Nepal-India debate: Why diplomats say the obvious but do not really mean it

SARITA GURUNG, KATHMANDU:  Here is Indian ambassador to Nepal saying that Nepal and India are two sovereign nations. The obvious comes while Indians are believed to be working to bring Nepal into submission.

“Both Nepal and India are equal and sovereign nations”, Jayant Prasad said while speaking at a seminar paid for by Indian embassy. The timeless topic was: ‘Nepal-India Relations in Broader Contours’.

The embassy footed the bill for Central Department of Political Science, Tribhuvan University.

Given that India has funded TU engagement, fears to the effect that it may turn into Banaras Hindu University have come to the fore. One can wait for “negative” implications meanwhile.

There was S D Muni, India’s self-proclaimed Nepal expert present to present “thought provoking” things.

If what Prasad said has gone missing here it is once again: India and Nepal are equal and sovereign states, and in keeping with the spirit of non-intervention in each other’s domestic affairs.

There is more: India does not have preferred electoral outcomes, preferred ruling arrangements or favourites among political parties.

It all looks harmless but there is underlying connotation. The point is Nepalese know Indian design.

“These issues lie purely within the domain of Nepali political sphere and were related to the decisions to be taken by the Nepali people,” Prasad said.

“New Delhi has always sought a strong, stable, democratic, prosperous and inclusive Nepal”, Prasad claims. Oh really? Than why the chaos?

“Respect for each other’s sensitivities, development of mutually beneficial socio-economic ties and cooperation in addressing emerging global and regional issues, he further said.

But the point is theory doesn’t work in Nepal-India relations as is the Nepali experience beginning 1950s. Theory has never been brought into practice.

Critics have it that at least in papers and while making verbal speeches the Indian diplomats make flowery remarks but resort to arm twisting acts when it comes down to the implementation level. Prasad does not belong to the same set of India’s South Block Babus.

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