|Nepal's Capital Kathmandu|
Indian Blockade of Nepal:
In 2015, landlocked Nepal passed a new constitution with 90% of the votes in the national legislature. India did not like some of its provision and shut its border to put pressure on Nepal to force a change. Indian government denied it was responsible for the blockade. But no one could deny the ground reality of a major economic and humanitarian crisis in Nepal because of its total dependence on India for food, fuel and other supplies.
Leaders of the Nepali Congress which has always been close to New Delhi failed to unequivocally condemn the Indian action. However, the left-wing parties put the blame squarely on India for the crisis the crisis that caused a lot of pain in Nepal.
China vs India:
Nepal is a small landlocked country sandwiched between China to the north and India to the South. However, Nepal has had close ties to India because the two share a common religion and culture. Nepal has relied on India for almost all of its supplies.
The left-wing alliance favors closer ties with China. It seeks to reduce dependence on India by opening up supply routes through China, including a Kathmandu-Lhasa train link which goes over difficult terrain. India strongly opposes it for geopolitical reasons.
Nepalese Resentment of India:
When a devastating earthquake hit Nepal in 2015, Indian media descended en masse to portray the benevolence of Indians for the victims of disaster. The Nepalese found them so overbearing that they started a new hashtag #GoHomeIndianMedia which tracked for weeks.
|Source: Nepal's Himal Magazine|
The Indian media also attacked Pakistan's relief efforts in Nepal while it attempted to amplify India's response to disaster. Nepal's Himal magazine's cartoon mocked the Indian media by showing a photojournalist popping out of a smiling aid carrying Indian soldier's pocket.
Indian leaders have superpower delusions. They express such delusions by attempting to intimidate their neighbors--particularly smaller neighbors. Indians have stirred trouble in Bangladesh by using their intelligence service; they recruited, armed and trained LTTE terrorists in Sri Lanka; they blockaded Nepal; and they are using Afghan soil to wage proxy war of terror against Pakistan. All of these activities are not winning them any friends in the neighborhood.
Nepali voters have rejected pro-India politicians and voted in left-wing alliance that seeks better ties with China. The 2015-16 blockade of Nepal by India appears to have played a decisive role in voters' choice. It's yet another reminder that India's attempts to intimidate its neighbors are backfiring. It's time for Modi and company to re-evaluate their foreign policy that seems to be guided by the Kautilya Doctrine that says: "Your neighbor is your enemy; your neighbor's neighbor is your friend."
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