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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

Nepal In A Zone of Conflict Or Peace?

January 26, 2008

Media For Freedom, Nepal

The progress made during Indian prime minister Dr. Man Mohan Singh’s
visit to China will have certain impacts in the countries of the region
particularly Nepal


Sooner India and China harmonize their whole gamut of relationship,
better would be for the world in general and countries adjoining to both
the countries particular. As Nepal has its unique position between India
and China, this is a matter of its great concern.

Indian prime minister Dr. Singh’s recent visit to China, which has made
limited progress in their bilateral relations, will have significant
impacts in the internal political situation of Nepal. Although Asia’s
two major powers are yet to agree on the terms to settle their border
disputes and other issues related to their strategic and security
interest, their willingness to follow the path of rapprochement and
reconciliation is significant.

“The prime minister’s China visit is yet another step in stabilizing and
consolidating relations with this important neighbor. That is went well
and opened fresh avenues augurs well for the future,” India’s former
foreign secretary Salman Haidar in his article PM in China: A Milestone
in A Slow Advancing, incremental process. “The formal state occasions
are not being seen in terms of any sort of leap forward on the border,
or the UN, or nuclear cooperation, important all these subjects are, but
as an affirmation of friendship and a willingness to develop closer.”

After the visit, India and China, despite differences on number of
issues, agreed to go ahead in the areas like in trade. The countries’
like Nepal - which shares border with both of them - have reason to
optimistic that the process will help to stabilize their internal
political process also.

“ Nepal has been passing through a great upheaval in which external
forces are much more prominent than the internal forces. It was natural
for traditional society like Nepal’s to see eruption of dissensions and
conflicts in the process for its transformation into modern one.
However, Nepal is facing the most serious challenging resulting in from
the crisis of readjustment of too big neighbors,” said the analyst, “As
of its rectangular size between India and China, Nepal is connected with
vital security areas of both the countries. China has its sensitive
Tibetan Autonomous Region connected with Nepal and India has its most
vulnerable Ganges plain adjoining to it.”

Regional conflicts have major influences in the internal politics of
Nepal. “To be sure, regional bipolarity more strongly influence Nepal’s
policy context than does global multiplicity. As long as India and China
remain stable, no third country can possibly dare to threaten Nepal’s
survival,” writes professor Dev Raj Dahal in his article Geo-politics of
Nepal. The geo-strategic location of Nepal renders it impossible either
to escape from or to halt Sino-Indian contest and cooperation.”

Indian prime minister Dr. Singh’s visit neither generated euphoria in
Indian media nor pessimism as leaders of both the countries have made
some progress in their bilateral relations but their differences remain
on border disputes.

“The major problem between India and China is regarding their border
settlement which had been made complicated by the memory of 1962 war.
The other issue is their relationship with the countries adjoining
countries like Nepal, Bhutan, Pakistan and Myanmar - which both the
countries have bigger security stakes,” said the analyst.

According John Feffer in his article India, China Vying For Clout in
Burma (The Himalayan Times January 21) writes, “ Burma is not as
significant a throne in the side of the emerging alliance as Tibet or
territorial claims. India’s provision to the safe heaven to the Tibetan
resistance movement and China’s territorial claims over parts of India
both figure more prominently in cross-border tension.”

Both the countries have matter of worries and concerns. “ China worries
about Tibetan dissenters having their base in India. Similarly, India
has its Marxist influence politics not only in West Bengal state but a
Maoist insurgency growing up in the area popularly known as red corridor
from border of Nepal to south of Vindyanchal up to Hyderabad,” said the

Other strategic analyst too agree that the world’s two most populous
countries India and China are leading trading partner but they see eye
to eye on several key geo-political issues.

“ Tibet and Burma are going to stay pivotal to Indian security. India
cannot afford to shut itself out of Burma, or else- with an increasingly
assertive China to the north, a China-allied Pakistan on the west, a
Chinese-influenced Burma to the east, and growing Chinese naval interest
in the Indian Ocean – it will get encircled. Just as India has not
abandoned the Tibetan cause and indeed remains the seat of the Tibetan
government-in-exile despite doing business with China,” writes Brama
Chellaney, India’s renowned strategic analyst in The Times of India.

The countries of the region particularly Nepal has to suffer sever
course of uncertainty in case of hostility. “If these two Asian powers
maintain their hostility against each other, politics of the countries
like Nepal would go on with instability and thus be a problem to both.
One is reminder of a title of a book China Meets India in Nepal written
by Girilal Jain long ago, before 1962 war, that the worries in the
decision makers of India increased many folds then but this is not only
India’s problems. China has also been equally expressing its concern
explicitly or implicitly regarding its security in the sensitive areas,”
said the analyst.

“Any hostile activities or gestures close to its security zones and
tracking out the security zone are very much difficult and complicated.
Bigger the power, greater is its security zone as it in the case of
Afghanistan and Iraq problems to USA,” said the analyst.

“Some months back, there have been concerns expressed from Chinese
sources regarding the situation in countries like Bangladesh and Sri
Lanka. Even though these two countries have no common border, any third
country’s interest in this area has caused serious concern in Beijing.
Politically as well as economically, China has its amazing leap forward
and therefore its concern in these areas cannot be ignored while
discussing the problems of Nepal which linked between two emerging
military power of the world. The past has a very unpleasant situation
for Nepal to survive between two big neighbors who were all the time
concentrated on military superiority,” said the analyst.

According to analyst, now, India has a defensive capability whereas
China does not have extra territorial ambitions except to guards its own
recently. China, though in both militarily and economically, has
advanced much causing alert among U.S. strategists. In such a situation,
continuing the trend of confrontation is neither desirable to China nor
to India.

As the optimism stimulates the process of life, as well as development,
enlighten persons in Nepal have a watchful eyes for a positive
development relations between these two countries.

“World survives in optimism and there is a ray of hope that the day will
come when both India and China would need a peaceful stable and
cooperating Nepal. It may sound utopian but for any serious thinking
person of this region, this is a hard reality and there is conflict,
chaos and devastation in adverse to this. Let’s not enquire about
Nepalese wisdom as they are of a very small capability and dimension.
The question now is to our big neighbors China and India and let us not
be knives to ignore that they know their national interest much better
than us. One guesses, the present meeting between two PM is a sing of
that,” said the analyst.

The state of relations between Nepal’s two neighbors -India and China -
determines whether Nepal is going to be a zone of conflict or peace. One
can hope that the process of limited rapprochement and reconciliation
between India and China will yield peaceful process.

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