Nepal Foreign Affairs (KATHMANDU, 26 August) – It was anticipated Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba’s State Visit to India would not contribute to bolster the confidence of Independent and Sovereign Nepal. And, it turned into reality.
But it was not reckoned his visit to ‘close’ and ‘friendly’ southern neighbour would further put at stake Nepal’s national pride, sovereignty and independence. It proved wrong.
Prime Minister Deuba is coming back not as a Prime Minister of a sovereign nation, but as a ‘Chief Minister’ of ‘Greater India’, as envisioned by Vallabhbhai Jhaverbhari Patel (Sardar Patel) and Indira Gandhi, a powerful Prime Minister of India.
Coincidently, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi belongs to the Indian state of Gujarat, a home state of Sardar Patel. And, Modi is the most powerful Prime Minister of India after Indira Gandhi, whose Premiership was called as ‘Indira’s India’.
Hope, the Prime Minister of largest liberal democracy and emerging economy, Modi, will not follow the remnants of those era that never honoured the dignity of others. But what If a head of the government of an independent nation of concurrent world let in the other head of Independent nation in family affairs ? Prime Minister Deuba involved Prime Minister Modi in Nepal’s domestic affairs.
This has been the major issue of discourse in Nepal. This article will also shed light on this issue of constitution amendment.
Deuba’s visit to India concluded. The 43-points Joint Statement was issued on 24 August, Eight agreements were signed, out of them, four are concerned with reconstruction, which comes under the India’s previous commitment. In nutshell, Deuba’s India visit has been considered ‘average’ in terms of regular follow up of the bilateral cooperation.
But if the visit is viewed politically and strategically, Nepal has lost its confidence, dignity and sovereignty. Prime Minister Deuba committed three blunders during his India’s sojourn.
Blunder No. 1 – Deuba involves Modi in domestic affairs
”The second amendment of the constitution was not passed from the parliament due to lack of required two-third majority. The efforts to amend the constitution is underway and will try to amend the constitution”.
Prime Minister Deuba told this to Indian counterpart Narendra Modi on 24 August at Hyderabad House.
Prime Minister Deuba committed blunder by raising the very domestic issue in neighbouring country and tried to clarify to the Indian counterpart that he did his best but there were others who obstructed. This is domestic issue and can be a subject to be discussed within the nation.
Deuba has no right to raise the issue that was decided by the Nepali Parliament. This is objectionable. It is exclusively our concern what kind of constitution we adopt, whether we do amendment or not.
The amendment of the constitution was failed to muster the required two-thirds majority in the Parliament. Out of 553 lawmakers, who were present in the Parliament, 347 lawmakers voted in favor of the bill, 48 short of the two-third majority required to pass the bill. There are 592 members in the Parliament. When the amendment proposal was failed by domestic parliament, the chapter of amendment was closed for the time being. How could he raise this issue in India?
Did Prime Minister Modi ask Deuba to brief on the amendment proposal.? Did Prime Minister Modi blame Deuba for not passing the amendment? The answer is of course- NO.
Deuba has put at stake our national pride and sovereignty. Deuba has taken the oath of office and secrecy while assuming the post of prime minister under the same constitution and was elected the Prime Minister under the same constitution, how can he speak against the constitution in the foreign country. Dueba himself invited Modi to intervene in the domestic affairs of Nepal. Such remark and behaviour couldn’t be expected by the Prime Minister of an independent and sovereign Nepal.
Deuba is surrendering to India to prolong his tenure in the coalition government.
Blunder-2 : Reiteration Nepal support for India for UN permanent security council member
The two Prime Ministers acknowledged that India and Nepal have been working together in the United Nations and other international fora to advance cause of common interest. The Prime Minister of Nepal reiterated Nepal’s support for India’s candidature for permanent membership of the UN Security Council.
This is the text of 41 no. point of Joint Statement.
India has been the major aspirant for the membership of United Nations Permanent Security Council. But the major obstruction for India are China and Pakistan. Since Pakistan is ‘all weather friend’ of China, Beijing also stood with Islamabad in maintaining reservation on New Delhi’s desire.
Nepal has always been positive to support India for the permanent membership since 2007. It can be considered. But the after the imposition of blockade, a serious crime against humanity, How could Nepal support India for this? India expressed displeasure to the newly promulgated constitution, put-forth the seven-point amendment proposal to Nepal through the Indian Embassy, Lainchaur and imposed blockade that hit at the nerve of Nepali livelihood.
New Delhi’s inhuman move created unprecedented hardships in Nepal. In such a backdrop, Nepal should think twice to support India for the permanent security council member. Not only that India has intervened the domestic affairs of Nepal, involved in micro-management of Nepal affairs and encroached the Nepali land, constructed unilateral dams at the border. One of the major cause for Nepal flood of 2017 is the dams built at the southern border.
Despite all these, Nepal now should make it position clear and that should be of Course – NO.
Blunder-3 : Agreement of Koshi High Dam
…The two Prime Ministers agreed that the work on preparation of the Detailed Project Report for the Sapta-Kosi high dam and Sun-Kosi storage cum diversion scheme be expedited. The two sides also agreed to strengthen coordination and consultation on the pressing matter of inundation and flood management in the border areas. In this regard, it was agreed to take expeditious steps, including joint visits, to consider appropriate measures for sustainable solution”.
This is the 28 no. point of Joint Statement .
Prime Minister Deuba didn’t raise the issue of the dams unilaterally built in the southern border, which are major cause of inundation and flood in Nepali side. Before departing to New Delhi, Prime Minister had assured all (to whom he consulted on visit) that he would put the issue of unlawful dams constructed at the border so that the water didn’t get the natural flow causing harms in Nepali territory. Even the leader of opposition and Former Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, while addressing parliament, had urged Prime Minister Deuba for raising the issue with priority.
But Prime Minister didn’t register Nepal’s authentic view on those dams though he took a major chunk of time to discuss about the inundation and flood. The dams are contravened to the international law and against international border.
Instead Prime Minister Deuba agreed to build Koshi High Dam, which has been protesting by the water resources experts saying the dam will further inundate the Nepali land. The Indian side has been long proposing the high dam in Saptakoshi river so that Bihar can be saved from the flood. Some Nepali experts have said that if the the Saptakoshi high dam and Sunkoshi diversion build simultaneously, this can be comparatively a win-win to both Nepal and India.
Some experts in Nepal are against the massive dam. According to them, the proposed high dam will be built in a seismic fault zone in the southern flank of the Himalayan range. Constructing a dam with more than 300 meters height in this area is to invite destruction.
One can imagine what would happen if the dam is brought down by the jolt of an earthquake. Flow of millions of cubic meters of water per second will devastate a huge area in Nepal and in India. The issue of human displacement is another problem. According to preliminary estimates, hundreds of villages and several thousands of people in Nepal will have to be displaced to make way for the project.
Nepali experts are against the proposed Koshi high dam not just on environmental grounds. They are skeptical that the long-conceived project will ever take off.