It is no coincidence that nationals from India have begun appearing with alarming frequency on the radars of international security agencies monitoring the ?Al Qaeda? and its spawn. From Kashmir to Kanyakumari, the UPA under Sonia Maino Gandhi has adopted a weak-kneed policy. Today, in Kashmir and the North-East, along with the Congress-ruled states of Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra, terrorists have set up numerous nests that are capable of making the cities of this country infernos. Of course, whether it is the Prime Minister or the Home Minister, both remain faithful to the Maino line, imbibed from the heady days spent in the vicinity of Cambridge, that Pakistan is a country that poses zero threat to India. However, of more immediate concern is the fact that a policy deliberately followed by the UPA is succeeding in creating a ?Red Taliban? across the northern borders, in Nepal.
Thanks to the initiative of the UPA, all major political formations in Nepal were invited last year to a conference in New Delhi, where the Sonia-led regime forced through the entry of the Maoists into a ?democratic? alliance of parties that took over power from King Gyanendra, a monarch widely regarded as extremely pro-China.
The King had confirmed such apprehensions by enthusiastically sponsoring a resolution at the South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation summit in Dacca, that called for China'sentry into SAARC, initially as an ?observer? but later as a full member. Pakistan, Bangla Desh and Sri Lanka backed the move. India at this stage ought to have exercised a quiet veto, thus returning the suggestion to cold storage.
However, the Congress-led UPA did not oppose the entry into SAARC of the very country that has armed Pakistan with nuclear devices and missiles that have only one target, the Republic of India. After the summit, correctly, immediate steps were taken to dilute the China-leaning King of Nepal'spowers, by installing a ?democratic? government in place of the Gyanendra-led ?autocracy?. However, in the process, an even worse dictatorship, that of the Maoists, has emerged that threatens Indian security.
And just how ?democratic? is this new government in Kathmandu? The reality was that the very Nepali parliament that had been dissolved by the King in 2002 was illegally brought back to life . The members of this so-called ?elected? legislature last faced an election in 1999. Once revived, the parliament expanded its strength by a third, nominating the additional members, mostly from the ranks of the Maoists. It had been this armed group that had stymied repeated efforts to hold elections since then prime minister Sher Bahadur Deuba imprudently dissolved Parliament in 2002 to head off certain defeat in a no-confidence motion brought against him. Since then, Nepal had seen a succession of nominated prime ministers, each chosen by King Gyandendra, in a country where the Maoists killed any candidate not sympathetic to them. A series of clumsy attempts by the Royal Nepal Army to put down the insurgency by force failed, and by the time the Maoists formally entered the government (courtesy of the Maino dispensation), they controlled 70 per cent of the land area of the country but only 15 per cent of popular support. It is this disproportion between popular support and control over territory that has fuelled their violent campaign against political opponents, a terrorisation of opponents that continues in most parts of the country. India is backing them, and it was not long before several European states, led by the Norwegians (who are among the most extreme voices against India in the IAEA), bagan supporting this ?democratic? force against what was undoubtedly an oppressive monarchy
The Maino-driven support of the Manmohan Singh government to the Maoists forced the democratic political formations in Nepal to accept the guerrillas as the senior partners in the government that was sworn in a year ago, after a legislature dissolved in 2002 was miraculously brought back to life in 2006. Today, across the country, terror is reigning of a virulence last seen within the region during 1996-2001 in Afghanistan
Interestingly, even after King Gyanendra repeatedly demonstrated his preference of Beijing'sregional interests over New Delhi?s, the PRC has now established contact with the Maoists, and there is talk of a ?natural? alliance between the guerrillas and the country that was the home of Mao Zedong and has been run by the Communist Party since 1949. Thus far, only the US is openly opposing Maoist attempts at a full takeover of power in Nepal.
If King Gyandendra is still in occupation of Kathmandu'sNarayanhiti Palace today ( although not of much else), it is because US envoy James F. Moriarty publicly protested against resolution calling for the abolition of the Moarchy that got passed last fortnight with an overwhelming majority by a parliament that had a third of its members nominated by those who had last faced an election in 1999. India, of course, said nothing, although by now the efforts of the Maoists to prevent a free election have become too visible to ignore. After three years of paralysis induced by fear of the ruling coalition'sCommunist Party backers, India'sforeign ministry is finally awakening to the reality that the ongoing takeover of Nepal by the Maoists would create a security nightmare in India'sneighbourhood, along with Pakistan, Bangladesh and once again, Sri Lanka.
Expectedly, the ?democratic? government in Kathmandu has let slip the promised June 2007 deadline for the holding of fresh elections, and is now talking of a November 22 deadline. The fear among some analysts is that the Maoists will prevent the holding of polls till they can ensure conditions that woud make the election as controlled as the many that have been held in Soviet-bloc countries from 1950 to 1990.
Only united action by India, the US and other democracies can ensure that it is the people of Nepal rather than sundry authoritarians who decide the future of their country, and that too, soon. Nepal is close to breaking point, and unless a democratic process gets carried out swiftly, the risk of a civil war will rise to a level that may make such chaos inevitable. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh needs to place the interests of the people of India above the wishes of the charming lady from Orbassano, and ensure that a free election takes place in Nepal within the year.