By Upendra Gautam–
In the context of the Republic of India’s occupation of Nepal’s territories including the territories of Nepal on the left side of the Kali river, risk has compounded for Nepal by the utter mishandling of the occupation issue by a part of the civil society and the government in Nepal. The Nepal Government’s total failure to publicly assert in time Nepal’s rightful position on Lipulekh pass (this is just an example), a pass much inside the boundary of Nepal, constitutes the first fundamental risk of losing this and adjoining territories to China-India’s game of expediency (Leo Rose, Nepal Strategy for Survival, 1971, p. 6).
The other risk is due to a section of the civil society. For example, a couple of members of the Group 25 seem to be addicted to some induced “logic” which sound innocent, scholarly, very non-partisan (treating Nepal and India “equally” even when India has been occupying Nepal’s territories) and attractive on the face. Induced Logic No. 1 Nepal is trapped between two giants-China and India. When two elephants (China and India) quarrel they create difficulties for it. When they start making love that too, create difficulties to Nepal. The logic non-critically assumes Nepal as if it is only weak and poor.
When both the situations (quarrelling and love making between China and India) are bad for Nepal, the implication inherent in the logic is as Nepal cannot defend its turf, better will be for Nepal to get merged in them. A critical practical appraisal of this logic however shall ascertain otherwise. Even when a love or hate issue emerges between two elephants or ferocious animals, and they cross their turf during their engagement, they are pushed inside their turf using fire power if necessary. Induced Logic No. 2 As India has occupied Nepal’s territories including Lipulekh Pass for long, and Nepal cannot fight with India , let us beg for Indian territory that helps Nepal to have its direct access to the sea. The territories should be swapped between India and Nepal as has been the recent case between India and Bangladesh.
Another very innocent looking logic designed to support Nepal’s international transit and China-India trade. This logic totally confuses the issue and tries its best to fizzle the occupation issue out In India’s favor. This is not the time for making academic and seemingly non-partisan assumption.
The issue is Indian occupation of Nepal’s territories left side of the Kali River. Nepal’s foremost national duty is to liberate the occupied territories, reestablish its ownership and right over these territories and continuously maintain its territorial integrity. First the rightful ownership of Nepal over the occupied territories must be restored. Then the peaceful coexistence between the countries will follow.
(Writer is associated with Nepal-China Study Center)