Break Nepal cam­paign be­gins; CPEC and China's grand stay in South Asia

People's Review - - COMMENTARY - N.P. UPAD­HYAYA (Tele­graph Nepal ed­i­tor@ tele­graph­nepal.com)

While the na­tion is al­ready in a dan­ger­ously po­lar­ized state over the “con­cerns” of Dr. Govinda KC, Nepal's South­ern neigh­bor has as usual tried to fish in the trou­bled wa­ters. In­dia does so quite of­ten as and when she has to co­erce Nepal in one pre­text or the other. In­dian mar­i­onettes ga­lore. Pre­texts are in abun­dance for ex­am­ple, why inch­ing closer to China? This is per­haps a crime in the eyes of the In­dian es­tab­lish­ment. So be it. Ex­ploit­ing the volatile pol­i­tics cre­ated ten­ta­tively by Dr. KC's wor­ries, In­dia is hell bent on in­un­dat­ing Nepali lands in an un­in­ter­rupted man­ner and the hard hit vil­lage this time is the same Ma­hali Sagar Dam area. As if this were not enough, In­dian dada­giri could be seen in its way­ward­ness in con­struct­ing a cus­toms of­fice in the no man's land in the Eastern Nepal( Na­garain vil­lage in the Dhanusha dis­trict prov­ince num­ber 2 per­haps) to which the es­tab­lished in­ter­na­tional norm do not al­low any coun­try, the bor­der­ing ones, to dare even to do so. Those who had greeted In­dian PM Modi, Ra­jen­dra Ma­hato, Lal Babu Raut and Bim­len­dra Nidhi, the Nepali po­lit­i­cal lead­ers, per­haps will re­main tight lipped for rea­sons that de­mand no fur­ther elab­o­ra­tion. But they will greet the Chai­wala, as the Ma­ha­ras­trian Congress leader takes Modi, if he prefers to visit Janakpur this Au­gust while he is in Kath­mandu to at­tend the Bay of Ben­gal Sum­mit. Shame on us all. While the Nepalese are fight­ing with each other (per­haps the Nepali pop­u­la­tion are fight­ing un­der the in­sti­ga­tion of some alien forces who wish to break Nepal into sev­eral pieces, the movers and shak­ers in Del­hithe seat of learn­ing of pol­i­tics for Nepali lead­ers, ap­pear more than con­fi­dent that the un­ac­com­plished tasks of “fin­ish Nepal cam­paign” this time around will see its com­ple­tion thanks the tacit sup­port of the un­der­cover Nepali na­tion­als that have been posted in Nepal who pocket In­dian tax payer's money. Yet we have to ad­mit, they are our own na­tion­als. Mir Jaaf­fors and Jay Chanads ga­lore. This is how they thrive and sur­vive. These pseudo na­tion­als en­cour­ag­ing the In­dian thug­gery in Nepal. In­ter­est­ingly, as is the habit that has been well recorded, not even a sin­gle leader or for that mat­ter the ones who have been cham­pi­oning for the cause of Dr. KC find few sec­onds to speak for their own coun­try men who have been swim­ming in their own in­un­dated houses due to the il­le­gally con­structed dam by the In­dian ma­chin­ery. For the street shak­ers and movers, the do­mes­tic is­sue that has been af­fect­ing a large sec­tion of the Terai peo­ple has no mean­ing in­stead they feel elated in declar­ing the gov­ern­ment as to have al­ready ac­quired au­thor­i­tar­ian char­ac­ter. In­deed the gov­ern­ment is do­ing wrong and has been ex­hibit­ing the fas­cist trends, how­ever, the time is to con­cen­trate on how to keep our own na­tion­als be­long­ing to the Terai area safe and sound from the In­dia cre­ated flood. But no one ap­pears to be in­ter­ested in talk­ing with the In­dian gov­ern­ment for fear of regime change per­haps or the “en­ve­lope money and Medanta Hos­pi­tal that still mat­ters”. Any ex­tra en­ergy seen in Nepal against In­dian Da­coity that is in a broad day light well ex­pe­ri­enced facts through decades and decades may boomerang and that may end up with the regime change of the sort of what had hap­pened in the year 2006, if one re­calls. One In­dian na­tional Shyam Saran is suf­fi­cient enough to de­rail the en­tire sys­tem if Saran is told to pounce upon Nepal by his do­mes­tic mas­ters. So think if two or three Sarans are to­gether then they can cre­ate up­heavals in this tiny repub­lic that has re­cently ac­quired the Chi­nese char­ac­ter­is­tics. The po­lar­ized and a vir­tu­ally cursed na­tion, thus is talk­ing ei­ther in fa­vor or against the de­mands of Dr. KC car­ing lit­tle for other mega prob­lems con­fronting the na­tion that are in abun­dance. The Nepali Congress and the men who count on the streets have cap­tured the en­tire me­dia at­ten­tion at a time when the me­dia it­self re­mains in a di­vided state which is not un­ex­pected phe­nom­e­non in a be­lea­guered coun­try like Nepal that runs un­der the whims of some fa­natic po­lit­i­cal brains vir­tu­ally con­trolled by the South and some coun­tries in Europe, hon­estly speak­ing. We are just the mer­ce­nar­ies and shall re­main so. So we are BAHADURS. The di­vi­sion seen in me­dia is re­ally un­for­tu­nate as such a sit­u­a­tion dam­ages me­dia's cred­i­bil­ity. Some noted me­dia men en­joy­ing their demo­cratic rights aligned them­selves with Dr. KC, how­ever, they have not yet talked on In­dian en­croach­ment of Nepali land­mass or for that mat­ter the dams that have in­un­dated Nepali vil­lages. They will never crit­i­cize In­dia for some mys­te­ri­ous rea­sons. Dr. KC's ar­ro­gance and PM Oli's adamancy per­haps is killing the na­tion in many more ways than one. Ex­ploit­ing this acute sit­u­a­tion, the com­mu­nist gov­ern­ment has in­creased taxes that has come as a se­vere blow to the cham­pi­ons of the demo­cratic or say the repub­li­can or­der that is in place in the coun­try which bodes ill ul­ti­mately for the health or even say sur­vival of this Sys­tem. The Com­mu­nist min­is­ters have been talk­ing non­sense and have in the process ma­ligned the cre­den­tials of the Nepali girls who have been study­ing MBBS in Bangladesh. The fact is that the com­mon men ap­pear slowly feel­ing the heat of the changed or­der, a bonus is per­haps the fed­eral struc­ture, to which Chi­nese el­e­ment has been freshly added. The pol­i­tics of Nepal has now a mix of the In­dian and the Chi­nese fun­da­men­tals but yet the In­dian fea­tures still dom­i­nate the scene de­spite of the fact that China has made in the re­cent months and years great in­roads in Nepal and its af­fairs. In­dia prom­ises, China pays so the dic­tum goes but yet the re­verse is true only be­cause the “closed en­ve­lope” mat­ters in Nepal and the In­dian trick per­haps is not in knowl­edge of China. Even China is not that fool not to un­der­stand and fol­low the trick, but is be­ing dou­ble crossed. Guar­an­teed. So sad. The me­dia men close to China, per­haps are not close to China in ef­fect. A struc­tured cam­paign ap­pears to be in the off­ing which aims to ma­lign China in Nepal. The new spon­sored trick em­a­nat­ing from some dark cor­ners has to say that China too has gulped sev­eral thou­sand hectares of Nepali land­mass in nearby Do­lakha dis­trict. Bor­der ex­perts even claim that Nepal has lost its land in the ar­eas wherein it ad­joins bor­der in the North, China has been found to have shifted the bound­ary pil­lars much the same way as In­dia does in the South. So China too is gulp­ing Nepal slowly? If true then that should mean that In­dia and China are hand in glove to eat Nepal which was seen when the two ri­val coun­tries gulped Lip­ulek, the Nepali strip of land­mass, for their bi­lat­eral trade in 2015 May. Free lunch that it was. Should this not mean then that China too has some ul­te­rior mo­tives on Nepal? If not then why is China silent? Why she has not the courage to re­fute the Nepali al­le­ga­tions? Ex­ter­nally the coun­try is also not safe. In­ter­nally it is in a near to bat­tered state. The rul­ing and the op­po­si­tion par­ties have be­come face to

face and the na­tional pop­u­la­tion is watch­ing this en­ter­tain­ing drama for free. How­ever, the na­tion is pay­ing heavy cost which sur­pris­ingly is be­ing ig­nored by the in­tel­lec­tu­als, the vi­brant me­dia and the po­lit­i­cal an­i­mals for rea­sons un­known. All eyes are on Dr. KC only. Should the sit­u­a­tion po­lar­ize even fur­ther, the na­tion may ex­plode and some un­to­ward in­ci­dent may hap­pen with chances of even a regime change. How­ever, one thing is sure that the na­tional pol­i­tics re­mains now not un­der the con­trol of the gov­ern­ment. If the au­thor­i­ties seated in Singh Dur­bar do not sense the omi­nous sig­nals then the state may col­lapse soon. Def­i­nitely In­dia will ben­e­fit from such a state col­lapse to what Delhi de­sires. The com­mon men have lost their faith in the po­lit­i­cal sys­tem be­cause of the im­moral and cor­rupt prac­tices be­ing ex­hib­ited by the se­nile lead­ers who have been told by some alien forces here and there to rule this an­cient na­tion. Sys­tem has changed but the man­agers of the new sys­tem pos­sess the same old cor­rupt mind­set. The peo­ple have been elect­ing the same cor­rupt faces re­peat­edly which has brought the na­tion to this pa­thetic state. “A peo­ple that elects cor­rupt politi­cians are not the vic­tims……. but ac­com­plices”, so had said Ge­orge Or­well. So this Or­wellian say­ing fits into our own case and thus there is noth­ing to point fin­gers at the po­lit­i­cal an­i­mals rul­ing Nepal so mer­ci­lessly im­posed on us by some in­im­i­cal forces long time back. So this is the pic­ture of a dif­fer­en­ti­ated na­tion which is about to shat­ter. Just a cat­alytic agent is what is needed. If In­dia is around then why search the de­sired en­emy? Now about our own re­gion: Adding in­sult to in­jury, Pak­istan is soon to gift a Land­ing Craft to the Mal­dives as part of strength­en­ing the naval ca­pa­bil­ity of the ar­chi­pel­ago. This an­nounce­ment was made just the other day at a meet­ing be­tween the vis­it­ing Chief of the naval Staff Ad­mi­ral Za­far Mah­mood Ab­basi and the Mal­di­vian Pres­i­dent Yameen Ab­dul Ga­room in Male. This news has some mean­ing for New Delhi be­cause Mal­dives has re­cently dis­carded the friend­ship with In­dia only to be re­placed by China. Pak­istan just en­ters the Lanka. In the mean while Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping has set in mo­tion his fresh bid to woo and then deepen China's ties with the African coun­tries. His choice of Sene­gal this time for a state visit on 20–21 July, per­haps his first visit to West Africa, en route to the BRICS sum­mit in South Africa, sug­gests that China seeks to deepen co­op­er­a­tion in a re­gion that has seen com­par­a­tively less Chi­nese en­gage­ments than else­where in Africa. In us­ing Sene­gal as a spring­board, writes the In­ter­preter, China seeks to ad­vance strate­gic goals: bring­ing West Africa into the “Belt and Road” or­bit and con­sol­i­dat­ing in­flu­ence in a pri­mar­ily French­dom­i­nated re­gion. Dur­ing his visit to Bei­jing in June, Sene­gal's For­eign Min­is­ter Sidiki Kaba had un­der­lined that: “the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive … will bring op­por­tu­ni­ties for the de­vel­op­ment of all coun­tries in the world. Sene­gal is will­ing to take an ac­tive role in it”. In ad­di­tion to hav­ing sig­nif­i­cant in­fra­struc­ture plans for Sene­gal, in­clud­ing a trans-African high­way run­ning from Dakar to Dji­bouti, China re­cently con­cluded a range of deals in other West African coun­tries: the Dakar-Ba­mako rail line un­der re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion formed part of a larger set of deals signed be­tween Mali and China, in­clud­ing an $8 bil­lion rail­way link be­tween land­locked Mali and the Guinean port of Con­akry; and China is also build­ing ma­jor dams in Guinea and Ivory Coast, the lat­ter of which re­cently re­ceived a $7.5 bil­lion Chi­nese com­mit­ment to in­vest in in­fra­struc­ture. In­ter­est­ingly, the In­dian PM Modi too has landed in Rwanda in or­der to com­pete China. Here again, In­dia shall prom­ise credit line but never de­liver. Rwanda will feel the In­dian heat bet­ter this time. While In­dia is los­ing its in­flu­ence in South Asia grad­u­ally, China has over­whelmed this re­gion and the re­cent case be­ing its benev­o­lent grant to Sri Lanka which is sure to in­crease the blood pres­sure of some per­verted po­lit­i­cal pun­dits in Delhi. While In­dia ex­ported a civil war in Sri Lanka that lasted for two decades plus and rav­aged the is­land na­tion to al­most a point of no re­turn, then China has of­fered Sri Lanka a fresh grant of two bil­lion looks to ex­pand its in­flu­ence in the tiny is­land coun­try off In­dia's south­ern tip. Nepal too im­ported civil war from In­dia. Pres­i­dent Maithri­pala Sirisena, a part­ner in Bei­jing's multi-coun­try Belt and Road in­fra­struc­ture push, made the an­nounce­ment on Satur­day at a cer­e­mony mark­ing the start of con­struc­tion of a Chi­nese-funded kid­ney hos­pi­tal in his home con­stituency of Polonnaruwa, 230 km (142.92 miles) from Colombo. Look how the Sri Lankan Pres­i­dent talks of the sud­den Chi­nese grant as­sis­tance made to his coun­try, in his own words, (sic), “When the Chi­nese am­bas­sador vis­ited my house to fix the date for this cer­e­mony, he said that Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping sent me another gift,” Sirisena told a gath­er­ing beam­ingly. The Sri Lankan Pres­i­dent says of Pres­i­dent Xi, “He has gifted two bil­lion yuan to be uti­lized for any project of my wish. I'm go­ing to hand over a pro­posal to the Chi­nese am­bas­sador to build houses in all the elec­torates in the coun­try,” he added. The grant of­fer comes at a time when a Chi­nese firm is fac­ing heavy crit­i­cism for al­legedly fi­nanc­ing the last elec­tion cam­paign of for­mer Pres­i­dent Mahinda Ra­japaksa. All said and done, Sri Lanka is China's trusted ally in South Asia be­sides Nepal, Pak­istan, Mal­dives and Sri Lanka. In­dia has baby Bhutan only and some Nepali cor­rupt Indo-pen­dent lead­ers. The na­tion as a whole con­sid­ers China as a re­li­able part­ner. How­ever, anti-China lobby has also be­come ac­tive much to the dis­may of the Nepal gov­ern­ment's com­mit­ment to ad­her­ing to one China pol­icy. Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping had started his first overseas trip agenda in 2018, which is ex­pected to span from July 19 to 27 (al­ready out of Bei­jing) and in­clude at­tend­ing the 10th BRICS sum­mit. He is al­ready in South Africa and by time this is­sue gets pub­lished in Kath­mandu, the 10th BRICS Sum­mit shall have come to an end wherein PM Modi will also have at­tended the meet. On his way back to China, the Chi­nese pres­i­dent on his last leg will visit Mau­ri­tius, an is­land coun­try off the south­east coast of the African con­ti­nent, as his last stop. This means Mau­ri­tius too shall be­gin en­joy­ing Chi­nese friend­ship. Xi's Mid­dle East and African visit sched­ule has come amid height­ened trade ten­sions be­tween China and the US. Most of the vis­its have al­ready been ac­com­plished by time of this writ­ing. Much ahead of his visit to Sene­gal, Rwanda and South Africa, Pres­i­dent Xi had vis­ited the UAE to which PM Modi takes as a nat­u­ral part­ner of In­dia. Now per­haps it re­mains no longer In­dian pre­rog­a­tive if it were at all. China has en­tered the UAE. News agen­cies re­port that China and the United Arab Emi­rates (UAE) on July 20, 2018, de­cided to up­grade their bi­lat­eral re­la­tions to a com­pre­hen­sive strate­gic part­ner­ship. The de­ci­sion was made as vis­it­ing Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping held talks here with UAE Vice Pres­i­dent and Prime Min­is­ter Sheikh Mo­hammed bin Rashid Al Mak­toum and Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mo­hammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. By lift­ing their ties, China and the UAE will strengthen their bi­lat­eral in-depth co­op­er­a­tion in var­i­ous fields, and pro­mote con­tin­u­ous de­vel­op­ment of bi­lat­eral ties on higher lev­els, in broader ar­eas and at greater depths say news agen­cies in­clud­ing Xin­hua. Xi ar­rived the UAE on last Thurs­day, the first by a Chi­nese head of state in 29 years to the Arab state. Thus China has ap­proached in the vicin­ity of the In­dian regime and has al­most en­cir­cled In­dia which has per­haps forced New Delhi to “ed­u­cate” the re­gional lead­ers about the fake Chi­nese debt trap the­ory. This re­minds of the string of pearls. Pak­istan though re­mains un­de­terred which will go to polls this Wed­nes­day. Even if the elec­tion re­sults are pend­ing but yet prac­ti­cally all the po­lit­i­cal par­ties ap­pear united as re­gards the CPEC mega projects. False ru­mors con­tinue to spread from Delhi about China debt trap. The CPEC mat­ters for the Pak­istani peo­ple: The Diplo­mat dated July 24, 2018, writes very freshly that “Aim­ing to de­velop a “growth axis and de­vel­op­ment belt” be­tween China and Pak­istan, CPEC could in­volve in­vest­ments of some $60 bil­lion. The cor­ri­dor con­nects Gwadar, in the south­west­ern prov­ince of Balochis­tan, to China's Xin­jiang re­gion via a 2,700 kilo­me­ter route through the moun­tain­ous ter­rain of Gil­git-Baltistan in north­ern­most The Diplo­mat fur­ther writes that for China's and Pak­istan's for­eign poli­cies, the po­ten­tial pay­offs are clear. CPEC is a flag­ship project of Bei­jing's Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive (BRI), a geopo­lit­i­cal am­bi­tion to de­velop trade and in­fra­struc­ture with over 60 economies across Eura­sia, Africa, and be­yond. For Is­lam­abad, CPEC brings the hope of not only eco­nomic div­i­dends but also po­ten­tially a geopo­lit­i­cal re­con­fig­u­ra­tion. Some Pak­istani strate­gists be­lieve deep­en­ing ties to China will off­set ris­ing U.S. diplo­matic and eco­nomic pres­sure aimed at end­ing Is­lam­abad's sup­port to Afghanistan- and In­diaori­ented mil­i­tant prox­ies. So be­fore wind­ing up, need­less to say that the na­tion has been pushed to an acute cri­sis. Dr. KC's is­sue has now be­come a tool to desta­bi­lize this gov­ern­ment with Chi­nese char­ac­ter­is­tic. Dr. KC's con­cerns de­mands im­me­di­ate at­ten­tion by the gov­ern­ment in or­der dis­tance the threat that is likely to take its heavy toll if ig­nored. What is the harm in align­ing with Dr. KC and his con­cerns which are per­haps for the bet­ter­ment of the larger sec­tion of the frac­tured so­ci­ety? PM Oli must be­have that is de­manded of him. No ar­ro­gance. The Nepali Congress too should shun talk­ing non­sense. For the Road: We wish to quote to what Pro­fes­sor Bi­hari Kr­ishna Shrestha says of PM Oli. Let's lis­ten from Mr. Shrestha him­self. “Mr. Oli is now be­ing seen as be­ing bla­tantly au­thor­i­tar­ian, in blind pur­suit of his own self­ish agenda. The list of such acts of com­mis­sion and omis­sion is al­ready quite long. For in­stance, while the whole coun­try is now in sup­port of Dr. Govind KC in his de­mand for qual­ity and ac­ces­si­ble med­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion, PM Oli has un­abashedly gone back on the deal made by the gov­ern­ment and has pro­posed a med­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion bill that is aimed at al­low­ing the af­fil­i­a­tion of Man Mo­han Memo­rial Med­i­cal Col­lege in which all his fel­low politi­cians in erst­while UML have al­legedly in­vested vast sums of money. Other such acts of bla­tant in­dis­cre­tion in­clude pre­ma­ture re­lease of mur­der con­vict, Bal Kr­ishna Dhun­gel, ig­nor­ing the fast-unto-death quest for jus­tice by Ganga Maya Ad­hikari for the mur­der of her son, declar­ing the Mait­ighar Man­dala as no protest zone and so on. The list is long and all of them go on only to alien­ate the peo­ple from PM Oli and his “com­mu­nist” gov­ern­ment. (From Shrestha's fresh ar­ti­cle Sav­ing Nepal's Democ­racy from its “Democrats”. That's all.

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