By Rayyan Baig, Pakistan Observer (14 March 2017) – NEPAL the birthplace of Buddha and the land of serene mountains is situated in the middle of the Himalayas, sandwiched between the north-eastern part of India and the south western part of China. It shares a border of over 1850 kms in the east, south and west with five Indian States and in the north with the rocky Tibet Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China. The present border between Nepal and India was the result of Treaty of Sugauli between Nepal and British India.
The big chunks of territories of Darjeeling, Kumaon and Garhwal, now part of India, actually belonged to Nepal. Nepal has a diverse geography, and eight of the world’s ten tallest mountains, including Mount Everest, make it a hotspot destination for mountaineers, rock climbers and people seeking adventure. It is a multiethnic nation with Nepali as the official language. The people of Nepal have been living in this magical heaven serenely under various kings till the creation of India. Since India’s independence the disciples of Chanakya have treated all immediate neighbors as their enemies.
India right from the start embarked upon land grabbing spree such as Junagarh, Munwadar, Kashmir, Hyderabad Deccan, Bhopal, Goa, Sikkimetc. Where it couldn’t, due to any reason, she adopted a bullying tactics or launched proxy to subjugate her neighbors, Nepal, an unfortunate neighbor of India, was no exception. Immediately after creation, Indian leadership started coercing and exerting pressure on Rana ruler of Nepal to subdue him. Ultimately, India succeeded inconcluding an unjust Treaty of Peace and Friendship with Nepal in 1950. Though the Rana rule ended just after 3 months of signing of the Treaty and Shah Reign resumed, but India’s influence over Nepal continued increasing.
India managed to get Nepalese Citizenship Act of 1952 passed, which allowed Indians to immigrate to Nepal and later in 2006, the controversial citizenship bill that led to distribution of Nepalese citizenship to nearly 4 million Indians in Nepal’s Terai region. It resulted into demographic shift in Nepal’s Terai region with increase in number of Indians living and working in Nepal, thus deepening Indian involvement in Nepal’s politics. The relations between both the countries turned strained in 1969-70 owing to India’s growing influence/ interference and trade, transit and security issues.In 1972 Mahendra Bir Bikram Shah became the King of Napal, known to the people of Nepal as one of greatest kings who wanted the Nepalese people to experience real democracy, and started exerting for the due rights of Nepal.
Mahendra was a visionary leader who proposed Nepal to be recognized internationally as a ‘Zone of Peace’ and was also credited for introducing the SAARC. Due to his love for Nepali people and struggle for their rights Mahendra became an eyesore for India, who got him along with his entire family eliminated through a royal massacre in 2001. The land logged Nepal has been blockaded by India at will, however when Nepal decoupled its rupee from the Indian rupee, over a year-long blockade was established by India from March 1989 to April 1990, denying port facilities and preventing delivery of oil and other supplies. This economic blockade resulted into serious deficiencies of essential goods? for the public such as coal, fuel, oil, medicine and spare parts; Nepal’s GDP growth rate dove from 9.7% in 1988 to 1.5% in 1989. From one of the most thriving economies in Asia, Nepal plunged into the league of World’s poorest nations.
Once again in 2015,after Nepal promulgated its new Constitution, India got annoyed and laid embargo which continued despite the devastating earthquake of April 2015. A country of 29 million people with 9,000 people killed and 22,000 injured grounded to a halt but India was not moved at all. On account of spatial terrorism, Indo-Tibetan border security forces occupied Nepal’s kalapani area of 400 square km during Sino-Indian War of 1962 with China and is illegally retaining it so for. Furthermore, Susta area of 140 square km has also been illegally occupied by India despite the fact that the map of 1856 British India shows both these areas as part of Nepal.
India, despite being lower riparian, also managed to conclude unjust water treaties with Nepal, through clever manoeuvring and coercion, that too she is grossly violating. India has also managed to settle millions of Indians in Terai area, whom she uses to create disturbance in Nepal. In addition, Indian government, with the help of Nepalese opposition parties operating from India, has been managing to exert pressure on Nepali Government to dictate her terms, whenever required.
India is also involved in a heinous crime of human trafficking in Nepal. An estimated 5,000-10,000 women and girls alone are trafficked to India each year for forced prostitution, making it a busiest slave trafficking routes anywhere in the world. Victims are also trafficked for labor in circuses, agriculture, and other manufacturing sectors. Nepal as a sovereign state has all the rights to manage the affairs of the state as per the wishes of the masses, but India through coercion and intervention compels her to act as a client state. The Madheshi, Janjati and Dalit people, systematically migrated from Indian Bihar and UP, are used by India to create unrest in Nepal and thus an excuse to impose economic blockade. Nepal needs to reclaim her Darjeeling, Kumaonand Garhwal areas from India, to reduce Indian illegitimate influence and have multiple openings to the world.She also needs to claim, through international community, her fundamental transit privileges, granted by UN as permanent right of a land-locked country. India champions the plight of minorities in Nepal forgetting the miserable state of Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Dalits and other minorities in India itself.
She has always been unfair in dealing with her weak neighbors, and none of them are safe from hermischiefs. India is aspiring for the membership of UNSC, but her poor track record, since 1947, proves that she is not worthy of any leadership role even at regional level, how can she be expected to be just and fair at international level?. The World also needs to take notice of the persistent meddling by India in the internal affairs of her weak neighbors and the plight of destitute minorities living in India including Indian Held Kashmir.