Explaining India-Nepal Border Conflict and Other Issues- A Letter to a Friend in India
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Dear Friends of India,
Greetings from your friend in Nepal.
Although the world has often assumed Nepal as India's small brother, I would like to address you as my friend. Irrespective of Nepal possessing an infinitesimal fraction of land, human resources, economy, and development than India possesses, we, a citizen of Nepal, would still like to call you as a friend.
We have seen no other friends like you. Let me be more specific. No two countries in the world share so much of the closeness that India and Nepal do. We share a similar culture and tradition. We have been traveling borderless with no passport needed ever since the Sugauli treaty's establishment in 1816, and our economy depends on each other. We see so much of us in you. You are our neighbor, and we love you.
We, as a Nepalese, can never forget your generosity.
I am personally indebted to India because I have spent my valuable life with you, including my college days. Today, in this letter, I would like to write not about the personal side.
Let me begin this letter with a thank you note. I am overwhelmed by India’s support and rescue during the disastrous earthquake in April 2015. We, as Nepalese, will not forget your generosity.
Those were one of the golden periods of our friendship. Eight months before the earthquake, India’s newly appointed Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, addressed Nepal's parliament. His speech was applauded and accepted by the whole nation, irrespective of their ethnicity and political ideology. This was the first instance that any foreign representative had the privilege of standing and speaking from Nepal's parliament house.
It’s not that the outrage in Nepal against India was null before 2015. There were many, but in those earlier issues, however big they may, our anger waves were concentrated towards our political leaders who compromised national interests.
In only five years, how we see each other has somersaulted. I am afraid the distance between our friendship is increasing, which is an enormous concern for me. The current understanding of the border dispute has grown outrages on both sides of the border. While Nepalese have united for this issue, I observe that India's people have contradicting views differentiated by their political beliefs. I do not want to put my statement on who is right, Nepal, or India, but I want to let you know that most of the statement in your outrage has been discussed in baseless claims with no historical research.
It concerns me because I do not want to lose you. As a friend of yours, I would like to put my arguments on what political steps might have generated a hard feeling among our country's people.
I will include the following significant points in my letter.
- Blockade in Nepal
- Road construction in disputed territories
- India’s accusation of Nepal being a puppet to China
- India’s political interference in the last sixty years.
India’s six-month-long Blockade of Nepal in 2015 was a nightmare.
Most of the citizens of Indian are still not aware of India’s unofficially sanctioned blockade, which followed a few months after the earthquake. In Nepal, a community and political party were unhappy with our new constitution, and they announced an indefinite strike in the southern part of Nepal. The government of India not only supported that strike but also executed it.
This was not the first instance Nepal had faced blockade from its neighbor. The 2015 blockade prevailed from all three sides of the country. None of the mainstream media from India reported it. Do you believe that we spent six months of a nightmare with a shortage of food, fuel, and other necessary items, including vital medicine and women’s sanitary napkin? Massive queues of customers for cooking fuel packed public vehicles, and those bursting electric transformers (because of excessive load) were a nightmare. This abnormal experience was a new interference in their life for residents below 35 years old as we hadn’t experienced 1989’s blockade.
I wouldn’t be surprised if you also are unknown to those happenings. One of my close Indian friends said, “There was no ever blockade to Nepal sanctioned by India.” He asked me to show some articles or references to prove it. I had no articles or links published from Indian media. Still, I showed him a Rajya Sabha (Legislative Upper house) video of Late Sushma Swaraj, Minister of Foreign Affairs (2014–2019), where she says such (2015) blockade had happened earlier (In 1989) too. My friend got to know that there was a blockade from the Indian side, but that couldn’t convince him how tough were daily Nepalese life for six months in 2015, mainly when the country was on the verge of recovering earthquake shock.
This blockade was a significant reason Nepal had to push itself towards China for alternate borders. Because of K. P. Sharma Oli’s (Prime Minister of Nepal, 2015–16) in the chair) nationalist stand against the blockade, he and his communist party won the landslide victory in 2017.
As a Nepal's general life, I wish no civilized community in the world ever experiences the blockade that we Nepalese have gone through.
India constructed a road in the disputed territory.
The part of Lipu lake, Kalapani, and Limpiyadhura is in the west northern part of Nepal. Sugauli treaty mentions that the eastern part of the Mahakali river decides Nepal’s western border. We understand that those India-Nepal disputed territories are strategically crucial for India. Still, it doesn’t mean that India can construct and inaugurate the road by ruling out any diplomatic discussions.
This construction raged a complete outrage in Nepal. It is a direct interference with the sovereignty of an independent nation.
The government of Nepal updated its map with those missing parts. Nepal pointed to this issue in 1960 and a few times more, but unfavorable political situation suppressed the voice, which has now taken an uglier turn. You might wonder why Nepal never issued its correct map till last year?
The possibilities why Nepal took so long to release their map can be as follows.
- Nepal didn’t have proper tools in the pre-internet era to make a map on its own.
- Nepal’s leader lured and silenced for their benefits (More detail in the coming sections).
- The disputed land is not so densely populated, and the major.
India should realize that China has no role in the Nepal border’s stand.
Nepal is not a puppet of China or India.
From the critical situation of blockade until today, India has slammed Nepal into a puppet of China. Recently, the army chief statement hinting China’s hand in Nepal’s protest is an unacceptable attack on the freedom and independence of the Nepalese. In any of the cases, Nepal has to balance its relationship with both countries, and neither India nor China can be the one to force an independent state to overload its priority at one side.
While the Nepal mainstream political party Nepali Congress, a trusted ally of India, never mentioned the 2015 nightmare as “India’s blockade,” the border issue brings all national parties to a single platform. All political leaders in Nepal have expressed their dissatisfaction and concern about bringing a nation united in this crisis.
A few Indian media are falsely reporting the Nepal-China relationship. This propaganda is a mindset of many of my friends who think we are inclined to China. As a Nepal citizen, I would expect no one to direct us in what we do, and we not, but they keep accusing Nepal is a puppet of China.
Nepal has its government chosen by people, and it is our interest in how we balance our relationship. Nepal is the puppet of neither China nor India.
I retaliate once again; the India blockade in 2015 waked up Nepalese from our overdependence in India.
Has India’s political interference outweighed its good deeds?
India has been helping Nepal at every stage of its history. India’s job and scholarship schemes to Nepalese have benefited millions of families. However, India has played a dominant role, especially in shaping many governments of Nepal and changing for their personalized interest. They supported the Maoists movement, which led Nepal's domestic violence to rise for a decade. They have lured Nepal’s politicians for their interest. Their dominant role and strategy in shutting down valuable industries in the 1990–2000 era, which could have been a major development index, will always keep India on a darker side in the heart of Nepalese people. No document might be available to justify this claim, but this is a story every Nepalese will tell you.
Had the Indian government implemented the right strategy for the development of this small Himalayan nation, had they focused on winning people's hearts rather than few opportunistic politicians, Indo-Nepal friendship would have been on a different level today.
Yes, my friend, your government interference. Nepalese have severely noticed Their strategy and unhealthy political support. Your television channel openly trends #ChinaUsesNepal; your former MEA secretary openly discusses on television that dissolving the government and putting their assets work for your country. And being blind to their propaganda, friends from India have their share of hate speech for Nepalese.
No slave deserves that. And Neither We are slaves of India.
Such attacks on our sovereign will never be acceptable in any of the forms.
Let the government discuss issues on the table.
It is high time two governments discuss issues on the table, and we disregard all other negative thoughts, including the TV channel of republic and Times Now. While we have to pressure the government to work with honesty, our responsibilities are to maintain peace and harmony until they are solved.
Let me clear you one thing. If I am asked to choose India and China as a close friend, I will choose India as my closest friend. I am sure the maximum percentage of people will also choose India. But this choice of ours comes as free will and not with not any predefined condition, definitively not at this condition what our generation is facing. It is my individual choice and fundamental constitutional right to vote for the Socialist or Communist government. Neither you nor your government should be the one to interfere in our choices.
Our hate game for each other benefits not of the country, so I see no advantage in arguing our agenda on a personal level. However, there can be healthy discussions at an individual level with the knowledge of the following checklist.
- The treaties were signed throughout history.
- The 2015 blockade effect to Nepal.
- Nepal is an independent nation and a puppet of neither China nor India.
- Flushing mind game played by media of India and Nepal.
- Our friendship matters more than any dispute.
Let’s continue to maintain trust among each other so that our friendship lasts longer. We want our friendship with India to continue for generations to come, and we hope we continue to celebrate this closeness with no hurdles in the coming days. Once again, we are thankful for the generosity of India and every Indian.
Your friend from Nepal.