A senior air warrior, graduate from the Staff College, and a PG in military studies. He is qualified to write on war and allied matters
Nepal had been a Hindu kingdom for close to 2000 years. During this entire period, the relations between India and Nepal were emotional as both nations had a common religion. Also, Nepali culture was closely intertwined with Indian culture. Many may not remember that the Buddha was born in Nepal and from where Buddhism spread to India and from India to Tibet and China.
The political map of the region changed after the Communist Party came to power in China under Mao Tse Tung. The head of the Nationalist party was General Chang Kai Shek and he was supported by the Americans but he suffered a catastrophic defeat and escaped by the skin of his teeth to Formosa. The Communist Republic was formally inaugurated in 1949.
The Central Committee of the Communist Party whose chairman was Mao Tse Tung decided to invade Tibet. This state in Central Asia had been created as a buffer by the British when they were the rulers of India and the borders were codified in the Shimla agreement of 1913, which was attended by both China and Tibet
Chairman Mao disregarded the Shimla convention and launched an attack on Tibet in 1950. The poorly armed Tibetan army was defeated and despite pleas for help by the Dalai Lama to the United States and India, nothing happened.
The failure of the Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to intervene in Tibet when the Indian Army was infinitely stronger than the Chinese army will forever remain a big blunder. This was despite the home Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in a letter to Nehru warning of the danger of the occupation of Tibet by China. Unfortunately, Patel died of a heart attack in 1950, and had he survived there is a possibility that the history of the region would have been different.
China consolidated its hold on Tibet and declared it to be the Tibetan Autonomous Region(TAR). This was only in name as the Chinese brutally occupied Tibet and it is on record that many monasteries were destroyed and the Tibetan nuns forcibly married to Chinese soldiers.
That was the time China turned its attention to Nepal. In 1960 China signed a treaty of peace and friendship with Nepal. The country was a monarchy at that time and they were not enamored of the Chinese and continued to have close relations with India.
The Chinese bided their time and worked assiduously to build up a base in Nepal through the Nepali Communist party. Most of the Nepali Communist party leaders made frequent visits to China and got the inspiration to launch an armed revolution against the king.
After a decade of fighting the king abdicated and in the last general election the Communist party came to power. When the Civil War was going on in Nepal the Indian political think tank did not attempt to support the king and the Nepalese Army with the result the communists were able to win. This was another bloomer committed by the Indian leadership and the Indian prime minister Sardar Manmohan Singh who was beholden to Sonia Gandhi. He had no political base and was a yes man.
Once the Chinese had their own man in power in Nepal they slowly began to turn the flywheel. As is the won't of the Chinese they began to fund projects worth billions of dollars in Nepal. The Nepalese communist party willingly took the dollars from China knowing fully well that it was as good as handing over the country's sovereignty to China.
The Nepali Communist Party is controlled by China. The Communist leaders are beholden to the Chinese for their help in seizing power in Nepal. They began an anti-India campaign on the instigation of the Chinese. The signs are now ominous that Nepal is going the Tibet way, but with a fundamental difference. Tibet was militarily annexed in 1950 and close to one million Tibetans have been killed by the Chinese to suppress their demand for freedom. In the case of Nepal, the Nepalese Communist party for reasons of ideology has been handing over the country to China on a plate.
The Chinese have poured in billions of dollars into Nepal which Nepal will never be able to pay back. They have signed a $3 billion rail project from Tibet to Kathmandu to the Indian border. There are many other projects the Chinese are financing in Nepal and as a quid pro quo, the Chinese have declared that Mount Everest which the world recognized as a part of Nepal has now been incorporated as a part of China. The Nepalese government has made no comment on this annexation.
Nepal – is getting economically, politically, and culturally colonized by China.
This is the background of the Nepalese claim to Indian territory which for two hundred years has been part of India. In 1818 the Nepalese kingdom went to war with the British rulers of India and they were defeated. At that time the British took over certain areas that were part of Nepal and Included as a part of India. These are the areas that Nepal is now claiming. For the last 200 years, Nepal had no claim to the areas and their relations with India were so close that both countries maintained an open border and no visa was required. In addition, 1 million Nepalis work in India for bread and butter and 32,000 Nepali Gorkha soldiers serve in the Indian Army. The loyalty of these soldiers is suspect as the Nepal PM Oli breathes fire against India and forges close ties with China.
China has assured Nepal not to worry economically and that is the reason for the belligerence of the Nepalese. Nepal has failed to realize that whatever happened to countries in Southeast Asia, that could not pay back the Chinese loan had to cede a part of their territory, which may very well happen to Nepal.
.As per the press reports, China is already calling the shots. It is deciding which politician should rule the country. In other words, the present ruling dispensation owes its existence to the Chinese ambassador in Kathmandu. She is the real ruler and all politicians look up to her for favors and directions. A boundary dispute with India has been raked-up only to curry Chinese favor.
Concurrently, China is pursuing cultural invasion as well. It has offered financial
assistance to those schools that teach Mandarin. Needless to say, Several schools have already taken the decision to make Mandarin a compulsory subject..Many in Nepal realize the dangers of getting to close to China but at the moment the Oli government is going ahead with its China policy.
The future for Nepal is bleak unless the communist party is overthrown, or voted out of power. Things are not looking rosy for India as the Nepali Congress party which has close ties with India has also jumped on the bandwagon of the Communist party on persuasion from China. The Chinese have deep pockets and they can dish out billions of dollars. There is however always a rider to the money being dished out as Sri Lanka realized when it had to hand over the Hambantota port to China for 99 years. Pakistan also is in the debt trap of the Chinese.
In the case of Nepal, the Chinese may very well after a decade or so of Communist rule incorporate Nepal as an independent and autonomous region as they have done for Tibet. The Nepalese region could well be called the Nepali Autonomous Region( NAR.)
All this makes this sad reading because the cat is out of the bag and it is very difficult for India to exert its self in this region with China already on the warpath on the border with India. President Donald Trump has already surrendered the initiative all over the world. This is a hard but true fact.
The Indians will be ruing that in 1950 the king of Nepal had suggested to Pandit Nehru that Nepal should be incorporated as a part of India but we do not know why Nehru in his wisdom decided against it.
Now in hindsight, we can see that had India acted against China in 1950 and accepted the Nepali request to join India in the same year, the history of the region would have been different. Modi has brought muscle into the Indian policy after he came to power in 2014 but the ills of the last 67 years before he came to power are like an anchor around his neck.
The Indian leadership has been nonplussed by Nepal's belligerence and no corresponding reaction has come from the Indian side.. This is being construed as a sign of weakness by Nepal. One is reminded of a famous line written by Field Marshal Barnard Montgomery in his "History of Warfare." He wrote, ' The Hindus( Indians) had tremendous bravery and a fatalistic contempt of death but lacked strategic sense.' How true the Field Marshal is as Nepal slips from India's grasp into the Chinese embrace.
MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on October 10, 2020:
Thank you Flory for commenting. Probably nobody likes this topic. Nepal is an obscure place and very much a landlocked country and obviously, it's importance is not there.
FlourishAnyway from USA on October 10, 2020:
This was a well written article and I cannot believe that no one commented yet. You explained a complex political situation well. Seems like Nepal has been overtaken by a drip-drip-drip method of influence.