• Monday 6th April 2020

All is not well in Nepal, CPEC entrance open for India and Qatar peace talks on Afghanistan

  • Published on: January 31, 2019

  • By NP Upadhyaya
    The stage is set for a vertical split time permitting in the NCP (Nepal Communist Party) that has been ruling the country more than eleven months or so.
    Nepal is a country which has two thirds communist majority and is ruling the nation with iron clutches. A rare phenomenon in the globe in the present day that is more or less a “democratic one”. The split if not a vertical one then at least the ruling party has sown the seeds of the said split.
    But people asks are they communists in real sense of the term? The question remains valid because the Nepali communists are perhaps the number one capitalists and are presumed to have accounts in Swiss banks. The loot continues yet.
    Comrade Prachanda, as usual politically unreliable and unstable as he is, has taken the lead. He, during the absence of the nation’s Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, issuing a strong worded statement has denounced the US Administration and has made known his preference in the Venezuelan affairs which on the contrary the Government apparently has “love and honor” for the US especially after December 18, 2018 long awaited lovely meet of the Nepal Foreign minister Pradip Gyawali with Mike Pompeo in Washington D. C. The hide and seek has begun.
    The statement signed, January 25, 2019, by the Chairman of the NCP Prachanda quotes, “Nepal Communist Party (NCP) issues this statement in support of the people of Venezuela, the sovereignty of the state and the recognition of democratically elected constitutional President of Nicola Maduro.”
    Nepal Communist Party (NCP) also “opposes the act of anti-people and imperialists forces intruding Venezuela and appeals to all international community, the United Nations, and all the sovereign nations to stand for the solidarity and support of people of Venezuela in their struggle to defend the national and people’s sovereignty”.
    This communist party of Nepal statement pushes this country to the Russian-Chinese axis by default which means that Nepal has made some efforts knowingly or even unknowingly to annoy the US-the lone Super Power in the world as of now.
    Nepal matters for America and vice versa by the way.
    While the Nepal government in Kathmandu appears to have made up its mind more or less to remain glued to the US forwarded “lucrative” proposal on Indo-Pacific strategy for some substantial benefit, then Prachanda preferred to denounce the US as an “imperialist” and by poking his nose on Venezuelan affairs means that he wants to show to the world that he was a born communist which has to criticize the US as the communists residing in this part of greater South Asia do on some special occasions such as this.
    Prachanda aka PK Dahal is a novae capitalist, so claim the Prachanda-Bhattarai duo cheated Maoists militias.
    Nepal Government in an oblique manner is with US stance on Venezuela and concurrently the party is with the China-Russian camp. Very interesting alignment this. Riding two boats at a time. The pseudo Communists are born clever?
    Now let’s see how the Maoists overwhelmingly entered Nepal from New Delhi and began ruling Nepal enjoying the Indian favor directly and the Europeans backed the Indian stance.
    Some Scandinavian countries openly supported the Delhi based Nepal Maoists. Norwegian Minister Eric Solheim is on record to have assisted Comrade Prachanda.
    This reminds us of the US Ambassador James F Moriarty’s advanced and the timely warning to the Nepali Congress in February 2006 not to inch closer to the Delhi residing Nepal Maoists who have had, so believed Ambassador Moriarty, seduced the Nepali Congress to sign the Delhi drafted 12 point agreement which in effect brought the NC to the fold of the Maoists but not the otherwise as was being interpreted by the oldest party of Nepal.
    The US then was with the ruling government to which the King himself was the commander.
    In fact, it was the Indian Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran who pressed the Maoists to drag the NC to its crease and make to sign the Delhi engineered 12 point agreement which, to be candid, still haunting the Nepali people and the State for so many political reasons.
    Through the 12 point agreement India exported evils to Nepal. The evils are ruling Nepal.
    The Nepali Congress then meant GP Koirala and vice versa. Koirala was from the beginning very close to the Indian regime and the favor that he did to the Delhi residing Maoists in carrying them to Kathmandu pleased Indian regime and thus he enjoyed blessings from across the border till he was alive for free. (Rest in Peace).
    As the things stood then, the agitating seven parliamentary parties, the Indo-pendent ones that they were, entered in to the Maoists camp as had been designed by the Indian foreign secretary.
    Perhaps this sufficiently gives credence to the notion that the US in the initial days favored some sort of compromise in between the agitated seven party and the sitting monarch and carry the democratic process further as is demanded of a democratic system. However, neither the NC nor the Maoists were in control of the US then and thus India decided the fate of Nepal, Nepal monarchy and the course of country’s politics in the days ahead.
    China was a silent onlooker then and for that lapse China is repenting now hopefully.
    However, with Prachanda’s press note denouncing the US does tell that Nepal, now under the grip of the radical communists, would prefer to hate the US rather than in being of support to the Indo-Pacific strategy as expected by the lone super power.
    In doing so, Prachanda has killed two birds with a single stone: first he has discredited the Oli government in the eyes of the US administration; second, he has served India’s purpose which wants the Oli government to be led by former Delhi dweller Prachanda so that the likely high level visits from China could be easily aborted and also create fissures in the ties between the US and Nepal.
    In addition, this statement is sure to distance Prachanda and PM Oli for obvious reasons.
    Indian spin to the Nepali politics has worked.
    How the US reacts to this overture from Nepal will have to be watched. However, Mike Pompeo has already hinted that he would watch as to which countries were on his side in supporting the US stance taken on Venezuela.
    However, Randy Berry, new US Ambassador to Nepal, while talking to yet to be aired TV interview has said that the US would wish Nepal having very integrated links with its immediate neighbors and the friends in this part of the world. The full text and the visual of the interview is expected to be aired on Thursday.
    Ambassador Berry is not a new comer for Nepal. He has already served the US mission in Kathmandu some nine years back so he perhaps knows well as to what Prachanda is and what sort of Communist he is with expensive Swiss watches.
    The Nepal government has in a way defended Prachanda’s statement on Venezuela upon PM Oli’s arrival from Davos only to befool the people that the Communist unification shall work even in rough conditions. The government says that what Prachanda said of Venezuela was the concern of the communist party only but not of the incumbent Nepal government. Yet, the US is not that fool not to understand the tricks of the communists in Nepal.
    Coming back to the seven party agitation of the year 2005, Kamal Thapa, who was then picked as the nation’s Home Minister during the Royal regime recalls how the politics moved then and which country in effect played villain and exported the Delhi residing Maoists back to Nepal in order to grab power. Though people take Thapa’s version very lightly as he is taken as one of the top conspirators in Nepal whose political activities could be equated with that of the chameleon. This perhaps explains the rest. But yet let’s listen to him.
    Kamal Thapa recalls, in his own version, Girija Prasad Koirala urged Prachanda to step up violence and abort the municipal elections slated to be held on February 4, 2006. As per the Koirala call, Municipal level candidate in Lalitpur was attacked and a ward level candidate in Biratnagar was shot dead.
    Having accomplished the jobs as preferred by Koirala, the Maoists in turn now stepped up their pressure on Koirala and urged him to just stand with his party flag and the rest they would do in order to destabilize the King and his government even if it demanded the very use of the armed weapons.
    In the meantime, looking at the slow speed of the seven party agitation against the King, some external forces told the agitating parties, in Thapa’s own words, “You pocketed the money but the movement is slow”. But why is it that?
    This provoked the agitating seven parties and the Maoists to become serious which brought the Maoists and the seven parties in the streets in a collective manner. The envelope money worked. The bill must have been high enough for the agitating leaders.
    Recalling an important event says Kamal Thapa that initially Girijababu had hinted that if the municipal level elections were kept on hold, he was ready to initiate talks with the men in the Royal government.
    Perhaps the government was thinking on keeping the election on the hold, but Koirala going out from his earlier commitment said that “I can’t now avoid the Maoists at this stage and thus any cooperation with the King’s government was simply impossible”.
    The external forces thus funding the 2005-6 movement focused on doing away with the Royal institution through the help of the Delhi dwelling Maoists.
    This meant that not only Indian regime but some European powers too preferred the ouster of Nepali monarchy. This is meaningful.
    But in the meantime, Dr. Karn Singh and Indian foreign secretary Shyam saran landed in Kathmandu as the Indian emissaries on 20 April 2005.
    The King and Dr. Karan Singh had secret talks. The King was about to make an announcement soon. And he did this on April 21, 2006 which practically convinced all the political parties in the agitation save the indoctrinated Maoists.
    The Maoists had structured reasons for rejecting the Royal announcement made one the previous day. In fact the Maoists were being controlled by Mr. Saran, the Delhi man.
    King Gyanendra did a blunder. He took with him Dr. Singh only to the Luncheon table keeping the accompanying Shyam Saran out in the cold in the spacious reception hall.
    It was this event which enraged Saran. He utilized this Royal blunder instantly to his benefit. He made several calls to Maoists leaders and ordered them all not to okay the Royal announcement come what may.
    The movement took a nasty and ugly turn then. And it took a more dangerous turn when the Indian Foreign Secretary was back in Delhi from where he pumped in more money which was to pressurize the sitting monarch to kneel down.
    The King understood the mood of the agitating Maoists who had become violent and preferred not to shed blood of the innocent people to which he could have done easily. However, he preferred to give, or was pressed to do so, a new lease of life to the dead parliament. He revived the Parliament in an illegal manner as there had been no constitutional provisions for the King to revive the same. In addition, the Nepal Army also cheated the King that time, as is being talked these days. The King knelt down which is why he is still popular among the people.
    It was this revived dead parliament which later did away with the Royal Institution. The rest is history.
    Back now from where we began, observers remain askance as to why the US may have approached Nepal in suggesting the latter to take a “key role” in the Indo-Pacific strategy and also be of substantial support in taming the North Korean leader so that he finally denuclearizes its arsenals and behaves as a civilized country in the comity of nations.
    The geo-strategic location of Nepal matters for America. Sandwiched as it is between two South Asian giants, India and China, the US’s interest in Nepal could be understood easily. Among many plausible reasons, one prime purpose could be to distance Nepal from inching closer to China as is being perceived globally contrary to the ground reality. Another strategy would be to press Nepal to take the lead in encircling China as Nepal’s location is the best for containing China.
    In fact, Nepal and its present day leaders that have emerged in the political scene after the Shyam Saran sponsored change of 2005-6, let’s call them the India indoctrinated ones, have just gone to the fold of China only to make India feel the blunder of imposing the merciless economic blockade of the year 2015. Nothing more than that. The US understands this and thus may have talked Nepal to take the lead role in the Indo-Pacific command.
    The crude reality is that PM Oli visited India and invited PM Modi umpteen times to Nepal for very mysterious reasons. In the process, PM Modi has pocketed Nepal’s vast natural resources for India’s benefit.
    Had these ruling leaders been sensitive for Nepal or for that matter love for China then they would have not allowed India to grab Nepali landmass that, we have been told, equals to what would house almost 15 Singapore(s). About seventy thousand hectares of Nepali land have been gulped by India after the 12 point change. The new Citizenship bill, if passed by the Parliament, shall flood Nepal with alien nationals, it is believed.
    No wonder that these India trained leaders do not take the land grab problem as an issue that demanded the attention of the government. Interestingly, the Nepal Army which, as a matter of fact, should guard the territorial integrity of the nation is by default the honorary Chief of the Indian army and so the Nepali Army may have concluded that it is okay for some “practical” reasons.
    Are the Nepal Army generals, more so the Chief, serious on India’s land grabbing spree? Perhaps not.
    PM Oli at times gives the false impression that he is a man meant for China, however, his claim is a misnomer in that he sleeps India, eats India, drinks India, sleeps India and thinks India and finally dreams India.
    PM Oli very freshly attended a World Forum in Davos which in essence is a club that hates China. No wonder, George Soros speaking after PM Oli in Davos had all the nasty words for China.
    China’s foreign ministry called billionaire philanthropist George Soros’s criticism of China and President Xi Jinping “meaningless and not worth refuting”. Soros, during Thursday’s speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, called Xi “the most dangerous opponent of open societies”, so writes the Sputnik.
    Analysts believe that mini Beijing in Kathmandu must have taken note of the political developments that have taken place in Nepal and beyond which were aimed at annoying China.
    Very interestingly, Prachanda’s statement that denounced the US brings Nepal closer to China and Russia whereas PM Oli’s attendance in the Davos forum distances Nepal from China.
    This is perhaps the perfect practice of policy of equi-distance or call it a policy of equi-proximity.
    Interestingly, Prachanda is the Chairman of the ruling Nepal Communist Party and Oli is the Nepal PM from the same Communist party. Here lay the trick and the puzzle.
    Now some glimpses of the Greater South Asian region.
    Pakistan’s Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry has said, January 28, that Pakistan’s role in bringing Taliban to the negotiation table has been appreciated by US President Donald Trump.
    During an interview on Sunday, Minister Chaudhry said that Trump appreciated Pakistan’s role in the Afghan peace talks so much that he has reviewed and changed his policies against Pakistan.
    The information minister stated that a meeting between Prime Minister Imran Khan and Trump is on the cards but it will be possible only after the Afghan peace talks. “We are waiting to see this happen,” he added.
    Chaudhry said Pakistan is playing its role at a fairly advanced level for the Afghan peace dialogue.
    In a fresh political development, a top Russian diplomat is currently in Pakistan to discuss efforts to promote direct peace talks between warring sides in neighboring Afghanistan.
    Russian presidential envoy for Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov is visiting Islamabad after last week’s marathon talks between U.S. special representative for Afghan reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad and the Taliban in Qatar. Pakistan says it has arranged the ongoing direct peace dialogue between U.S. and Taliban envoys.
    “Regional countries have genuine stakes and concerns and would continue to exchange views on the evolving Afghan situation,” a senior Pakistani official told VOA when asked about issues they expected to come under discussions in meetings with Kabulov.
    The Russian envoy will begin official meetings with Pakistani foreign ministry counterparts on Tuesday, said the official, requesting anonymity. (By time this issue gets published, the meet will have already taken place).
    Russia is making its own efforts to try to bring the Taliban and the Afghan government to the negotiating table, fearing continued Afghan instability will threaten central Asian allies that share a border with the war-hit country.
    Negotiators for the U.S. and the Taliban insurgents have reached “agreements in principle” on key issues for a peace deal that would end 17 years of war in Afghanistan, the top U.S. envoy said Monday.
    The statement by U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad followed six days of talks last week with the Taliban in Qatar, where he urged the Islamic insurgent group to enter into direct negotiations with the government of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.
    Ghani on Monday assured Afghans that their rights will not be compromised in the name of peace with the Taliban, who have been staging near-daily attacks against Afghan forces, causing scores of casualties every week.
    The US negotiator, Khalilzad said in an interview with The New York Times that an agreement in principle was reached with the Taliban on the framework of a peace deal “which still has to be fleshed out” that will see the insurgents commit to guaranteeing that Afghan territory is not used as a “platform for international terrorist groups or individuals.”
    He said the deal could lead to a full pullout of U.S. troops in return for a cease-fire and Taliban talks with the Afghan government.
    In his statement released by the U.S. Embassy, Khalilzad said, “We made progress on vital issues in our discussions and agreed to agreements in principle on a couple of very important issues.
    Interestingly, the Taliban appointed last Thursday Mullah Abdul Ghani baradar, who founded the movement with Mullah Mohammad Omar in 1993, as the chief negotiator in the peace talks with the United States, being held in Qatar.
    Mr. Baradar is revered among the Taliban as a charismatic military leader and a deeply religious figure who still reflects the origins of the Taliban movement, when it was founded to end the Afghan civil war in the mid-1990s.
    For the Road: CHINA-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a $ 52 billion project (China’s investment in Pakistan) being implemented since 2015, when both Pakistan and China signed an agreement to construct this Economic Corridor. This is a huge project comprising the construction of about a dozen power projects, a grand road and Railway network connecting the Kashghar city of the Xiang Autonomous Region of China with the Gwadar port city of Pakistan. The project also includes construction of 11 industrial zones and laying of fibre optic from Kashghar to Islamabad. While the Corridor would connect China and Pakistan, it would also connect South and Central Asian countries and China with each other and with the outer world and vice versa for trade and travelling, saving their precious time and cost since it would be a shorter and cheaper route. This facility would be equally available to all South Asian countries including, India provided those countries are willing to join the CPEC. Since all other South Asian countries are willing to join the CPEC, China and Pakistan desire that India should also join the CPEC project to draw related major economic advantages and also enable other SAARC countries to join the project
    That’s all.


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