Why with friend like India, Nepal does not need any enemy
STAFF WRITER, KATHMANDU-LOS ANGELES: The longstanding blockade imposed by India can be expected to take anti-Indian feeling in Nepal to a new height while it may not be reversed given the reality behind it and irreparable damage done to certain level of bonhomie.
Undeniably speaking, Indians visitors at large to Kathmandu are silently booed and jeered in hotels, streets or wherever they are sighted for reasons of language they speak, color, appearance, and character.
This extends to members of Marwari community long settled in Kathmandu and into businesses too. General impression running through generations is Indians are penny-pinching and cunning.
However desired level of camaraderie is in play not to mention of course the fact that Nepalese enjoy Indian television channels as much as Indians do while Bollywood actors have huge fan following in Nepal too.
Caught in the anti-India sweep are Nepalese of Indian origin settled in tarai who have distinct culture and general character with Indian throwback that is jarring but welcome nevertheless.
However the people of tarai are strangely working to cross-purposes and adding fuel to anti-Indian feels that grips the Nepalese society especially in the capital. Lately they have taken things to a new low by travelling to Patna and appealing Lalu Yadav of all Indian politician for logistical help to the agitation on this side of the border.
Ironically enough Nepal and India are two countries of the selfsame religious orientation yet the relationship has never been productive from Nepal’s point of view, the latest unannounced blockade being third since 1971.
The hallmark of the ties have been literal micromanagement of Nepal’s political and economic process, with meticulous maze of informers in political parties, bureaucracy and security agencies. Sitting Indian ambassador carries lot of clout in Kathmandu as nowhere else except Bhutan.
Indian prime minister Narendra Modi who was very popular when he came to Nepal last year is now deemed a villain of the piece and chased in social media.
Recently Indian ambassador to Nepal, Ranjit Rae, was seen sitting in leg over leg position when meeting with Prime Minister K P Oli, while the latter maintained the protocol and was seen sitting in both feet on the ground position in what is a formal pose. This was repeated in a meeting with Speaker Onsari Magar, too.
More recently the Indian side has “invited” Finance Minister Bishnu Paudel to New Delhi rather than inviting Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Kamal Thapa to talk about blockade and related matters including assistance in what is a deliberate move to fudge protocol consideration.
There are instances galore. On Monday former ambassador to India Bhesh Bahadur Thapa in an interview to an English daily has lamented how the Indian side has abused the 1950 treaty of peace and friendship between the two countries by using it to further its own interest.
He has said that while the Nepalese side have always tried to get rid of the arrangement, the Indian side has used the same to confine Nepal within its jurisdiction while efforts to extricate out of it have led to tension flaring up from to time.
The recent huge setback heaped on Nepal is the issue raised surrounding the framework of the new constitution, saying it does not address the people of tarai in all fairness while the whole international community have hailed it, with US and UK joining backing Indian concerns being perhaps regional player for the super powers.
Needless to say anti-India feelings is rising to all time high following naked intervention in constitutional process of the country although everything is under control. with India leaning political parties waiting for fair weather.