Category Archives: Foreign Affairs

नि हाओ नेपाल !

ni hao nepal Kantipur front page

नेपालमा कसरी बढ्दै गएको छ चिनीयाँ रुचि, लगानी र व्यापार, अनि त्यसले कसरी बढाउदै छ राजनीतिक र सामाजिक प्रभाव ? [This article, titled “Ni Hao Nepal!” and published in today’s Kantipur looks into the growing Chinese investment and trade in Nepal and how that’s expanding China’s political and cultural clout in Nepal.]

दिनेश वाग्ले

प्रधानमन्त्री बाबुराम भट्टराईले चिनियाँ प्रधानमन्त्री पुस ५ मा नेपाल आउने घोषणा गरे पनि भनिएकै समयमा उनी नआउने भएका छन् । तर पछिल्ला केही वर्षको प्रवृत्ति नियाल्दा प्रधानमन्त्री नआउँदैमा नेपालमा चिनियाँ चासो घट्ने देखिन्न । काठमाडौंमा रहेका केही चिनियाँ र चीनलाई नियाल्ने नेपालीका अनुसार अबका केही वर्ष चिनियाँहरू अझै बढी पैसा, सामान र सम्भवतः राजनीतिक प्रभाव पनि लिएर नेपाल छिर्दैछन् ।

[UWB note:  and looks at the growing Chinese investment, cultural influence and the political/strategic influence in Nepal as well as Nepal’s rising trade deficit with its northern neighbor.]

बढ्दो व्यापार, बढ्दो घाटा

चिनियाँ नेता देङ सियाओ पिङले १९७८ मा आर्थिक सुधार कार्यक्रम लागू गरेपछि उन्नति गर्न थालेको चीनले ठ्याक्कै १० वर्षअघि विश्व व्यापार संगठनमा छिरेर अन्तर्राष्ट्रिय व्यापारमा दरिलो यात्रा थालेको थियो । ‘त्यसपछि धेरै चिनियाँ बाहिर निस्कन र अरू देशमा आएर व्यापार गर्न थाले,’ २८ वर्षे चिनियाँ शी सानले भनिन्, जो डेढ वर्षदेखि पति हुङसँग मिलेर काठमाडौंको बिजुलीबजारमा एउटा चिनियाँ रेस्टुरेन्ट र होटलसमेत चलाइरहेकी छन् । ३५ लाख जति नेपाली रुपैयाँको लगानीमा खोलेको रेस्टुरेन्टबाट सन्तुष्ट शीले भनिन्, ‘यहाँको वातावरण पनि एकदम राम्रो, मेरो गृहसहरको भन्दा ।’ Continue reading नि हाओ नेपाल !

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प्रधानमन्त्री बाबुराम भट्टराईका सय दिन

one hundred days of prime minister baburam bhattarai
प्रधानमन्त्री भट्टराईको कार्यकालका प्रथम तीन महिनामा शान्ति प्रकृयामा प्रगति भयो, शुसासनको धज्जी उड्यो, कुटनीतिमा उनलाई केही सफलता मिल्यो । नराम्रा कामको अपजस सबै उनैलाई जानु स्वभाविकै भयो तर राम्रोको जस उनलाईमात्र जादैन ।

नेपाली सेनाको तत्परता, माओवादीको लचकता, भारतीय शुभेच्छा र कांग्रेस-एमालेको चाहना एकैठाउँमा आउँदाको सुखद परिणाम हो बितेका साताहरूमा शान्ति प्रक्रियामा भएको प्रगति 

Two faces of Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai
प्रधानमन्त्री बाबुराम भट्टराईका दुई पाटा : ठ्याक्कै तीन महिना अघि सेप्टेम्बर ३ मै मैले भट्टराईको व्यक्तित्वका विरोधाभाष खोतलेको थिएँ। पढ्नेभए फोटोमा क्लिके हुन्छ ।

दिनेश वाग्ले
वाग्ले स्ट्रिट जर्नल
यो लेख आजको कान्तिपुरमा प्रकाशित भएको हो । पत्रिकाकै पन्नामा पढ्ने भए यहाँ क्लिके हुन्छ : (पीडीएफ पहिलो पेज१४  पेज । चित्रकारुपमा हेर्ने भित्र/तल) 

खोप्लाङ, गोर्खाका बाबुराम भट्टराईले प्रधानमन्त्रीका रूपमा यो साता बालुवाटार, काठमान्डुमा सय दिने मधुमास पूरा गर्दैछन् । सामान्य अवस्थामा उनको कार्यावधिको मूल्यांकन आगामी मंगलबार थालिनुपर्ने हो । तर कतिपय रुष्ट नेपालीहरूले आफ्ना ३५ औं प्रधानमन्त्रीको राजीनामा अहिल्यै मागिसकेका छन् ।

‘बाबुराम, पद छाड’ भन्नेहरूको त्यो सूचीमा विपक्षी दलहरूका नेता र आफ्नै पार्टीभित्रका ‘खुट्टा तान्ने कमरेडहरू’ मात्रै भए त्यसलाई राजनीतिक दाउपेचको एउटा अस्वाभाविक उदाहरण भन्दै अस्वीकार गर्न हुन्थ्यो । तर यहाँ दुई महिनाअघिसम्म ५७ वर्षे भट्टराईलाई ‘हृदयका राजा’, ‘आशाका केन्द्र’ र ‘आइडल’ जस्ता प्रेम र प्रशंसाका शब्दहरू बर्साउने कतिपयले नै सबैभन्दा ठूलो मन्त्रिमण्डल बनाएको, हत्यारालाई माफी दिन खोजेको, प्रशासनयन्त्रलाई ‘ध्वस्त’ बनाएको भन्दै गाली गरेका छन् । प्रशंसकहरू निराश हुँदै उनलाई आफ्नो अपेक्षाविपरीत, अघिल्ला प्रधानमन्त्रीहरूजस्तै, निष्प्रभावी र ‘उही ड्याङका मूला’ भन्न थालेका छन् भने आलोचक र शंकालुहरू चाहिँ ‘मैले त भनेकै थिएँ नि’ जस्ता शब्दावलीबाट कुरा थाल्छन् ।

‘पहिले घरभित्र पसेर अवस्था के छ भन्ने नबुझी उहाँले बोल्नुभयो, मान्छेहरूले आशा गरे,’ पूर्वप्रशासक तथा पूर्वप्रमुख निर्वाचन आयुक्त भोजराज पोखरेलले भने, ‘अर्थमन्त्रीका रूपमा बनेको उहाँको राम्रो छविमा आधारित भएर जनताले उहाँबाट बढी नै आशा गरे । व्यक्तिगत रूपमा उहाँ अहिले पनि बदनाम हुनुभएको छैन । ‘भट्टराईले यसो गरे, उसो गरे, खाए’ भन्ने सुनिएको छैन । शान्ति प्रक्रिया टुंगिने बाटोमा बढेको छ, त्यसको जस उहाँलाई जाला । तर शासनलाई राम्रो पाटोमा लैजान र नतिजा देखाउने सन्दर्भमा उहाँ असफल हुनुभयो ।’ Continue reading प्रधानमन्त्री बाबुराम भट्टराईका सय दिन

Chinese Prime Minister Will Come to Nepal in December

wen jiabao
Wen Jiabao

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao is arriving in Kathmandu on December 20 on a three-day visit, Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai said on Tuesday. “After the visit of the Chinese Premier, I will visit China,” PM Bhattarai told a select group of journalists. Wen will be the highest-ranking official to visit from Nepal’s immediate neighbours—India and China—since 2001. Earlier, Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji visited Nepal in 2001 and Chinese President Jiang Zemin in 1996.

However, Wen’s detailed itinerary is in the process of finalisation and  Nepali officials have begun consultation to prepare agendas to be raised during the Chinese Premier’s visit. Continue reading Chinese Prime Minister Will Come to Nepal in December

माओवादी-भारत सम्बन्ध: पहिले विस्तारवाद, अहिले अवसरवाद

Bistarbad..Absarbad

दिनेश वाग्ले
वाग्ले स्ट्रिट जर्नल
यो लेख आजको कान्तिपुर मा प्रकाशित भएको हो । पत्रिकाकै पन्नामा हेर्ने भए यहाँ क्लिके हुन्छ । 

प्रधानमन्त्रीका रूपमा माओवादी नेता बाबुराम भट्टराई भारतको औपचारिक भ्रमणमा रहेको यो अवस्थामा नेपालमा विपक्षी कांग्रेसका नेताहरू हात बाँधेर मुस्काइरहेका छन् । उनीहरूको त्यो मुस्कुराइ झन्डै १५ वर्षअघिको एउटा सानो जस्तो लाग्ने घटना र त्यसपछिका भयङ्करजस्ता लाग्ने थुप्रै अन्य घटनामा अडिएको छ । २०५२ माघ २९ गते झ्याम्म दाह्री पालेका एकजना ‘रिसाहा अधबैंसे’ ले त्यतिबेलाका कांग्रेसी प्रधानमन्त्री शेरबहादुर देउवासमक्ष ४० वटा माग प्रस्तुत गर्दै ती फागुन ५ गतेसम्म पूरा नभए ‘सशक्त संघर्षको बाटोमा’ हिँड्ने चेतावनी दिएका थिए । ती माग पूरा हुने नहुने टुङ्गो नलाग्दै र आफैंले तोकेको समयसीमाको बेवास्ता गर्दै ती व्यक्ति फागुन एकमै भूमिगत भए कमरेड लालध्वजका रूपमा तत्कालीन राज्यसत्ताविरुद्ध त्यही दिन सुरु भएको सशस्त्र युद्धमा सामेल हुन । ती लालध्वज, धेरैलाई थाहा छ, यिनै भट्टराई हुन् जसले (र, उनको पार्टी माओवादीले) १५ वर्षपछि भारतसँग सम्बन्धित सुरुका नौ मागलाई पूरै बिर्सन खोजेको जबरजस्त अभिनय गरिरहेका छन् । ४० मध्ये कतिपय माग ०६२/०६३ को जनआन्दोलनले पूरा गरायो तर त्यो सूचीमा रहेका नम्बर एकदेखि नौसम्मका माग अहिले पनि पूरा भएका छैनन् । पूरा गराउने कुर्सीमा माओवादीका अध्यक्ष पुष्पकमल दाहाल नौ महिना बसिसेका छन् भने लाजध्वज त्यो कुर्सीमा बसेको आठौं हप्ता भएको छ । Continue reading माओवादी-भारत सम्बन्ध: पहिले विस्तारवाद, अहिले अवसरवाद

Prime Minister Baburam in India: Agreements Signed and Some Photos Clicked

Baburam Bhattarai and Man Mohan Singh
Baburam Bhattarai and Man Mohan Singh

Nepal, India ink two major deals including BIPPA

  • BIPPA a calculated gamble: PM

By Akhilesh Upadhyay and Mahesh Acharya
in The Kathmandu Post

Nepal and India singed two major agreements, including the much-talked about Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPPA), here late on Friday (yesterday). This brings to a close days of hectic negotiations and speculations over the fate of BIPPA, which India has sought to protect security for its investments in Nepal.

Minster for Industry Anil Kumar Jha and Indian Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee signed the agreement at Hyderabad House, the government venue for high-level negotiations in India. Prime Minister Baburam Bhattrai and his counterpart Manmohan Singh were present at the signing.

The two sides also agreed to a $250-million line of credit to finance infrastructure projects such as highways, airports and bridges. The credit line was announced during President Ram Baran Yadav’s state visit to Delhi last year. In the run-up to the visit, PM Bhattarai is known to have pitched for a $1 billion and was expecting even more, government sources said. India responded positively, according to officials. Continue reading Prime Minister Baburam in India: Agreements Signed and Some Photos Clicked

Tracking the Indian Ambassador to Nepal: Jayant Prasad-2

Nice shoe your excellency.

Indian Ambassador Jayant Prasad with Nepali Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai
Nice Shoes Mr. Ambassador! Indian or Italian?: Indian Ambassador Jayant Prasad, left, with Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai. BTW, check out a photo below for a meet between two Prime Ministers of Nepal and India when MKN was PM in Nepal. Unfortunately, no shoe show off ceremony will be noticed.

Previous post: Tracking the Indian Ambassador in Nepal: Jayant Prasad-1

SEP 13: Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai summoned Indian Ambassador Jayant Prasad at his office and discussed the possibility of rescinding the Patna High Court verdict in which it slapped jail terms and fines on 11 senior Maoists leaders. “The PM inquired the envoy how the Indian government would manage to dismiss the conviction by a court,” PM’s Press Adviser Ram Rijan Yadav said. The PHC has slapped sentences varying from two years in jail to six years and fines ranging from IRs 375,000 to IRs 700,000 on Nepali Maoist leaders in absentia on the charges of indulging in activities against what it called ‘sovereignty of India and Nepal’. Continue reading Tracking the Indian Ambassador to Nepal: Jayant Prasad-2

Tracking the Indian Ambassador in Nepal: Jayant Prasad

Jayant Prasad Indian Ambassador in Nepal
The new Indian Ambassador to Nepal, Jayant Prasad, presented his letter of credentials to President Dr Ram Baran Yadav on 26 August.

Ambassadors are the most visible faces of Indian diplomacy in Nepal and they are not always thought to be pursuing diplomacy. Some, like the current ambassador Jayant Prasad’s immediate predecessor Rakesh Sood, was widely believed to be one of the worst examples of Indian intervention and failed diplomacy in Nepal. While in India (or in their Ministry of External Affairs) these people are normal employees, diplomats who don’t attract much attention unless they are involved in major scandal or become foreign secretary. But as soon as they land in Kathmandu with the coveted portfolio of the Indian ambassador for Nepal they become celebrities. Media extensively covers the Indian Ambassadors movements and decisions in Nepal and give high priority to anything that is related to an Indian envoy. That is largely because the Indian ambassadors “implement” the enormously influential Indian policy in Nepal- some by diplomatically and some by offensively interventionist ways.  Rarely in the world ambassadors get to hobnob with prime ministers and top leaders of a host country like the Indian ambassadors do with the Nepali leadership. Because of all these factors, we at UWB have decided to keep track of the Indian ambassador in Kathmandu as far as possible. Here are some headlines  that give enough idea about the arrival of the current ambassador and his activities in the first week since he assumed office in August 26.

Continue reading Tracking the Indian Ambassador in Nepal: Jayant Prasad

Baburam Bhattarai Wanted to Meet the US Ambassador’s Rep in 2003…

…thinking that the Ambassador himself may not meet him. How times of have changed! The American Ambassador has gone to meet him, most recently, two days ago Baburam became the Prime Minister. 

US diplomatic cables as revealed by Wikileaks. Report by John Narayan Parajuli

US officials saw Maoist Vice Chairman Baburam Bhattarai (who is not the Priem Minister of Nepal) as the party’s “most authoritative wordsmith,” and took serious note of both his aboveground appearance in 2003 and the missive he sent to the US embassy requesting a meeting the same year.

Bhattarai’s movement and remarks appeared to be closely monitored by the US embassy, especially after his arrival in the Capital on March 28, 2003 for talks with the Sher Bahadur Deuba government. This was the first time Bhattarai emerged in the Capital in full public view, since the beginning of the insurgency in 1996. Continue reading Baburam Bhattarai Wanted to Meet the US Ambassador’s Rep in 2003…

Dining with an Indian spy, former king Gyanendra proposes revival of monarchy

Amid escalating uncertainties regarding the extension of Constituent Assembly (CA)’s term, Former King Gyanendra Shah has proposed the revival of monarchy in the nation.

It is learnt that Shah, in a dinner meeting convened with Alok Joshi, official of an Indian intelligence agency, said that assistance will be sought from the Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal (RPP-N), among other parties, to revive monarchy in one form or the other, provided that the CA’s term is not extended in the nation, according to eKantipur.

Parties rooting for monarchy will initiate protests within a few days if the CA is dissolved, sources close to the former king informed.

Here’s a report, in Nepali, by Sarojraj Adhikari in Thursday’s Kantipur daily about Research and Analysis Wing’s officer Alok Joshi’s activities in Kathmandu in the past week: Continue reading Dining with an Indian spy, former king Gyanendra proposes revival of monarchy

American Cablegate: US-Indian Cooperation And Military Assistance to Nepal

Viewing cable 03KATHMANDU280, US-INDIAN COOPERATION AND MILITARY ASSISTANCE TO
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Reference ID: 03KATHMANDU280
Created: 2003-02-14 05:05
Released: 2011-03-15 00:12
Classification:SECRET//NOFORN
Origin: Embassy Kathmandu

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 04 KATHMANDU 000280

SIPDIS

NOFORN

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/13/2013
TAGS: PGOV PREL PTER IN NP
SUBJECT: US-INDIAN COOPERATION AND MILITARY ASSISTANCE TO NEPAL

REF: A. A. 02 NEW DELHI 6938 B. B. NEW DELHI 267 C. C. NEW DELHI 641

Classified By: DEPUTY CHIEF OF MISSION ROBERT K. BOGGS. REASONS: 1.5 (B AND D)

¶1. (C) Summary: US security assistance to Nepal has brought the ancillary advantage to the US of providing a new arena for fruitful US-Indian dialogue and collaboration. Top Indian diplomats in Kathmandu clearly appreciate not only US support for common US-Indian security objectives in Nepal, but also the unprecedented frequency and candor of our bilateral discussions of Nepal-related issues. Indian military intelligence officers in Kathmandu, however, are openly and persistently uncomfortable with US sales of lethal equipment — and M16s in particular — to the Royal Nepal Army. The following describes a recent discussion with Indian civilian and military officers that provides some insights into varied Indian attitudes toward US security policy here. Embassy Kathmandu remains convinced that US and UK arms sales to Nepal — although modest in quantity and basic in technology — have played a disproportionately influential role in persuading Maoist leaders to agree to a cease-fire and negotiations with the Government of Nepal (GON). We believe our security assistance policy remains valid, and that it offers a continuing opportunity to reinforce growing US-Indian mil-mil cooperation and engender greater bilateral confidence. Positive Indian involvement clearly is key to any longer-term resolution of Nepal’s political and security problems, so it is important that US diplomacy with India accelerate along with our security assistance to this beleaguered kingdom. End summary.

¶2. (C) DCM and DATT met on February 4 with their Indian counterparts to discuss issues raised by the Indian Ambassador concerning US sales of M16 rifles to Nepal. Indian Ambassador Shyam Saran had asked Ambassador Malinowski several days earlier what plans the US had for providing assault rifles to the Royal Nepal Army (RNA). He needed to know how many rifles the US plans eventually to provide, he explained, because he could not justify India’s continuing to supply INSAS rifles if the US were planning to meet Nepal’s needs in this regard. Although Ambassador Malinowski, the DCM and our DATT meet frequently with their Indian counterparts, and have developed unprecedented transparency in their discussions of such formerly sensitive issues as security assistance, this was the first time the DCM and DATT had participated in a joint meeting at the Indian Embassy.

¶3. (C) DCM and DATT began the discussion by explaining the complexity of the US security assistance process, emphasizing that none of the money appropriated in FY 02 for security assistance for Nepal has yet been spent on any military hardware or training. So far, they explained, the USG has committed only to selling the RNA — using GON funds — two orders each of 5000 M16s. The remaining 2000 rifles of the first order (which was submitted by the RNA in May 2002) should be delivered in the next month or two, but the delivery date of the second 5000 is still uncertain. Although the Nepali press persists in reporting that the US eventually with provide 55,000 rifles, this has not been agreed. The DCM pointed out that the US has committed also to providing night vision devices, pilot protective gear, and communication equipment, but these non-lethal items have not been manufactured yet and might take a year or two to deliver. In contrast, the DATT and DCM pointed out, the Government of India (GOI) has been providing Nepal with an accelerating stream of rifles and other military equipment. In our view, India’s leading role in providing military assistance to Nepal is consistent with its proximity, long history of assistance, and strong strategic interest in the security of the Himalayan region. The DCM underscored that the US appreciates India’s leading role, encourages it, and has no competing long-term military objectives here.

¶4. (C) The Indian DCM, Ashok Kumar, agreed readily with the DCM’s characterization of the speed and volume of Indian security assistance to Nepal. He asserted proudly that the more encouraging military situation on the ground in the RNA’s fight with the Maoists was due completely to Indian assistance. Kumar took pointed exception to the DATT’s reference to GOI “”objections”” to US sales of M16s to Nepal. The GOI, he stressed, has no “”objections;”” it has only “”concerns.”” The GOI, he explained, is meeting the RNA’s every request for lethal equipment. It would thus make more sense, he argued, for the US to let India provide arms and concentrate instead on such equipment as night vision devices and helicopters where the US has the comparative advantage. If, however, the US intends to provide rifles, the GOI could not ask Indian taxpayers to subsidize the continuing supply to Nepal of more arms than it could effectively utilize. The DCM explained (again) that the sale of M16s was based on a PACOM assessment in April 2002 of Nepal’s most urgent military needs. If India is planning to fill those needs in the near term, the USG is prepared to revise the profile of its out-year assistance to take account of changing requirements after we meet our current obligations. The Indians refused firmly to provide specific numbers on how many INSAS rifles the GOI planned to provide. Kumar asserted that “”numbers are not important,”” and that he had no interest in getting into “”a numbers game””.

¶5. (C) The DCM and DATT countered by explaining that the USG is not pushing M16s on the Nepali Government. After our current FMF appropriation was approved in mid-2002, we asked the RNA leadership how it wanted to prioritize the use of that money — within the parameters set by the PACOM assessment. The RNA was emphatic in reiterating its request that the lion’s share of the appropriation be spent on M16s, along with some non-lethal equipment and training. The RNA was familiar with the M16 from international peacekeeping operations, knew it to be a reliable weapon, and felt that its induction into RNA ranks would be a major morale-booster. The ammunition for the M16A2, moreover, is not available in the region and is difficult to obtain on the South Asian black market, so M16s would be less problematic than Indian-manufactured weapons if they were to fall into the hands of the Maoists or Indian extremists. The DCM and DATT reiterated that the US has made no commitment to supplying all the RNA’s needs for a modern combat rifle or any other arms. We see our modest M16 sales only as a supplement to the rifles being supplied by India. With the RNA expanding rapidly toward 70,000 soldiers, its need for rifles is greater than either of our governments is likely to meet in the short term. The RNA’s decision to standardize on a few weapons from different sources was not unusual or unreasonable; in fact, this is something India itself is doing (with its purchases of specialized rifles from the US and Israel.)

¶6. (C) The DATT asked how the GOI proposed that the USG should approach the M16 issue with Nepal. After a pause with no answer from the Indians, the DATT asked whether they would want us to inform the RNA that after the current order for M16s is filled, Nepal should turn all its arms to India? Kumar again avoided giving a recommendation. He was, however, quick and categorical in rejecting the DATT’s proposal, stating that the Indian supply relationship should not become a subject for US-Nepal dialogue. Clearly, he said, the issue of arms purchases was one the Nepal Government would have to decide for itself. India would have to resolve its own assistance issues by talking directly to the Nepalis.

¶7. (C) In conclusion the DCM pointed out that the US values its strengthening military-to-military relationship with India and has no desire to complicate it with our security assistance to Nepal. On the contrary, our two governments recognize our common interests in helping Nepal to defeat its Maoist threat. The growing frequency and candor of our discussions of Nepal-related security issues are an important benefit of our improved cooperation. Nepal thus is becoming a theater for bilateral strategic cooperation rather than of competition. The Indian DCM had no final comment to offer on M16 sales and made no explicit recommendation. He concluded on a positive note by saying that we should continue our dialogue.

¶8. (S/NF) Comment: Our frequent discussions with our Indian diplomatic colleagues here in Kathmandu are inconsistent in tone. Ambassador Shyam Saran is an unusually able professional who is comfortable sharing his well-informed political and security analyses of Nepal with our Ambassador and official visitors. We find that we agree in large measure with his views, including his profound skepticism about the motives of the Maoists and his emphasis on the importance of the legal political parties supporting the government. Saran has raised questions about US arms supplies to Nepal, but without complaints or threats. DCM Kumar, an often abrasive diplomat whose pursuit of Indian interests borders on chauvinism, has become more collegial and less plaintive as we have engaged him more frequently in discussions of US security policy in Nepal. Only Defense Attache George Mathai, a long-time Gurkha officer, continues to press our DATT to minimize lethal sales to Nepal, obviously delivering prepared talking points without the benefit of supporting information.

¶9. (C) On February 11 our DATT was told that the Indian Embassy had placed a hold on the delivery of additional INSAS rifles, although the Embassy had not informed the GON yet of that. According to the DATT’s source, the GON planned eventually to transfer the Indian-made rifles to the Nepalese Armed Police, and the Embassy did not want them to recommend that more rifles be diverted from Indian forces for the subsidiary purpose. AMB Saran has confirmed this freeze on further INSAS sales, assuring us that this step was taken not in response to US arms sales, but because he believed the GON was not being candid with the GOI regarding its need for and intended use of Indian-made rifles.

¶10. Conclusions we tentatively have drawn from the discussion summarized above and numerous others like it are the following:

— (C) The GOI, like the USG, is attempting to be responsive to Nepali requests for modern combat rifles as an urgent priority. What is frustrating to the Indians is that the Nepalis have never requested India to meet their complete needs for rifles, and have indicated a preference for the M16 as their front-line weapon. For many reasons — diplomatic, economic, military and psychological — the GOI would like the RNA to be totally dependent on it for arms, although the GOI is itself moving toward some foreign military sourcing for small arms.

— (C) Indian analysts are increasingly persuaded that the Maoist movement in Nepal poses a security threat to India. Their dilemma is that they have wider and deeper interests in a secure Nepal than any other nation, but their influence in the Kingdom is constrained by a long history of bilateral tension and suspicion. Objective observers increasingly acknowledge that US security assistance and diplomatic support in Nepal are helpful for the realization of Indian objectives here during this time of turmoil.

— (C) Indian attitudes toward US security assistance to Nepal are complex. On the one hand, they are pleased by the growing transparency and collegiality of our bilateral dialogue on Nepal. On the other hand, some GOI elements here apparently are having difficulty coming to terms with growing US and UK military activism in Nepal as a conspicuous dilution of the dominance in military assistance that India has long enjoyed and defended. — (C) Given the tensions already present in Indo-Nepal relations, Indian diplomats here want assiduously to avoid complicating those relations by allowing them to become tripartite — with the US openly becoming an interlocutor in the shaping of the Indo-Nepal security relationship. We suspect that the reported decision of the GOI to hold up INSAS deliveries is another attempt by India to remind Nepal of the extent to which it is beholden to India without explicitly mentioning US arms sales.

— (S/NF) At least in Kathmandu, Indian concern about US arms sales to Nepal appears to vary significantly between its civilian and military representatives. Indian diplomats understand the importance to India of enhanced US-Indian defense collaboration, and do not want to jeopardize that, and their own dialogue with us, over so small an issue. Indian military intelligence officers, on the other hand, appear to be more focused on traditional relations and local military equations, and have been more willing to signal their discomfort about our potential competition.

¶11. (C) Comment. The best information we have seen on Maoist thinking indicates that the US and UK’s announced policy of military assistance to the GON, coupled with the first deliveries of our M16 and British-purchased helicopters, has been a major consideration in persuading the Maoist leadership to opt for a cease-fire and political negotiations. The GON has made it clear that, despite eventual peace talks, US steadfastness in providing military support — and M16s in particular — will be an important factor in keeping the Maoists at the negotiating table. Obviously, the positive exercise of Indian military aid and political influence is absolutely key to a final resolution of Nepal’s complex political and security problems. Embassy applauds efforts in New Delhi and Washington (see, for example, Delhi’s useful cable, reftel) to strengthen our constructive dialogue with India on Nepal, and intends to redouble our efforts here to build on our new strategic relationship with India as we press forward with our arms assistance to Nepal.

MALINOWSKI
[US Ambassador to Kathmandu, Nepal- Michale E. Malinowski]
Cable originally leaked by Wikileaks.