maoists to launch a nation-wide anti-India campaign.

The Maoists want to eliminate India from Nepal’s power and politics. Prachanda who has held more than a dozen formal and informal meetings with the Indian ambassador at his premiership has stated that the present coalition is a robot-controlled government managed by India and is serving Indian interests, but the Nepali government is silent on such allegations.

Nepali society has displayed anti-Indian sentiments for a long time. Nationalism generally emphasizes the collective identity of all castes and ethnicities. In collective identities, people must be free, autonomous, united, should coexist and express the national culture. The Nepali nation has experienced a huge discrepancy between the rich and poor, men and women, castes and ethnicities, cultures and languages and religions and regions. It will only be a united nation when its leadership protects its sovereignty, integrity and independence. National sovereignty must be homegrown, developed and decided by the country’s own citizens and not neighboring power centers.


20 responses to “Struggling For Nepal’s True Sovereignty”

  1. Sahayogi Avatar

    Bishnuji it’s not important to hang your degree at the end of your name, instead we write Dr. just before your name. You wanted to make the readers know that a Phd holder supports Maoist but to me it’s like Baburam Bhattarai who doesn’t have a common sense and you have no difference. Many times in your story you have given emphasis to the speech of Prachanda and other such murderes but have you ever thought what type of devastation they have done to your country? They have brought a communal difference between the Nepalese society which actually is one of the main factors for voilence. How many innocent lives have they killed? How many women have become widow? How many children have become orphans? How many children became orphan before their birth? Did you ever fight for justice for what Maoist did to these common people? You also fall in the same catagory, so what good will you do?

    You have talked about India about grabbing Nepalese’s land but you can do nothing if India grabs more Nepalese’s land because you do not know the way to do. Your shoutings against India at the borders or on the street doesn’t make any change. It’s not like two neighbours in a village quarreling for the border disputes of their lands.Think you can never fight with India. The way maoists do their activities seems to be like that I have read in History, uncivilized, barbarians, kidnappers, murderers and rascals.

    A person who is really commited to the welfare of one’s country and the people then he/she shouldn’t threaten these people if they do not listen to them. And you with a Phd degree is no different than junglis. You can see the people’s fate in North Korea and Cuba. You better see the world then to support 15th century’s idology to supress people.

  2. Indian Avatar

    We have seen what Nepal’s so called independent foreign policy from India has achieved. of the 65 lakh crore of fake foreign currency in India 90% originated from Nepal. The IC 814 hijacking was carried out from Nepali soil. Which sovereign government will allow terrorists, drug smugglers to operate on its soil. These problems will become worse when maoists come to power. Moreover talk of greater nepal is bullshit as all areas of greater nepal were under kingdoms the rajput ranas whom the maoists want to oust. There was no nation called nepal then , there was a kingdom of nepal under ranas who are no longer relevant

  3. Pant,Dibakar,MN Avatar

    Thanks Sahayogi for realistic great comment.Your comment bears both valid and moral points that’s why it seems that the comment has been successful in representating the views of many.The valid and meaningful points raised in the comment needs to be thought seriously for the brighter and secured future of Nepal.Jay Nepal !

  4. Sagarmatha Avatar

    Hey Indian,

    Are you ashamed of the fact that some of the terrorists who attacked Mumbai in Nov 2008 came to and lived in your country for a few days before striking? There are numerous bomb blasts happening all over India, Pune being the latest. Don’t you feel like killing yourself because those bombs weren’t thrown from Nepal but were blasted by the men who lived in your own country? Who killed Indira Gandhi? M G? RG? And who are killing so many innocent Indian people all over Jharkhand, West Bengal and other states in the name of eradicating Maoism? Aren’t you ashamed that you housed or housing so many terrorists?

    You talk of IC 814! That was hijacked BECAUSE that was INDIAN. No other planes have been hijacked from Kathmandu, before or after. So the problem is with you Indian dude, not with us. They were your enemies, not ours.

    And you take about fake Indian currency. Who are using them? YOU, asshole, you, not US, Nepalis. Ask, Why your government is so inept in controlling that menace? Like the terrorists of Mumbai attack, fake money comes either via sea or printed inside India with the involvement of your corrupt system and leaders. Get yourself a mirror dude and find yourself there.

    And for Greater Nepal. Nepal was an independent and sovereign country even when you Indians were treated like DOGS by your British masters. While you cowardly waged your tail between your legs Nepalis fought British bravely and were never controlled. During that war, governed by a treaty that was nulled by the unequal treaty of 1950, Nepal seceded the land that is now under Indian union. We are asking that land back, not your Delhi or Mumbai.

  5. Crystal Clear Avatar
    Crystal Clear

    Just as house is a home when there is order, fulfillment of responsibilitis and obligations by each and every members so is a nation. India is not to be blamed for trouble we create and then seek their divine support (12 point agreement). Who does not seek a pound of flesh for the service they render.

    As for tilt to the left by so-called intellectuals in Nepal. They have the tendency of Jackyall and hide- they never show true colors coz they have none. Just listen to Devendra Pandey and Dixits bagal- they epitomize the plunder and saying ” Jun thal ma bhat kancha thehi thal ma thuk cha.”

  6. P Avatar

    Bishnuji, thank you for writing this, and I apologize for offensive comments that attack you and your supposed associations rather not your argument.

    I would like to present one idea though:
    Having an anti-India rhetoric is not good enough for Nepal’s sovereignty. An anti-India rhetoric requires India to respond and in fact, places India (as a hated figure) in an argument and effort that is trying to wean Nepal off India’s teat. In an effort to assert Nepali sovereignty. What our leaders and we as a people have not been able to do is position ourselves, and talk about our sovereignty, and India’s encroachment, without attacking India and stopping there.

    My thoughts are not concrete, because I have not formed them. But I see a problem is saying ‘India you are hurting us’ and sort of stopping there, half waiting for India to respond. The charge will never be led by India, the party benefitting from all of this. The charge must be led by us.

  7. binay Avatar


    my nepali brother before abusing indians you must know in india our nepali traeted as the brother that they are at home not that they are foreingers…. india and nepal has relations that no any country has in the world. …every country has enemy.if any one is our enemy that dosent mean that they target us from nepal…ic814 we are not questioning any involvement of neplease,,, we are just have the issues regarding security should be an international standard….every one in world knows that india and nepal are peace loving nation freindly,historic relation from decades….. traveling in each other country are so easy that you are traveling in your own country….knowing this enemies always tries to use this thing…….. we can not compromise with our security weather he is indian or nepali earlier borders was regularly use by crimnals,smuglers of india and nepal…i thing our open borders are more dangerous now days due to terrorist activity against each other….i think now is the time to strenthen the security around borders from india and nepal that it should no be used by terrorist.

    1. Sagarmatha Avatar

      binaya, i agree with you that both countries need to give more attention to cross border criminal activities. india is already spending a lot and sending more border secuirty forces that are not quite popular among Nepalis living in border areas for their highhandedness in many occasions. so the indians have to take note of that. first they should make the people happy then only they get cooperation in their effort against criminal elements.

      as for your argument that nepalis are treated like brothers in india, that’s kind of true and the same applies with indians in nepal. but the bitter fact remains that nepalis are involved in very humiliating jobs in india day and night.. .whatever they get is lowly paid and humiliating jobs of chowkidars and servers in dhabas. i wish to see a day when nepal creates jobs for its citizens and stops sending them to the indain ocean.

      since we don’t have ocean, we are landlocked. your country india, being a big country and a democracy, should be helping nepal get developed. why india hesitates to provide nepal with transit access that is ensured by the international transit laws? why is india not allowing nepal and bangladesh do business? why is india not letting bhutanese refugees go back to their country? why india creates obstruction of various kinds in nepali politics or other aspects of society to stop chinese investment in nepal? india should stop playing such games and trust nepal and let it prosper. a prosperous nepal is always better for the interest of india. when we prosper, and if india plays role in that, we will be very happy to help india in its security needs.

  8. subhash Avatar

    my freind

    open border between india and nepal was the symbol of freindship days these are mainly used by terrorist….i thing open border matter should be reveived by the both govt and it should be closed with visa entryonly and nepali or indian should permited in each other country for limited time with visa.

  9. demoncracy Avatar

    Sadly I see 1 thing in common both are hardheads.

    Yes so many reasons against India. Border porose and the air as well.

    Life goes on it is an interdependent world, all ideologies eventually fail, leave alone isms. The real problem is we all getting a reality shock with or without Dr Ph d.
    Remember Russia, Albania, Vietnam, etcetera.
    Why call urselves mao make it larger democratic movement. Matrika Yadav always makes us laugh at least.

  10. Pratap Avatar

    Sagarmatha, Bravo. Good points. Indian will never improve its dog mind set towards its neighbors. That is the reason south aisa has always problem. Look at Srilanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh and every where, there are problems because of these Indians. These dogs want disturbances in neighboring countries to show supermacy. Nepal Maoists were nurtured by these dogs when Nepal government was trying to control. Nepalese borders are encroched by these dogs in different places simply because they wanted to give trouble to the neighbor country. There are many more. If they want real friendship they need to give up all kinds of game plans.

  11. demoncracy Avatar

    Games is nepalese I do not believe injuns are so much into games they crush their own naxalites.

  12. DR. W Avatar
    DR. W

    The author seems to be a Prachanda fan and seems to coolly forget that he never spoke against India while he was in power in governemt- infact quite the opposite he was praising them. I’m afraid we really donot have anyone who does not to some degree fall to the beck and call from India. Infact just as the maos accuse Katwal of being Mahendras raised boy and correctly so- so too is Prachanda and gang Indias kept pet – they were well looked after by the Indians and besides lip service rhetoric (we have caught on tape some maoist leaders including Nayankaji shaking hands with SSB border patrol of India when he was supposed to be protesting). I’m afraid maoists have done more destruction to Nepal then INdia ever has. Infact they have made Nepal the weakest it ever has been and if there is an Indian design this is when 9it is the easiest for them to act – no thanks to the maos.

  13. Rabin Avatar

    The anti-Indian campaign in Nepal should be analyzed in the context of India’s role and Nepal’s stand. India has given top priority to its own territorial integrity, security and national sovereignty. Due to the fragile security situation and the long transition phase, Nepal has been fertile ground for terrorist activities and the fake currency racket. India fears that rifles lost in the 1962 Sino-India war may have reached the Indian Maoists via Nepal’s Maoists. Besides, people living on the India-Nepal border are desperately poor, which makes smuggling an attractive activity on both sides. The Nepal-India border of 1,751 km is largely unguarded, unmarked and highly porous.

  14. subhash Avatar


    before commenting on any country or indians mind set,you must remeber in india large number of people from nepal working living hapilly we dont hurt them we dont abuse them niether we hurt or insulted nepali pandit in our mandirs ….we treat you guys as are brother in our country…… we respect your country like we respect our….dont forget my freind….india nepal brotherhood relations are from era…. when i say that i mean people of two countries freindship is a record in world….commenting on any country pls no the ground facts…..sri lanka,pakistan,bangladesh,nigeria,zimbabwe,palestine,israel,north korea,khazakistan,afghanistan,iraq,iran etc etc and the list just go on…. these all countries have there own disputes,terrosim,crime,now pls dont see india involvement in this…i know india also has our own disputes but our (present) govt are ready to talk with all of them….we are peace loving nation like you guys… one is perfect in this world my dear freind…..

  15. binay Avatar

    sagarmatha,yes you are right that many nepali labour do work of chowkidari,dhabas etc but same indians local in large number also do the same…many big corprates company all around india has nepali origin as there senior excutives….and some nepali origin people do there own bussness in all country.refugees from srilanka,bhutan,tibet etc are in large numbers in our country,they have there disputes with there country.we can not throw them out of country.all what we can do is ensure there safe stay in our country.yes we have some disputes with china mainly because of tibetans refugges…thats why it is very obbious that we dont want to see china nepal,as u guys are our oldest freind. but that is our point view,we didnt stop china from investing in nepal.and india can do nothing in this regard china investing in is between nepal and china.what we guys can do is investing in nepal and i am sure there is many indian industries in nepal and many indian company want to invest in nepal..but due to lack of govt stability,so many political parties,strikes regurlary union(moist)who are against indian industries investment indian worker…infrastructre is the key for any investment..and then some news come from nepal that an pandit is attacked in pashupati nath temple only because he is an indian….this was shocking. terroism is the main problem in world today as you also aware and my freind india is also affected with that…we are fighting with the terrorism as our country united against this issue..all what india requires from nepal is fair freindship not only with nepali govrement but the people as well,like in past we have…

  16. Crystal Clear Avatar
    Crystal Clear

    You cannot choose neighbor but to safeguard your interest- it is vitally important to be strong internally which our leaders have failed miserabally. They sing praise when they get help to promote themselves and cry foil if its other way around. They have created dependency by default and now nothing gets done without the blessing. Hypothetical demise of Monarchy must be pinching them now but can they speak the truth- they just cannot handle the truth.

  17. Rajan Avatar

    To Indian

    All of those acts you mentioned involved INDIAN nationals committing crimes against India. We don’t want those people in our country. However the governments that YOU PEOPLE have set up following the 1990 and 2006 movements are weak and unable to handle such problems.

    As much as it pains me to say it, and even though they would be as corrupt as any other political party in power, only the Maoists would be capable to fight cross-border terrorism. But India doesn’t want them in power, mainly due to false belief that they will collaborate with the Chinese.

    Which brings up another point. You Indians need to do your research. Prachanda, Baburam, and the rest were in INDIA, being harbored by INDIAN COMMUNIST GROUPS during the war. The INDIAN GOVERNMENT was unwilling to take action against the Maoists, even though they regarded them as terrorists during that time.

    Don’t believe me?

    Here is one of your newspapers alluding to the incident in the paragraph underneath the picture of Girija Prasad Koirala and Madhav Nepal.

    Imagine what would happen to us if Dawood Ibrahim meet some Indian in a hotel in Biratnagar?

  18. Rajan Avatar

    As for Bhisnuji, even though you appear to be a Maoist, I agree with 80% of what you said. However let’s face the facts here. Prachanda was and is again ready to be India’s man in Nepal. He was willing to accommodate every request of India, even though the establishment there didn’t trust him. If he could do things over again, I’m sure that he wouldn’t have picked a fight with Katawal, which displeased the Indian establishment and led to his downfall.

  19. Some one from India Avatar
    Some one from India

    Using abusive language against us (Indian nationals) and ridiculing our country is perhaps most easy job to do sitting idle in fron of a PC. Its frustrating when I see that you only give examples to those nepalis working as chowkidars in dhaba and offices in India. Why cant you give examples of those Nepalis who work in MNCs like Wipro and TATA and CTS? even Nepalis are working for govt in India as well. There are many Nepalis working as respectable managers in several Indian companies. Nepalis are treated like brothers and not “DOGs” here. Indias foreign policy may be faulty, but is there any country in this world which does right things always? even Nepal? But because of Indias foreign policy if some one try to abuse Indian nationals and their hospitality then I must say that person is a mean, racist and a devil, even if he is Nepali. Not unreasonably two bloggers here have already done so by expressing their gratitude by saying “Dog” to Indians. I think those two are elegible for the title UNDERDOGS and perhaps working as chowkidars at Nepal-China border, serving their master Chinese…

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