Nepal, a small himalayan country that lies between China and India is now facing acute shortage of basic supplies like medicine, petroleum product and foods. This is due to an unofficial blocked imposed by India to Nepal. About one and half decades of Maoist insurgency, eight year long constitution making process from constituent assembly, massive earthquakes and now finally this blockage has left this country helpless and people are forced to seek international support.
Nepal is the most unfortunate country in the world since it has immense opportunities of development. It economically has around 43,000 MH hydropower potentials from the water resources flowing in it’s fetus, it is the land of Mt Everest- the highest mountain in the World; the birthplace of Lord Buddha, many different bio diversities, rich in language and is also a World heritage site from which the country can earn huge revenue if managed properly. But perennial political instability due to internal and external forces and also an insanity of leadership have made the country more vulnerable and least developed. Geographically landlocked and to be a ‘yam between two boulders’ are the threats and opportunity of Nepal. Nepal is locked with its northern side by China and west, East and South by India. There is open border and fixed convertibility exchange rate with India. That’s why Nepal’s dependency with India is remarkably high.
As the World knows Nepal, its gross domestic product (GDP) per capita was last recorded at 426.48 US dollars in 2014* * was hit by 7.8 magnitude Earthquake in April 2015, due to which 8,857 people were killed and 21,952 were injured* . According to the UN more than ‘eight million people have been affected by the massive earthquake in Nepal – it is more than a quarter of the country’s population. International aid has started arriving but there is still huge need – 1.4 million require food aid* . For many in Nepal, the earthquake is not finished. More than three million people are still living in temporary shelters during torrential monsoon rains. Daily aftershocks going on, over 380 of them above magnitude 4, since the 7.8 magnitude quake hit on April 25th*. They need national and international help.
And Now India, a big nation, has imposed unofficial but forceful economic blockage where the country depends on more than sixty percent of its imports. It is against of international rule and regulation to impose such a last resort to the landlocked country without any justification. According to Indian sources, India is not satisfied with the constitution recently promulgated by constituent assembly (CA) of Nepal despite huge happiness in Nepal as the painful process of making constitution was ended after eight years. India claims that the constitution has ignored Madhesi minorities whereas all Madhesi representatives in the constituent assembly were in favour of the constitution. A total of 105 of the 116 CA members from Terai supported the constitution’’.* . Total 95 percent CA members had voted for the constitution. Even India is unable to address the demand of Gurkhaland, a separate state, a demand of Nepalese minorities in India but possess herself in the internal matter of Nepal.* * * But Nepal never raises the concern about the demand of Nepalese minorities in India by respecting the internal matter.
Now in Nepal, aid work has been paralysed, schools are being closed, economic activities are contracted and people are being seriously victimised. Recently, Nepalese people had their own great Hindu festival in last week of October but they are being punished by the Hindu big bosses by cutting supplies! It seems India is using ‘excessive force’ to fulfil its vested interest from a very small and poor country, which does not seem rational at all. India has not given any satisfactory reason behind such huge punishment, That’s why blocked has been imposed unofficially.
India would say the representation of constituent assembly was inclusive. It is need to be considered that constitution making process are sovereign right of nationals. By considering those things Indian people and leader have shown their concern against their government’s reaction. Almost all nations who have diplomatic relation with Nepal have welcomed the constitution and its process. So if India have any dissatisfaction it would better raising the voice through the reasonable diplomatic ways instead of using such last resorts.
In an article Professor and Nepal expert S D Muni says ‘’India has reacted strongly to Nepal’s new constitution. In India’s official statements issued on the subject, the promulgation of the new Constitution has just been “noted”, not welcomed… It should have welcomed Nepal’s first Republican and democratic constitution worked out by popularly elected representatives.’’*
Similarly, Sitaram Yachuri, senior leader of India said “On this republican constitution which they have adopted, which we have congratulated the people of Nepal’’. Even he is dissatisfied with the behaviour of big nations India and China while dealing small country’s territory. “India and China should have moved ahead with the agreement only after consulting its neighbouring country/Nepal,” He was highlighting the agreement done couple of month ago between India and China without any consultation with Nepal to boost border trade at the Qiangla/Lipu-Lekh Pass, close to an area which is part of Nepal. ….Qiangla/Lipu-Lekh Pass, the last point of Nepal’s border with China and India and known as an ancient route for traders and pilgrims transiting between Nepal and Tibet, is a far western point, near Kalapani, which is a disputed border area between Nepal and India. Hence This is an example of big bosses how they are encroaching the sovereignty of small country like Nepal. This is the only example among the issues.*
‘‘In fact, the blockade is not unexpected. The statement of the Indian Ministry of External Affairs issued just after the promulgation of the new constitution were rife with such threats. Expression of the Indian Foreign Secretary, S. Jaysankar, during his visit to Nepal as a special envoy of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had issued similar threats when he reportedly told the Nepalese leaders: What if India does not welcome the new constitution?’’*
As far as we know there are two type of Indian foreign policies. One is propounded by Jawaharlal Nehru and other one is by I. K. Gujral. ‘Gujral doctrine’ is considered more ‘neighbour friendly’ and ‘good faith and trust’ oriented whereas Indian bureaucrats are more used to with Nehru’ policy which seems a bit self-centred. The Independent writs* ‘‘IK Gujral is a politician who improved India’s foreign relations’’. Furthermore ‘‘His five-point theory, in essence, argued that India, with its size and resources, did not need to exact reciprocity in all of its dealings with the likes of Bangladesh, Bhutan, the Maldives and even Pakistan. Rather, “it can act in good faith and trust”. He also argued that no country in South Asia should allow its territory to be used to harm another.’’* The ‘Doctrine’ emphasized on the importance of unilateral accommodation for friendly and warm relations with India’s neighbours.* . Now Modi seem more honest with Hinduism. In fact Modi and his Extreme Hinduists wanted Nepal to be a Hindu Nation by its constitution but Nepal has already adopted a secularism.
The author of the Growth Map, Jim O’Neill has forecasted that China would be first, the US second and India would be third largest economy by 2035 in the World. Considering those facts India and China should be more acceptable and accessible for all in line with democracy, human right and trust. On the way to be the largest economy there is massive competition between China and India that might be a cause of pain for the neighbours, which should be taken into consideration.
Back to the issue, another bizarre and unacceptable mind-set is India is blocking basic supplies and Indian Ambassador for Nepal claiming that Nepal was not allowed to seek an alternative either. He has clearly mentioned that “I don’t think Nepal is importing goods from other countries.”
It is huge loss of India too. So many academia and various walk of life who didn’t want to mention their name against indian activities in Nepal and were indifferences. But now they all have been forced to speak against current Indian role. Due to the malpractice done by India the Professor of Leeds University, UK Surya Subedi, who is an expert of international constitution has made clear that India has ignored the provisions of landlocked country, the trade and treaty of international law. Due to what India may be in trouble if Nepal raise the issue in the international forum.
Shashi Tharoor, an Indian politician and diplomat, mention ahead ”In the United States of the early 1950s, as Mao’s Communist party regime consolidated its hold on China and marched into Tibet, exiling Washington’s favourite Generalissimo, Chiang Kai-Shek, to the island of Taiwan, the American strategic community was convulsed in a debate over “Who Lost China?” I only hope that nearly seven decades later their Indian equivalents will not be letting out the anguished cry, “Who Lost Nepal?”*
As like Gurkha Army in United Kingdom, Nepalese are serving Indian Gurkha Army as well since British East India Company ruled India. So People of India and political leader have expressed their huge sympathy, empathy and concern in support of Nepalese people.
The serious questions here are since Nepalese people are victim of Indian vested interest The UN, the US and have not been telling anything clearly yet. Lately the EU asked India to help Nepal. As Nepalese people have been watching the role of the UN since Peace Agreement between the government of Nepal and Maoist in 2009. How human right was dealt when Nanda prasad Adhikari died in his eleven month long hunger strike asking the government to bring the criminals under the rule of law and give punishment to them as his son was killed by the Maoist.
Big nations and international institutions are doing almost nothing to protect the interest and benefits of smaller poor nations. They just are self benefited. If the developed nations and international agencies don’t help the poor nations then they are not allowed to seek support from those poor countries too. Finally, India will never win if neighbours lose the hope. No one can change the neighbour, so they must understand and accept each other.
A week has passed since India imposed an unofficial blockade, cutting supplies of fuel and other essential commodities to Nepal. Experts of international relations say the blockade has violated at least eight international laws and conventions, and this is tantamount to aggression.
1) The Vienna Convention
The UN passed the Convention on Transit and Trade of Land-locked States in 1965, allowing land-locked nations like Nepal to import goods from other countries without any hindrance.
2) Law of the Seas
UN Convention on the Law of the Seas 1973, to which both Nepal and India are signatories, allows all land-locked countries unhindered access to the sea.
3) WTO laws
More than 165 countries, including Nepal and India, are members of World Trade Organisation, and they are entitled to the right to trade with each other.
4) Transit Treaty
In 1989, India imposed an official economic blockade against Nepal when a transit treaty between these two countries expired. The treaty was renewed only after restoration of multiparty democracy the following year. The treaty is still in force but India has imposed an undeclared blockade against Nepal.
5) Bilateral Trade Treaty
Nepal has signed a trade treaty with India to access to sea via Indian territory, which has been violated.
6) Asian Highway Agreement
Asian countries, including Nepal and India, have signed an agreement to connect their highways for regional trade. Nepal’s East-West Highway and Arniko Highway are parts of the Asian highway.
7) SAFTA agreement
South Asian countries have adopted the concept of South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) to promote trade and business with each other. SAFTA law does not allow any country to block other country’s goods.
8) Member countries of Association of Southeast Asian Nations
(ASEAN) and South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) have started Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) which guarantees free trade among its member countries.
Images are able to tell the plight more clearly
Images: Google search