Dragon’s crawl towards Nepal

Just a few days ago, Dr. Amresh Singh, Member of Parliament from the Nepali Congress posted on Facebook, “It is shameful NCP became sister organization of Chinese Communist Party. Nepalese people are competent enough to fight against any autocratic or one-party rule”.

This post by someone who belongs to the main opposition party has ignited the mind of those Nepalis who are democrats and believe in a multi-party system. Singh made his post after the Nepal Communist Party (NCP) held a digital conference with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The two parties discussed about the Covid-19 situation, its impact and other contemporary issues, and importantly, ex-PM Pushpa Kamal Dahal aka Prachanda briefed media that in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic he would be visiting China.[1]

This was a first for Nepal – the political party running the government having a dialogue with the political party of another nation; not a Government to Government dialogue, mind you, but a party-to-party one. 

One year back, both NCP and CCP had inked an agreement at a hotel in Kathmandu to promote political exchanges between the two communist parties including their youth organizations. The deal was forged by Madhav Kumar Nepal, the head of NCP’s Foreign Relations department. Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and Pushpa Kamal Dahal (ex-PM) were both present when this agreement was signed.

During the program, a two-day workshop was also held focusing on Chinese President Xi Jinping’s ‘school of thought’ such as ‘comprehensive enforcement of party discipline’ and a joint bid for building the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).[2]

Two-day workshop on Chinese President Xi Jinping’s “thoughts” held in Kathmandu, Nepal in Sept, 2019 (Source: abcnepal.tv)

These moves of the NCP have been highly criticized in Nepal by those who abhor the Chinese autocratic and one-party system. After such agreements and dialogues between the NCP and CCP, the way the Chinese dragon has been crawling aggressively in Nepal and the silence maintained by the ruling party NCP have angered the democratic polity in Nepal.

Last month, the internal rift was so deep within the NCP that it was about to fragment at any time. But amid the tension, few meetings of Chinese Ambassador Hou Yangi with a few NCP leaders saved the party from getting splintered.[3]

Due to their open nexus with the ruling NCP, the Chinese are imposing their views and claims giving no care to the dignity and sovereignty of Nepal. After the Chinese assault on Bharatiya troops in the Galwan valley along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) recently, the Chinese mouthpiece, Global Times filed a story saying, “India has engaged in border disputes with China, Pakistan and Nepal at the same time. Pakistan is a reliable strategic partner of China and Nepal also has close ties with China, and both are key partners under the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative. If India escalates border tensions, it could face military pressure from two or even three fronts, which is far beyond India’s military capability and this might lead to a disastrous defeat for India”.[4]

How did the Chinese mouthpiece dare to issue such a story? This has created a huge debate within Nepal and many questioned Mr. Pradeep Gyawali, Nepal’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, to look into such an unethical statement from Chinese media.

Indeed, Nepal and Bharat have been facing a border issue after Bharat inaugurated a roadway for Kailas Mansarovar from Dharchula via Kalapani to Lipulekh pass. After this, Nepal updated its map and national emblem by amending its constitution to include Kalapani, Limpiyadhura and Lipulekh in Nepal’s new map. Meantime, both neighboring countries are trying their best to hold a dialogue to sort out the issue.

If China thinks that it would take advantage from this sporadic dispute between Nepal and Bharat, then it would be its foolishness and illusion. NCP has no authority to hand over the nation to the dragon. The NCP brand of nationalism, driven by anti-Indian sentiment more than anything else, has been giving an extraordinary jurisdiction to the Chinese to play with Nepal’s glory like Mount Everest.

On May 2, China Global Television Network (CGTN), the government television channel of China, had tweeted that Mount Everest, the world’s highest peak, is located in China’s Tibet Autonomous Region. Though the tweet has now been deleted, it raised a serious concern. China has deliberately floated this discourse to know the level of objection Nepal can make. In the long run, China would be more vocal in claiming that Everest lies in its territory.

Another alarming act of China which is making Nepalis worried: the installation of Gigabite optical fibre network at the altitude of 6,500 meters. On April 30, China Mobile and Huawei jointly took 5G connectivity to a new height by bringing the network to the summit of Mount Everest. It’s all happening because of the blind sycophancy and myopic outlook of the NCP government.

The level of privileges being provided to China by the NCP has crossed all limits. Nepali media has exposed the Nepalese land encroached by China: China has been illegally occupying 1,456 ropani (~ 74 hectares) of land in five Himalayan districts of Nepal, and one village each in Gorkha and Darchula districts have been encroached by China.[5]

So the question arises – while Nepal’s present government fuels its natural anti-Indian base, how long is it going to remain silent over the Chinese interference in Nepal’s domestic affairs? Is China allowed to hoist its red flag at Mount Everest? Why are the so-called civil society members of Kathmandu silent when China has encroached a massive chunk of Nepal’s territory? Or, are they only there to flex their muscles with issues targeting Bharat? Last but not the least, Nepal must ponder upon the underlying malafide intention of China’s autocratic policy.