India gifted away Nepal to the Chinese orbit by faulty foreign policies focused on facilitating political space in Nepal’s governing structure for the insurgent Nepalese Maoists. This urge arose from prejudices of some in the Indian policy establishment against the Nepalese Monarch, forgetting that while India had not been able to stem Pakistan’s penetration of Nepal, India was now opening the door to China too in Nepal. The Nepalese Monarch was eased out, a republican structure was brought into place and the Nepalese Maoists were ushered into Katmandu. What the Nepalese Maoists could not decisively achieve through their decade of Maoist insurgency, was handed on a platter courtesy the present Indian Government (UPA- I). The results of such misguided policies of India has resulted in Nepal being politically unstable, Maoists continue to be virulently hostile to India, China being accorded more manipulative space in Nepal, and India’s strategic and national security interests jeopardized in the process. India’s strategic imperatives demand that the only path to make Nepal politically stable lies in actively working for restoration of a Constitutional Monarchy in Nepal.
Such is the frustration of the Nepalese people against the political anarchy presently reigning in Nepal that they have shown indications that they would welcome the return of the Nepalese Monarch. In recent travels of the King and the Crown Prince in Nepal they have been accorded rousing receptions by the people. Implicit in this trend is also the negation by the Nepalese people of the Indian policies which facilitated the easing-in of the Nepalese Maoists into the country’s political and governing structure.
India needs to take two steps urgently if it wishes to restore the situation in Nepal in its favor. Instead of relying on so called Indian experts on Nepal, or relying on Jawaharlal Nehru University academia and their linkages with Maoists leaders, India needs to involve people like former Vice Chief of the Indian Army, Lieutenant General S K Sinha who was also India’s Ambassador to Nepal and belongs to the Gurkha Regiment. But can the Congress Government get over its dislike of the General because he was an appointee of the Janata Government?
Having facilitated the restoration of Constitutional Monarchy in Nepal, India should thereafter work towards an expansion and up- gradation of the Nepal Army and help it to regain its old glory after the belittling of it by the Maoists. The Nepal Army needs to be aided by India into evolving into a hard-hitting combat force capable of preventing the return and resurgence of the Nepalese Maoists insurgency.
The former Gurkha soldiers of the Indian Army leading retired lives in Nepal should be a valuable resource that could be available to India in the execution of development programs in Nepal and also as a buffer against Nepalese Maoists ruling the Nepalese countryside. India’s development projects in Nepal should be specifically focused on upgrading the technical skills of the Nepalese youth and in generating employment opportunities for them within Nepal itself.
Special attention needs to be paid by India to the Terai region of Nepal bordering Bihar and Nepal as these areas are reported to be hotbeds of Pakistan’s ISI terrorist operations against India and fake currency funneling into India, by virtue of the Muslim population in this area where reports suggest an increased sprouting of Madrassa along the Indian border and so also conversion campaigns.
If Nepal’s political stability is a strategic imperative for India it necessarily follows that India’s Nepal policy cannot be confined to a specific civilian- executed policy but needs to be crafted as an integrated politico-military approach.