STOCK MARKET BSE NSE

Opportunistic oli puts India’s Nepal policy under test

With bigger brother China playing peacemaker, Oli parried the attack, whipping up ultra-nationalistic sentiments to contain the national rage.

Published: 15th June 2020 04:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 15th June 2020 05:50 AM   |  A+A-

PM Narendra Modi and his Nepalese counterpart Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli

PM Narendra Modi and his Nepalese counterpart Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli (File Photo | PTI)

In what could only be described as opportunism, Nepal’s Parliament approved a bill that unilaterally sought to annex three disputed regions in Uttarakhand. Nepal Prime Minister K P Oli redid cartography to seize three disputed territories—Kalapani, Lipu Lekh and Limpiyadhura—to divert attention from the power struggle within his Nepal Communist Party, as former PM Pushpa Kamal Dahal, better known as Prachanda, is pulling out all the stops to stage an internal coup.

Prachanda has the party under his thumb while Oli runs the government. But the complete mismanagement of both the economy and the coronavirus outbreak has made the government unpopular despite having a clear mandate.

Also, the spiralling youth protests and Oli’s poor health gave Prachanda enough opportunity to rock the boat.

With bigger brother China playing peacemaker, Oli parried the attack, whipping up ultra-nationalistic sentiments to contain the national rage. And Defence Minister Rajnath Singh opening a new road to Mansarovar via Lipu Lekh gave the Nepal PM the fig leaf he was waiting for.

His map-making exercise is widely seen as a China-led poke, which itself is locked in a stand-off with India on the Ladakh border. But such theatrics do not always ensure political stability. Prachanda is already complaining that his idea of creating an all-party panel to fight Covid-19 has not been not taken seriously.

That said, India has added another adversary on its border, raising questions over its foreign policy’s efficacy. The transnational oil pipeline it built for Nepal and its humanitarian assistance during Covid apparently counted for nothing when it sought to encash its IOUs.

The foreign office bristled, saying such artificial expansion of territory was not sustainable. But within the BJP, there has been some loud thinking on how it went wrong.

Its outspoken MP Subramanian Swamy tweeted, “How can Nepal think of asking for Indian territory? What has hurt their sentiments so much that they want to break with India? Is it not our failure? Need RESET in foreign policy too.” As for Oli, he is punching way above his weight. He ought to remember that poking the elephant in the eye can lead to a stampede with unforeseen consequences.

Stay up to date on all the latest Editorials news with The New Indian Express App. Download now

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp