Print Edition - 2015-10-15 | Oped
Friends don’t do like that
Oct 15, 2015-
Nepal promulgated a much anticipated constitution, the seventh in its bumbling march towards people’s democracy in 68 years. The new constitution was welcomed except in the southern part of Nepal. Madhesis are protesting against the demarcation of the seven proposed federal provinces, one of the most contentious issues. Many people have lost their lives in the agitation. This protest choked the country and blocked the shipment of essential supplies from India. In addition, it has been reported that India has enforced a blockade of Nepal after its leaders ignored India’s inputs for writing the constitution. Madhesi leaders say that their rights will be diluted the way the provinces have been delineated.Indian Prime Minister Modi had visited Nepal just over a year ago as part of his policy to engage with the neighbourhood. He was the first Indian prime minister to visit Nepal in 17 years. He addressed the Constituent Assembly, offered prayers at Pashupatinath and provided a $1 billion line of credit. He won the hearts of many. But this impression created by him didn’t last long. India’s reaction to the progressive constitution of Nepal was really shocking. India has urged Nepal to alter some of the provisions to incorporate the unsatisfied groups. It has even been reported that it told Nepal to make seven changes in the document.
Many countries congratulated Nepal and welcomed the new constitution, but India, one of the closest neighbours, merely noted it. India has always showed its Big Brother attitude, and Nepal resents that. India has been curtly told by Nepali leaders not to meddle in its internal affairs. Nepal also ignored the wish of India’s BJP to change Nepal into a Hindu state. And New Delhi isn’t happy with the way it has been ignored, and how the leaders have rebuffed its suggestions. Nepal is India’s neighbour, not a part, and Nepal should be treated in that way. Though Nepal is small, it has always been a sovereign country.
There should be an end to the ongoing violence in the Tarai through intensive dialogue with the unsatisfied groups, and their demands can be fulfilled by making amendments to the new constitution. Let the constitution be amended in such way that it is their constitution too. They can’t be left out or ignored. If we keep fighting among ourselves, it is natural that there will be foul play by other countries. When a country is in a fragile state, foul play will be conducted by other countries in the pursuit of their business. Talks should be initiated between the leaders of the two countries. Nepal is a small country nestled between India and China. We are a sovereign country. India can make suggestions, but not dictate what to do. It is a very unfriendly act on India’s part to mount a blockade of Nepal. We are an old and special neighbour, the only difference is in our size.
Published: 15-10-2015 09:22