New Coalition In Nepal Will Be Fully Dominated By ‘Pro-China Loyalists’ (Communists) Which Is A Bad News For India & United States

New Coalition In Nepal Will Be Fully Dominated By ‘Pro-China Loyalists’ (Communists) Which Is A Bad News For India & United States

The unexpected turn of political events in Himalaya Kingdom and mastery of ‘Prachanda’ to manipulate the volatile and uncertain situation in his favour, may be a big self-centred achievement but it is being viewed as a bad omen and premonition for India and United States

KS TomarUpdated: Thursday, March 07, 2024, 05:27 PM IST
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New Coalition In Nepal Will Be Fully Dominated By ‘Pro-China Loyalists’ (Communists) Which Is A Bad News For India & United States | ANI

A saying adapted from the play ‘The Tempest’ by William Shakespeare, “Misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows” and political interests can bring together people who otherwise have nothing in common, holds true to of Pushpa Kamal Dahal, ’Prachanda’ who has joined hands with his arch rival and political enemy, Ex-prime minister, K.P.S.Oil to stick to the Nepal’s PM chair for 3rd time in the span of 15 months.

The unexpected turn of political events in Himalaya Kingdom and mastery of ‘Prachanda’ to manipulate the volatile and uncertain situation in his favour, may be a big self-centred achievement but it is being viewed as a bad omen and premonition for India and United States.

In view of the Pro China government in Maldives and enmity with Pakistan, there is a serious danger of Nepal slipping away from India’s influence which precedes formation of new coalition government dominated by communists who are ideologically committed to Dragon.

In view of the Pro China government in Maldives and enmity with Pakistan, there is a serious danger of Nepal slipping away from India’s influence which precedes formation of new coalition government dominated by communists who are ideologically committed to Dragon.

India has friendly relations with Bangladesh and ties have improved with Sri Lanka after it was saved from economic collapse by the Indian government whereas China has given a mute response to the crisis. Myanmar’s military rulers have been dealt cautiously and Bhutan remains a trusted friend but new development in Nepal is disturbing.

The unexpected turn of political events in Himalaya Kingdom and mastery of ‘Prachanda’ to manipulate the volatile and uncertain situation in his favour, may be a big self-centred achievement but it is being viewed as a bad omen and premonition for the ties of India and Pakistan.

PRACHANDA KNOWS ART OF ‘STICKING’ TO CHAIR

Foreign policy experts say that Prachanda has managed to outsmart Nepali Congress and CPN (UML) despite having 89 MPs and 77 MPs respectively in national assembly as against his party’s strength of 32 MPs only. Prachanda had joined hands with Oli’s CPN (UML) in 2022 to become PM but ditched the latter in Dec, 2023 to venture upon new pasture and remained at the helm of affairs with the help of Nepali Congress .Ex PM, Oli had refused to support Prachanda’s candidate for the post of president of Nepal which was primarily responsible for their parting the ways. Now it is the second time that he has gone back to his arch rival Oli and discarded Nepali congress as both coalition partners had developed serious differences over the governance issues which could have been sorted out. Prachnada-Deuba had formed the governments in seven provinces which will face an uncertain future owing to new realignment of the forces.

In this backdrop, Prachanda may lose his bargaining power as Oli is likely to dictate the terms and there are remote chances of Nepali Congress committing yet another blunder of falling prey to allurement of sharing the power. A top Nepali congress leader and EX PM, Sher Bahadur Deuba has accused Prachanda of breach of trust and decided to sit in the opposition.

Prachanda has also retaliated and expressed his helplessness to carry on the sharing of power with Nepali congress but it will be interesting to see the methodology of both communists’ factions to manage the new coalition as two top leaders are arch rivals?    

PRO CHINA TILT

Experts say that new government is primarily the combination of ‘Pro China’ loyalists factions headed by Prachanda’s CPN(Maoists Centre) and CPN-UML, Communist Party of Nepal(Unified Marxist- Leninist),headed by EX PM,K.P.S Oli which makes a deadly duo. It is a harsh truth that Oli will dominate the new dispensation as he is having a majority of 77 MPs as compared to Prachanda who is having a meagre strength of 32 MP in the parliament. Other two partners include Rashtriya Swatantra Party (RSP) (21) and Janata Samajbadi (12) thereby having total strength of 142 whereas 138 MPs are required to achieve the simple majority mark to form the government. Four factions are facing problems in sharing of the power as their leaders have got contradictory and capricious interests.

FALLOUT OF NEW GOVERNMENT ON THE TIES WITH INDIA AND US

Political observers feel that Nepali Congress was the coalition partner of Prachanda but both fell out on ticklish issues which prompted the prime minister to embarrass Oli though both are known for their personal animosity to each other. The previous regime was dominated by Pro India outfit, Nepali Congress but scenario will undergo sea-change hence India needs to re-work its foreign policy priorities to have normal relations with Nepal.2 nd ,India will have to careful about the future of power agreements which were signed during Prachanda’s visit to New Delhi last year.

A trilateral power agreement had become a reality after several years of stalemate which will ensure import of 10,000 MW of power from Nepal to India for 10 years which will be earning thousands of crores of revenue and subsequently providing an advantage of additional availability of electricity for consumers in our country. It will enable Nepal to start the import of power up to 60 MW to Bangladesh through India .Nepal and India had described it as a path breaking event as buyers and sellers can sign power agreements for 25 years and Nepal can visualize its prosperity through energy export to India or other countries. Experts say that the new communists’ regime may upset this power agreement which is beneficial to both nations.

FUTURE OF AGNEEPATH IS UNCERTAIN

India had launched the Agneepath scheme on June 15, 2022 which was extended to Nepal also but it is still in limbo in Himalayan Kingdom owing to certain reservations. Field reports suggest that there are unemployed youths who may be keen to join army as Agniveers but two previous governments had dragged its feet and 3 rd  one may not be different. Indian army had planned to recruit 40,000 Agnieers in 2022 and army chief, Manoj Pande had made it clear to withdraw the vacancies if decision was not taken by the government but nothing has been done so which will be a challenge to new government to accept or reject the scheme. Nepal general elections were held in Nov, 2022 but Agneers scheme is still hanging in fire as some retired generals in Kathmandu had opposed the scheme.

Oli’s party may create a hindrance and it may turn towards China which may be unacceptable to India.  The scheme is regulated by the 1947 Tripartite Treaty on Recruitment between Britain, India and Nepal which Nepal believes has been violated by the Agnipath scheme.   

CHINA MAY PUSH BRI WHICH WILL BE SECURITY RISK TO INDIA

Oli is known as ‘India Baiter’ who will get yet another opportunity to push Nepal towards China. Dominance of Oli faction may prove problematic to India because former PM had brought Nepal-India ties to lowest ebb when a map was redrawn showing Indian territories like Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura as its territories which had infuriated India and it had out rightly rejected this mischievous move. Oli also objected opening of 80-km-long strategically crucial road connecting the Lipulekh pass with Dharchula in Uttarakhand by defence minister, Rajnath Singh on May 8, and 2020. It connects the Lipulekh pass having a height of 17,000 feet along the border with Tibet in Uttarakhand with Dharchula in Uttarakhand's Pithoragarh district. 

India needs to keep watch on this issue also.  Experts had attributed Oli’s actions to Chinese strategy to unsettle age-old ties between India and Nepal which will be at work again. Nepal had also opposed India’s action to bring out a revised political map showing the union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladhakh which had created bitterness. There is every danger of raking up this issue which is connected with the security of India hence we will have to be more watchful in the new regime. Another serious issue relates to China’s ambitious plan about implementation of Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and any forward movement and progress will be security risk due to open border of 1,770 Kms. China has invested more than 1.34 billion USD in Nepal and always pressed for execution of the project which may get fillip under new government.

APPROVAL OF CITIZENSHIP BILL AIMS AT AN OUTREACH TO INDIA AND UNITED STATES.

Observers feel that the approval of the citizenship bill was seen as an attempt by the Prachanda-Deuba government to exhibit his closeness to India and the United states which had infuriated China. Second, Prachanda chose India over China for his maiden visit in 2022 which had sent a good signal as it proved fruitful which was evident from the signing of seven agreements thereby benefiting people of both countries. Prachnda had refrained from touching the ticklish issue of boundary dispute. But in the changed scenario, preference may be given to China as both top leaders Viz.

Prachanda and Oli are diehard communists who will feel comfortable in dealing with their brethren in Beijing. China’s attempt to wean away Nepal, Maldives and Pakistan should worry India which needs to re-work its foreign policy in league with America to check growing influence of China in the region which is not in our interest on long–term.

(Writer is political analyst and having six-year experience of covering Nepal for a premier English national daily)

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