By:- Sunil Ganorkar
Right from the start, we have had the most peaceful and normal relations with our neighbor ‘Nepal’. In fact, the Gurkha regiment of the Indian army is known for its valor and bravery in combat.
Actors like Danny Denzongpa and Manisha Koirala have left their mark on Bollywood. Security guards, watchmen in our societies are invariably Nepalese. Many of them work in our country in various industries and have settled down here, notably in Sikkim. Sherpa Tenzing, one of the first to summit Mt. Everest established a mountaineering academy in India.
All this tells us, how much we have intermingled. In fact, we don’t look upon Nepalis as foreigners. Our religious pilgrimage remains incomplete unless prayers are offered at Pashupatinath temple.
Nowadays, thus goodwill and friendship are waning, reason being, China, our mutual neighbor harbors aspirations to politically and economically dominate southwest Asia.
Indo-Nepalese friendship is contrary to Chinese interests. Nepal, a landlocked country, depends on India for trade and commerce. Good relations with us are in mutual interest.
However Chinese diplomacy has resulted in mutual distrust. Now Nepal wants to develop alternative trade routes with the help of the dragon.
The party in power, at present, in Nepal, leans towards the China authority. They allow them to set up transmission towers on Mount Everest.
Maybe the dragon has used its economic clout, in the form of financial concessions. Toeing the line of the dragon’s foreign policy, a boundary dispute has been raised and the map of Nepal re-drawn.
It appears to be a political strategy to encircle India. Navel bases are being built in Sri Lanka and Pakistan by Chinese administration. A huge amount of loan is sanctioned to Pakistan for Infrastructure development, economic relations with Bangladesh are ballooning. It is possible in the future, of Chinese ships patrolling the Bay of Bengal, Indian ocean, Arabian sea.
Meanwhile, what is happening is detrimental to Indian interests. The dragon has always been wary of the huge Indian economy, as well as its military prowess. Our Nation’s importance in world affairs bathers them.
We need to maintain our upper hand in world affairs as well as in the regional politics of South West Asia. We can’t afford to let the dragon’s aspirations materialize.
Keeping all this in mind it is most important that our leaders realize that more focus is needed to improve relations. I am sure it is not at all a difficult task for New Delhi. All that is needed is a flexible policy, mutual understanding, and ironing out the minor snags which have cropped up lately. Let us avoid losing our long time friend