Deuba Trip

People's Review - - LEADER -

Prime Min­is­ter Sher Ba­hadur Deuba's New Delhi trip be­gun Wed­nes­day is unique in its treat­ment in our main­stream me­dia. A sec­tion would make it the butt of jokes sat­i­riz­ing the rou­tine pil­grim­age of the newly in­cum­bent for homage and pa­tron­age. An­other would rather ex­press reser­va­tions as to what more com­pro­mises to na­tional in­ter­est one may an­tic­i­pate at this junc­ture of Nepal-India ties. As it stands, there is no re­lease of agenda this round but the prime min­is­ter's dis­cus­sions with lead­ers here sug­gest that one fac­tor of im­me­di­ate com­mon con­cern will fig­ure and that is to do with the peren­nial topic of wa­ter re­sources be­cause of the global at­ten­tion on the dis­as­trous floods. Some­how, me­dia would rather also hint at the pos­si­bil­ity that the on­go­ing Sino-Indian spat at the Bhutan- China bor­der will also be a likely topic be­cause of the threats of spillovers and, some­where round the cor­ner, some even tend to sug­gest that Deuba may take up the is­sue of the Nepal-India 1950 treaty. Of course, it is gen­er­ally un­der­stood that the visit is de­signed to project the con­ti­nu­ity in Nepal-India re­la­tions and will touch upon the co-op­er­a­tional as­pects in our bi­lat­eral re­la­tions. What our pli­ant me­dia would rather not touch upon is the cer­tainty that per­sonal meet­ings be­tween Deuba and his Indian coun­ter­part can­not but touch upon the po­lit­i­cal sit­u­a­tion in both coun­tries. Of im­pactual in­ter­est in Nepal are the changes in the fed­eral gov­ern­ment in India's bor­der­ing U.P, Bi­har and, in Ben­gal, the cross bor­der con­cerns of the Gorkha­land move­ment. Also the as­ser­tion of India's rul­ing BJP in other struc­tures of the fed­eral gov­ern­ment such as the changes in the Indian pres­i­dency. A vis­i­bly stronger Indian Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi wel­comes his Nepali coun­ter­part who has only the other day lost a ster­ling con­sti­tu­tional vote on amend­ments he tabled in the Nepalese par­lia­ment. Deuba's weak­ened moral po­si­tion and the fact that his is a coali­tion gov­ern­ment in par­lia­ment, sig­nif­i­cantly enough, com­pares poorly with Modi's who heads not only the first ma­jor­ity gov­ern­ment af­ter the Indian Congress in India but also is demon­strat­ing his de­ci­sive pres­ence in the ma­jor­ity of the gov­ern­ments in its fed­eral states in­clud­ing those in Nepal's im­me­di­ate prox­im­ity. Some­how one can­not es­cape con­jec­tur­ing upon the im­pact of such devel­op­ments in the, not al­to­gether hid­den, Indian in­ter­est in the over a decade long Nepali con­sti­tu­tional devel­op­ments. One is hop­ing that the changes in India-hands on Nepali af­fairs ac­com­pa­ny­ing the de­ci­sive change in lead­er­ship across the bor­der will re­flect it­self upon talks held in New Delhi this time. For one thing, the Indian for­eign pol­icy es­tab­lish­ment will have by now been aware of the im­pacts on the Nepali pop­u­la­tion of tra­di­tional South Block ap­proaches to Nepal and the need for cor­rec­tions of which they are bet­ter ca­pa­ble now. For an­other, on part of his vis­it­ing Nepali coun­ter­part, there must be need to reeval­u­ate and con­cede that the ab­sence of vis­i­ble cor­rec­tions fol­lowed by his party lead­er­ship as that man­i­fest in the cur­rent tryst with con­sti­tu­tion mak­ing will re­main a long­stand­ing hur­dle in the re­build­ing of long term trust and con­fi­dence at the peo­ple to peo­ple level in both coun­tries. In­deed, if Deuba vis­its Delhi where the India-China fo­cus is at its peak, it will carry much mean­ing when the em­pha­sis, more than merely bi­lat­eral, is re­gional con­fi­dence build­ing. Gains made here would be more long term to the ex­tent of re­al­iz­ing that any mean­ing­ful so­lu­tion to wa­ter is­sues among oth­ers in the re­gion lie col­lec­tively in the prox­im­ity of the re­gion as well.

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