Nepali Times Asian Paints
From The Nepali Press
Mission accomplished, Himal Khabarpatrika



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When critics of President Ram Baran Yadav's visit to India could not stop his trip, they started finding faults with the goof-up about the honorary degree awarded to him by the Banaras Hindu University, the fact that Indian President Pranab Mukherjee invited President Yadav to travel with him on his official plane from Banaras to Delhi, and the perceived breach of protocol over President Yadav accepting Indian Prime Minister Man Mohan Singh's invitation for dinner at his reisdence.

To be sure, the president's visit to India was unusual. The confusion over the degree mix-up was not Shital Nibas' mistake but BHU's, and not everything in bilateral relations between the countries should be bound by protocol. Besides, Russian President Vladimir Putin had also been invited home recently by Prime Minister Singh for dinner. Back in 2006, Prime Minister Singh had also broken precedence by welcoming Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala at the airport itself.

One could also argue that there wasn't an urgent reason for undertaking the visit. The country is without parliament, governed by an authoritarian-minded caretaker, there is no consensus government, the security agencies are in disarray, the people's sovereign rights are being squeezed by the inability of the political parties to sort things out.
On the other hand, there is a widespread perception that the formation of the Maoist-Madhesi coalition was master-minded and nurtured by India, and that the coalition is dilly-dallying about stepping down because of that support. Which is why many people think that the Indian policy is to delay elections in Nepal, and to push identity-based federalism.

These perceptions have become convictions that today define the Nepali psychology vis-a-vis India. 'RAW' has entered the Nepali lexicon, and is used frequently in political and intellectual discourse about India-Nepal ties. This means India's policy towards Nepal is seen to be dictated by an unaccountable intelligence agency rather than a political mechanism. The Nepali public is increasingly veering to the view that the Indian political establishment is not really concerned about sustaining the Nepali people's belief in democracy.

The reason for this state of affairs is mainly that the parties in Nepal that were supposed to defend democracy and make it deliver, the NC and UML, have been so feckless and greedy for power. Parties that were supposed to be pillars of democracy have been actively undermining it by trying to pressure the president to propel them to power. On the other hand, the ruling coalition had descended to the depths of deception and corruption.

President Yadav pushed ahead with this trip mainly because he wanted to assess India's commitment to protecting democracy in Nepal. His mission was to apprise the Indian establishment about the belief of the Nepali people towards democracy, and in this he was successful.

After meeting President Yadav three times, India's Minister of External Affairs, Salman Khurshid told the press, "India fully supports the efforts being made in Nepal to form a consensus government. A consensus government and elections are the best ways to stabilise politics in Nepal. India is willing to work in this direction." Khurshid's comments prove two things wrong: that India agrees with the Maoist-Madhesi coaltion's efforts to put off elections, and that its intelligence operatives are directing policy in Nepal.



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LATEST ISSUE
638
(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)


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