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In a first, Oli remains an enigma to Indians

KATHMANDU: In what is assuredly the first, Prime Minister K P Oli has proved to be an enigma for the Indian ruling establishment which is keen to have him visit India but not yet sure how to go about since he is proving he is made up of sterner stuff and not likely to sign on the dotted line once in Delhi.

First and foremost, the BJP government is not yet decided on the agenda of the visit and hence trying to test the water by first inviting Deputy Prime Minister Bishnu Paudel who is also the finance minister to Delhi before deciding the visit and its agenda.

PM Oli who has insisted on India first calling off the economic blockade imposed on Nepal before he can travel to India on his maiden visit as a matter of condition. He has time and again made it clear that Nepal cannot wait too long for Indian bonhomie but instead would upgrade ties with China. Prime Minister K P Oli who has challenged the Indian economic blockade for the last five months can now be expected to get to visit India, with the chances having improved over time. However he may still not get to fly to the Indian capital on the days he expects to.

As to when he will travel will become clear only after Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Bishnu Paudel pays a visit to India to work out the agenda of the visit, among others. However those who are suggesting that he should not be welcomed in Delhi are still vehemently against the visit.

In what appears to be true given how far Oli can be expected to listen to Indian call the analysis surrounding him is that there is no point in coming to any decision with him at the helm and that he will not agree to contribute to improving ties.

While Delhi appears to be not very impressive about how far it can push its agenda the ruling parties too have tended to suggest P M Oli that he should not cave in to the Indian side by scaling down his guard. He himself is not interested to patch up.

Those who have told him not to surrender comprise Deputy Prime Minister C P Mainali to Deputy Prime Minister Chitra Bahadur KC to Prachanda, Narayan Man Bijukche and Prachanda himself. However what will be deemed as having surrendered and what will be deemed as not really having surrendered has not yet been spelled out.

What is true is if PM Oli is to behave the way Left leaders have suggested him to while in Delhi what appears a certainty is there will not be any deal getting through. It is true that New Delhi has trained its eye on PM Oli what he stands for currently.

Moreover the way he behaves in informal interaction with Indian diplomat in Kathmandu and the way he presents himself in public is quite different, something which baffled others trying to gauge his mood and intention. Since he has tended to be easily accessible while being soft spoken many have come to the view that he has surrendered to the reality of the time.

This has encouraged Indian mission to report to Delhi that Oli has fallen in line. Meanwhile it is said that agenda will be drawn up based on agenda Paudel will go with while also assessing what Oli will be like based on degree of willingness he tends to demonstrates. Essentailly, the Paudel visit will tell whether Oli visit will be fruitful or not really so or whether visit will be mere formality.

Since Prachanda has started talking about national consensus government, Delhi is also questioning itself that why should it invite Oli if Nepal is to have a new government any time soon. Thus what appears true is even if Oli visits Delhi the visit is least likely to be any big deal.

Published Date: Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016 | 09:27 PM

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