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Nepal’s tryst with ‘big circle’!

Atul Kumar Thakur

By Atul K Thakur:
Though naturally placed but unknowingly to this stage, Nepal has established itself as an awkward ‘buffer state’ to allow the ambitious China to hitchhike on its failure to secure an independent geo-political position in the south Asian region. Much to the dismay of constructive observers, now both the India and China is increasingly being seen as power block, aiming to go high in Nepal with contesting each other for command over the rich but mismanaged local natural resources. Such thinking is deep rooted among the disillusioned Nepali citizens, who are no longer hibernated in the charm of China’s cunning ploys in Nepal or in India’s substandard diplomatic performance in recent years, which defies the historical bond, earlier both the countries were known to live for decades.
China’s bilateral antics in Nepal are totally ambiguous in the way it involves India at loggerheads for making Nepal, its new Pakistan. Relatively easy to handle, China is missing no chances to play on the ultra radical forces in Nepal by channelizing huge disposable resources for the mainland. Notwithstanding China’s tall claims, its power packed action over the years has dangerously disturbed Nepal’s consolidating move in its inner fabric that was already affronting unrelenting glitches. As an open field of ‘power politics’ in south Asia, Nepal has lost the sense to walk with its political transition and to come in terms with the people’s aspiration that would have served much better for its own interest.
So far, China has succeeded on encircling Nepal in its narrow game for substituting India’s prominent place from the later’s territory. In this tug war, India is a clear looser by slipping from its very close tie-up with Nepal. China is already outpacing India as a major investor in the Himalayan state, besides controlling the nerves of that country’s ultra-radical political forces. India and Nepal should never have taken China’s hidden game in Nepal so lightly. Over last one and half decades, China has made all efforts to proliferate an embedded version of communism inside Nepal.
Ideologically, that radical/Maoist movement in Nepal is impure and reflects the personal cynicism of its leadership. Next to the ideological line, these leaders have been nurturing their political ambitions by pumping up a ‘sovereignty phobia’ or ‘Indophobia’ in Nepal. Maoists are divided entities now, and those who sit outside the power circle, try to carve a niche for them. They hope that the anti-India demonstration will give them the mileage to do so. In the entirety of existing scene, nothing could be more misleading than the paranoiac march like this.
Beyond the regional clamours, Nepal has needed to broaden its strategic choices across the globe. The recent Presidential election in USA was closely followed in Nepal and now the post-election scenario is clearly showing greater urge among the common Nepalese to forge an ever strong relation with USA. Before the election, Obama had shown unprecedented interest in Nepal, and now the time is to be functionally more generous from his side in what the USA has to put extra efforts in making Nepal, one of its foremost allies in the south Asian region.
Despite the acerbic claims of Republican candidate, Mitt Romney on Obama’s win in the Presidential election, world is watching on USA, which is less troubled in different sphere comparing four years back, when Obama had taken the charge. Romney’s charge on Obama’s win as the endgame of “old playbook” by using targeted initiatives to lure specific interest groups seems less content and more like the ‘fighting strange targets’.
Though Nepal has been selected as one of the twenty focus countries for Obama’s $3.5 billion ‘Feed the Future’ initiative, nevertheless the current bilateral trade or diplomatic relations between these two countries are standing much below the actual potential. In last six decades, Nepal has never given the due attention by the world’s prominent leaders; time is to check those unfortunate practices that are hindering the chances of Nepal’s prolific rise on global platform.
Under the new strategic environment, Nepal could be a natural ally for USA in fighting terror and also as a significant trade partner. Principally too, democrats have lot to share with the swiftly democratizing Nepal, which has ushered democracy in great way and remarkably by ending the firmly established monarchy. Nepal’s ongoing political transition hardly leaves any big hurdle for the wide ranging co-operation at global stage. In the near future, Obama’s visit would boost the positive sentiment for a new order of bilateral ties between USA and Nepal also that will infuse greater hope for South Asia.
Nepal has lot to deliver with its untapped natural and human resources, serious relooking from neighbouring giants and powerful nations, like USA could bring desirable outcome. Here, the political leadership of Nepal has to play pivotal role, how they will move collectively on the bigger issues of foreign policy and trade negotiation, setting aside the ‘underdog’ tone that stopped Nepal to step in a normal course of development. For now, Obama’s Nepal visit is a matter of guess, not necessarily the status quo will be permanent-so coming months will be interesting!

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