BJP and PM Modi’s diferent perspective towards Nepal

# Prem Sagar Poudel

Maoist leaders lined up at Tribhuvan Airport to welcome Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal while returning to Nepal from a visit to India. The faces of the two leaders sitting on the right and left of President Dahal, who appeared in front of the boom of television journalists in a very excited and happy mood, were worth seeing.

The faces of Narayankaji Shrestha and Pampha Bhusal questioned Dahal’s happiness. Jarnadan Sharma and Barshman Pun, who were sitting a little away, also lost their glow. Of course, tomorrow’s events will clarify why the face of Maoist Chairman Dahal is shining while the four leaders show dissatisfaction.

However, President Dahal’s visit to India seems to be trying to stand the Maoists to the Indian side. The statement issued by the Bharatiya Janata Party before President Dahal landed in Kathmandu speaks lots. The statement said that the visit of the former Prime Minister of Nepal and Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal will prove to be a milestone for the relationship between the two major political parties. BJP President JP Nadda has said that he is ready to promote deeper ties between the BJP and the Maoist Centre at many levels.

According to the statement, the Chairman of the Maoist Centre, Dahal, was also informed about the BJP office and its working methods under the campaign ‘Know the BJP’. In his meeting with Dahal, party president Nadda said that Nepal will always be at the center of India’s ‘neighbour first’ policy. After the formation of the BJP government under the leadership of Narendra Modi, India does not have good relations with its neighbors including Nepal. In recent times, it seems that the BJP is trying to improve foreign relations from the party level. It is also an imitation of the Chinese Communist Party.

There seems to be a dispute within the Maoists regarding their view on India. President Dahal is looking for strong support from either India or America. For Dahal, India seems more comfortable than America. That is why he made his visit to India a high priority. The happiness on his face while returning to Nepal from his visit to India also indicates this.

Dahal also has another desire, destroy UML president KP Oli and India is not satisfied with the work done under Oli’s leadership from the blockade of 2072 to the release of the Chuchhe map. It seems that Dahal is trying to depend on India more because of his ambition that he can become the leader of the biggest communist party only after destroying Oli. America has been giving more importance to Oli than Dahal. As a result, relations with America are not easy for Dahal.

Forward than Arzu

On Janai Purnima last year, BJP foreign department head Dr. Vijay Chauthaiwale tied Rakhi from Arzu in Baluwatar. According to Hindu tradition, Rakhi signifies the sacred relationship between brothers and sisters. According to Hindu customs, the Prime Minister’s wife Arzu and Chauthaiwale have brother and sister relationship. In the days after Rakhi was tied, Arzu is strengthening Nepali Congress, especially Deuba’s relationship with India by using Chauthaiwale. Arzu and Deuba, who are close to America, did not have a special relationship with India. The relationship of Nepali Congress was not with BJP but with Congress I.

After Congress lost power, the BJP did not take any special initiative on the issue of Nepal relations. However, from the last one year, it seems that BJP has focused on improving relations with Nepalese parties. During his visit to India, Prime Minister Deuba was brought into their office by BJP, who also welcomed Maoist Chairman Dahal in their office. Not only the welcome, President Dahal also signed two agreements with the BJP.

An agreement has been reached between the Maoists and the BJP to strengthen the relationship between the two parties. Apart from this, an agreement has also been reached regarding the joint implementation of various programs in Nepal and India. Both these proposals were put forward by BJP President JP Nadda. While leaving the BJP headquarters on Dindayal Marg in New Delhi after agreeing to Nadda’s proposal, President Dahal said, “I am very happy today.”

During the insurgency, India had been giving shelter to the central leaders of the Maoists. The then Maoist leader Dr. Baburam Bhattarai established the Maoist relations with India. After the promulgation of the Constitution of Nepal on 3rd Asoj, 2072, leader Bhattarai left the Maoists. After Bhattarai left the party, Maoist’s contact with India weakened. Bhattarai also became closer to America than India. Chairman Dahal is working to strengthen Maoist-India relations, which have been weak since 2072 BS.

Even when KP Oli was the Prime Minister, Dahal visited India. During his visit to India, Oli-Dahal relations started to crack after he said that he had agreed on the issue of running the government in turn. This rift set the path to the dissolution of the NCP. Now there is more sarcasm than relationship between Oli and Dahal. In this visit to India, Dahal has tried to bring the topic of running the government in turn into the debate indirectly. He replied that on the question, after the next election, there will be an agreement on the issue of Prime Minister. ‘Deuba is also positive about this. He has said that they will go together.

This visit to India was not invited by the Indian government. Dahal flew to Delhi in hurry on the invitation of BJP. Liu Jianchao, the head of the International Liaison Department of the Chinese Communist Party, who visited Nepal, Dahal flew to Delhi as soon as his visit to Nepal was over. Chairman Dahal held four-hour talks with the head of the International Liaison Department Liu’s six-member team. During the talks, Chairman Dahal also agreed to improve relations between the two parties. However, less than a week after making such a commitment, Dahal went instead of CPC to expand relations with BJP.

It is understood that the purpose of this visit is to find the possibility of an honorable alliance with the Nepali Congress in the upcoming elections. Dahal had been to Delhi to support the Indian thinking that UML or Oli should be demolished from the elections at any cost. After meeting with Arzu in Delhi, Dahal also spoke openly about this issue. In addition, it is understood that Arzu also informed Chauthaiwale about this matter. Looking at all these events, it seems that all the programs of this visit have been decided according to the desire of the BJP to advance Dahal as an Indian weapon to fight against Oli.

Indians also paid attention to Dahal’s welcome during the visit. Even as Arzu was in New Delhi, Chauthaiwale was active in welcoming Dahal. Dahal raised the issue of amending the 1950 treaty for election propoganda. It seems that the Indian side has made him to raise it rather than Dahal himself. He could not say a single word about the land of Lipulekh and Limpiadhura area which is under Indian encroachment which Nepal has put on the map. Now for Nepal, the issue of taking back the encroached Nepalese territory is more important than the 1950 treaty.

May take photos?

1st of Shrawan is celebrated by Nepalese as Saune Sankranti. According to the Nepali tradition, there is a custom of throwing Luto in the evening on that day. President Dahal wanted to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi while he was returning to Nepal to throw Luto. But at the last moment, Prime Minister Modi sent a message that he could not meet Dahal. As an influential leader of the BJP, it is clear that Prime Minister Modi does not want to meet Dahal.

Dahal told reporters at the Tribhuvan airport about not meeting Indian Prime Minister Modi, “We were told that we would meet. There was a meeting at 1 o’clock. After 1 o’clock we left in a bit of a hurry. While going to the hotel, I got the news that it was not possible now. But I am not tensed. All the BJP’s leaders had been met. If I had met Modi, I would have taken a photo. What else would have happened than that.” When he arrived in Kathmandu from Delhi, Dahal expressed that there was no point in meeting with Modi. While in Delhi, he tried till the end to meet Modi.

Dahal argues that he does not know why Modi did not meet him. However, in the meeting with Dahal, it seems that the BJP leaders have not taken him into their circle of trust yet. The BJP leaders were confused as to how far they would trust him which is not just that whatever is said will be accepted, but his habit of back biting of China’s endeavor to play in Nepal. It was seen that Arzu also did not want to advance Dahal as her alternative. It seems that it will be easy for Arzu to establish herself in this area when she has a good relationship with the BJP. There is also the possibility of Arzu coming to the leadership level of power on the basis of the influence that has developed now.

This visit seems to try to connect Nepal-BJP-US relationship somewhere. BJP is in trouble because Modi could not open up in favor of America. Modi is depended on China more than America. So that he cannot go in favor of America internally. While Modi remains neutral, it seems that Arzu will also have a place in some part of the relationship to increase by the BJP with the US. The US does not want to give Dahal that position either. For America, Oli is closer than Dahal. It seems that America is not in favor of advancing Dahal as an alternative to Oli. That is why Modi did not want to meet Dahal because of his weak faith in the strategic importance of this region. On the other hand, Modi thinks as Dahal told India that China had done this and if such matter told to China then they will get into trouble. To this day, Modi does not want to do anything that will cause problems with China.

It is not considered good in the diplomatic field to cancel the meeting after leaving the hotel for meeting. It is also a diplomatic failure. Since becoming the prime minister for the first time, Dahal has not been able to establish himself as a diplomatic leader. Dahal returned to Nepal after staying in Tibet for seven days as the chairman of the NCP and failing to arrange an environment to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping. The same incident has been repeated during the present visit to India. These two incidents make it clear that Dahal lost trust from the neighbors.

Dahal met External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar during his visit to India. It is said that the meeting with Jaishankar was political. Politically, Jaishankar is not in any decisive position of BJP. Coming from the officer, he was previously the foreign secretary. Jaishankar, who came to Kathmandu before the draft of the constitution of Nepal in 2072, returned to India after pressuring not to promulgate the constitution. He does not look favorably on the political leadership of Nepal. There is no basis that Dahal spoke openly about the interests of Nepal with Jaishankar.

The photo released during the meeting shows the ‘body language’ between Dahal and Jaishankar. In the picture, Dahal is sitting on a double sofa. Jaishankar is on the single sofa. Jasshankar looks casual wearing a kurta suruwal. Looking at the state of seats where Jaishankar talking with Dahal, it can be interpreted that Dahal was presented as dominated. Dahal has also expressed the intention like that.

During his visit to India, Dahal spent two hours with Ajit Doval, National Security Advisor to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Dahal spent the most time time with him, who had no political status. As the former Prime Minister of Nepal, Dahal could not meet Doval. Doval and Dahal’s political dignity cannot be compared anywhere. It is not yet clear what Dahal talked to Doval, not even caring about his status. However, it seems that Dahal is not able to win the trust of that Doval as well. This made the meeting with Prime Minister Modi impossible.

During Dahal’s visit, India seems to have indicated that Nepal’s affairs will be looked at at the personnel level but not at the political level. All Dahal’s meetings were facilitated by the BJP’s External Affairs Department. Arzu was not behind it. For the former Prime Minister and one of the main leaders of the ruling party, no diplomatic mechanism of Nepal participated in this meeting. The Nepalese Embassy at Barhakhamba Road came to know about former Prime Minister Dahal’s visit in Delhi only a day ago. Shankar Sharma, the Nepalese ambassador in New Delhi and the staff of the embassy only participated in Dahal’s welcome and farewell. Embassy officials were not involved in any other program. As a result, most of the talks are not noticed by others except Dahal. In this respect, this visit also revealed Dahal’s weak diplomatic understanding.

Overall this visit delivered the following message:

While China is trying to engage the Nepali Congress, India is also going one step further and trying to engage the Maoists. In other words, when China turned to the Congress, India turned to the Communist Party. It is the pressure due to the new path taken by China rather than the desire of India.

During the visit, Dahal has made it clear that there will be no surprise in the upcoming elections. His answer indicates that Oli will not come to the government for five years from the next election. The coalition government will be formed.

India wants to see the issue of Nepal from the personnel level. Indian officials do not want to waste time looking at the issue of Nepal from a political level. Of course, even in the next few years, there is no sign of solving Nepal’s problems, which were created because of India.

In India, the BJP and Prime Minister Modi’s approach to Nepal has not yet reached a common ground. BJP wants to improve relations with Nepali parties especially Nepali Congress and Maoists. As Prime Minister, Modi has not yet reached that stage. BJP wants to get information related to China from Nepal.

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