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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Nervous India resorts to pressure tactics in Sri Lanka

Yuba Nath Lamsal
Panicked by China's economic prowess followed by its international clout, India is becoming more worried as South Asian countries are slowly turning to Beijing for strategic and economic cooperation. With the objective of keeping South Asia away from China's sphere of influence, India has been applying dirty tactics that include pressure, threat and even meddling in other's internal affairs. This is India's uncalled for behavior and response which is described as hegemonic and expansionist policy in South Asia.Pained from India's hawkish and hegemonic attitude that calls for squeezing and exploiting the weaker and less powerful countries in the neighbourhood, it is natural for smaller South Asian countries to look to Beijing for some concessions in various fronts and cooperation for their development. Beijing, too, is generous enough when it comes to the relationship with and assistance to its smaller neighbours in South Asia mainly Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Afghanistan-a source for a big headache for New Delhi.Already having brought Bhutan under its suzerainty, New Delhi is doing everything possible to bring Nepal, too, under its sphere of security and foreign policy ambit. With the Awami League coming to power in Bangladesh, India is at ease to get things done in the interest of New Delhi. The Awami League is viewed Bangladesh as an ally of India and has given some concessions to India on some key issues.The next target is obviously Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka is more important than other South Asian countries not only for India but also for the entire world because of its strategic location. Sri Lanka is situated at such a point of India Ocean which is commercially and strategically very important. Asia is now become the center of global trade and Sri Lanka is in the vital point through which most of the trade passes. Colombo port is the largest transshipment port in South Asia. It is more important for India because 70 per cent of Indian cargo comes through Colombo.India is more worried in recent days because of increased and deeper economic cooperation between Sri Lanka and China. Sri Lanka is currently busy in reconstruction and revival of its economic development after a long civil war for which China has provided meaningful cooperation. Unlike India, China has been applying shrewdly its soft power image to woo its neighbours and also the developing countries that has established Beijing's image as a genuine partner for development. This is the major source of irritation for India.As a part of its foreign policy, India has adopted coercive method and pressure tactics to bring smaller South Asian neighbours to its terms. The recent tactics adopted by India in Sri Lanka are illustrative of New Delhi's long-held hegemonic and coercive policy.To enforce this policy in relation to Sri Lanka, a three-member high level Indian team headed by National Defence Advisor Shiv Shankar Menon, recently, visited Colombo to formally communicate New Delhi's displeasure over Colombo's ties and cooperative partnership with China. The tone and tenor with which Indian team that comprised, apart from Menon, foreign secretary Nirupama Rao and defense secretary Pradip Kumar, spoke in Colombo made it clear that India and Sri Lanka are not at ease in terms of bilateral relations. The Indian team communicated to Sri Lankan leaders and officials that New Delhi was deeply concerned over the deepening bilateral relations between Sri Lanka and China over the years. The message of the Indian team was loud and clear that New Delhi would adopt all possible measures, including coercive ones, to force Sri Lanka to remain far from China. Initially, India has hinted that it would raise the UN report on war crimes if Colombo did not toe Indian line and break its partnership with China. This is an ugly pressure tactics of India to keep Sri Lanka under its sphere of influence, which is unjust, unwarranted and undiplomatic.Towards the end of civil war, India's tacit support helped Sri Lankan government troops to defeat LTTE rebels. India's tactics of supporting Sri Lankan government in the civil war was guided by two factors. The first one is its enmity with LTTE that came to the fore after the assassination of India's former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. The second factor is guided by its strategy of compelling Sri Lankan government to allow more leeway for New Delhi in Sri Lankan affairs. Despite its indirect support in the war against LTTE, Sri Lanka refused to toe Indian line in everything but adopted the policy of having relations with all countries including India and China on the basis of mutual equality and national interest.Even in the ethnic conflict that turned into a civil war in Sri Lanka, Indian hand was more than visible. India initially trained and funded LTTE fighters who not only disrupted peace and development in Sri Lanka but also ultimately caused a great damage to India itself. All developments have shown that India first creates trouble in the neighbourhood and then comes up with a proposal to help for its solution. But this policy is not guided by its intention of helping the neighbour but to pave the way for its interference. In Sri Lanka, India created the ethnic war but later it came with the proposal to disarm the LTTE and accordingly sent troops under the agreement signed between Sri Lankan government of J R Jayawardhane and Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. However, the Indian mission utterly failed in Sri Lanka because the people, parties and politicians of Sri Lanka overwhelmingly opposed Indian mission and interference. Even LTTE which was created by India stood against Indian mission. This is how Sri Lankan people stood firmly against Indian intervention and demonstrated a sense of patriotism which failed Indian design.India created the LTTE to destabilize and ultimately disintegrate Sri Lanka because Sri Lanka was well ahead of India in terms of development and economic growth. Had there not been civil war, Sri Lanka would have been at par with either Singapore or South Korea at present. But India did not see its neighbour to progress and prosper and instigated ethnic conflict that mutilated Sri Lanka's development endeavor.Despite India's tacit support to Sri Lankan government in its war against LTTE, Colombo got well aware of India's intention and became extra cautious in dealing with New Delhi. On the contrary, China's policy is guided by strengthening peace, stability and growth in the neighbourhood which naturally attracted South Asian countries including Sri Lanka to build stronger and cooperative relationship with Beijing. It is this reason why China was involved more in reconstruction works of Sri Lanka which irritated New Delhi more than anything. India neither assists the neighbours with good intention nor does it tolerate other countries' assistance in any of South Asian countries. India's policy is to keep its neighbours in backwardness so that they would always remain subservient to New Delhi in all fronts.This recent moves India has taken in relation to Sri Lanka once again reinforces the fact that India has not given up its colonial hangover. Based on Kautilya's Mandala theory 'your neighbour is always an enemy and neighbour's neighbour is friend', India has dubbed all its immediate neighbours that include Nepal, Bhutan, Pakistan China, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh as its enemies. India cannot afford to antagonize China and also thinks twice before taking any move against Pakistan. But New Delhi tries to coerce smaller and weaker neighbours line Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh not to have friendly relationship with Beijing and also Pakistan.Although New Delhi considers all its neighbours as its enemies, it considers China as a too big a power to challenge and deal with. Thus, New Delhi does not want China's involvement in South Asia. China is already involved in several infrastructure development projects, India considers it as a threat to its national security and maritime movement. China has built a large harbour at Hambantota in southern Sri Lanka, as part of its expanding maritime presence in the Indian Ocean, which is a major headache for India. Moreover, India seeks to safeguard its maritime routes through the Indian Ocean for which Sri Lanka is vital. India's this attitude can be substantiated by the remarks of foreign minister S M Krishna who said, "We would not allow any country to use Sri Lanka as a launching pad against India and this is our stated position".India's concern about Beijing is shared also by the United States. Thus, the United States has recently cultivated New Delhi as a counterweight to China, which is reflected in the recent overtures and moves of India in relation with Sri Lanka and other neighbours. However, Sri Lanka has repeatedly made its position clear viz-a-viz China and India. President Mahinda Rajapaksa has said on more than one occasion that Sri Lanka considers India as an ally and China as a genuine friend and development partner. China's concern in Sri Lanka is purely economic and commercial but not strategic. Accordingly, Sri Lanka provides China with more commercial space because India is less interested in commercial engagements and infrastructure developments in Sri Lanka in comparison to China. Even so, any economic growth of Sri Lanka will inevitably benefits India as well.Thus, no country needs to be worried about China's presence in South Asia. As China is growing economically in leaps and bound, all its neighbours including those in South Asia can take benefit out of China's rise. That is exactly what Sri Lanka is trying to do. There should, thus, be no efforts from any quarters to prevent the South Asian countries from having good neighborly and friendly relations with ancient civilization and global power like China.

Factional rivalry takes ugly turn

Yuba Nath Lamsal
The inter-party and intra-party wrangling have hit hard our national politics. One can understand inter-party conflict because of parties' different ideological base, political orientation and economic goals. But the worrisome part is the intra-party wrangling and rivalry which have taken ugly turn recently. Personality cult among the leaders of the same party and factional fighting within parties have fettered and impaired the political and peace process that is underway for the last five years. No political party-big or small, is free from the intra-party bickering. The bigger the party, the stiffer is the rivalry. Given the open and intense rivalry in the parties, it seems that parties have lost their real quality but degenerated into loose alliances of different interest groups. Political parties are formed, run and guided by certain ideology, principle, political commitment and goals. Thus, inter-party differences are natural. But differences on ideology and programmes in the same political party cannot be understood.The country is already bitten by nasty inter-party conflict. The dispute among the parties on several key issues has prolongoued political crisis in the country. But parties are trying to narrow down differences which is a positive indication in our national politics. The problem has been more serious because the leaders have not been able to manage the differences and disputes within parties. The present developments have shown that intra-party differences and disputes are more serious than the inter-party dispute. In some issues, the leaders are prepared to make compromises with other parties rather than making consensus to the leaders of their own parties and their rival groups. This is more with the UCPN-Maoist and the CPN-UML than the Nepali Congress and other parties.Currently the political process has stagnated due mainly to differences on some of the key issues that are linked with peace and constitution. In principle, all political parties are committed to peace and constitution. However, their actions do not match with their verbal commitments. In rhetoric and public speech, no political party and leader is against peace and constitution. Such commitment and rhetoric appear to be only for public consumption to fool and deceive the people and international community. The stance suddenly takes a U-turn in the closed door debate and discussion. This duplicity and double standard have mutilated the peace and political process and only prolongoued the crisis. The inconsistency and discrepancy in rhetoric and action is the major problem of contemporary Nepal that has created hitch and hiccups in finding an amicable solution to the problem the country is facing at present.This is a case of dishonesty and insincerity of politicians and political parties. and also a testimony of the fact that leaders are not guided by national interest but are motivated more by partisan agenda and interest of their clique within their own party. Some leaders are not motivated even by the interest of the party but by his/her personal interest and the interest of a coterie. This is a chronic problem in our national politics, which exist in all political parties. It is, perhaps, this reason why politics is being christened by the people in Nepal as a game of treachery, deceit and duplicity. Even leaders and political activists agree this in private although they deny in public. The politics of deception is guided by lust for power, position and profit. Politics should be a service to the people and the country through which the interest of the nation and the people are served. However, politics in present Nepal is being taken as a lucrative commercial venture that is expected to give profit to the politicians. The more you deceive the people, the more successful leader you become in Nepal. Nothing can be bigger irony than this situation. This mentality has corroded the value of politics, which, in principle, is a game of fair people. But politics in Nepal is now being viewed as a vocation of crooks, criminals and corrupt. The pursuit of power, profit and position has guided the politics that has eroded the fundamental values of politics. The fractions and fissures in parties are the products of the mentality that treats politics a profit making venture. This tendency has also awfully afflicted the image of leaders and eroded people's faith on parties.This situation arrived in the absence of statesmanship in our leaders. It looks no statesman was ever born in Nepal. Most of those, who came up in our political scene in the name of leaders and politicians, eventually degenerated into the status of chieftains, gang leaders and political thugs. The country is now in need of statesmen but unfortunately we have none. Had there been statesman in our parties, they would have managed internal turmoil of the parties and ground for national consensus on national issues. But the intense factional fighting within the parties and vicious conflict among the parties only indicates the fact that our leaders lack even minimum political ethos. All political parties are suffering from this uncultured syndrome which has given rise to intra-party rivalry and fighting. Let us look at the nature and extent of the intra-party rivalry and enmity in all major parties. The UCPN-Maoist is currently the largest political party and so is the extent of factional politics and fighting in it. There are three distinct factions in the Maoist party. The three factions are Prachanda group, Mohan Vaidya group and Baburam Bhattarai group. As the factional fighting escalates in the UCPN-Maoist, several other groups are also emerging or are likely to emerge. The rivalry among these factions is so spiteful that they have even indulged in physical attacks and character assassination against one another. The crux of the issue that has created the rift among them is the one that related to the party's tactical policy. On this issue Prachanda and Baburam groups are together as they have similar approach while Mohan Vaidya group has different view. Prachanda and Baburam want the tasks of constitution writing and peace process to be concluded even making certain compromises on issues including the management of the People's Liberation Army (PLA). However, Mohan Vaidya is against any kind of compromise and wants the management of the PLA and the peace process should go hand in hand. Vaidya wants the continuity of the programme of popular revolt should the constitution writing process fails while Prachanda and Baburam Bhattarai due are of the opinion that the revolt is not possible and feasible at present because, according to them, people want peace and constitution but not the revolt.The factional fighting is not a new phenomenon in the Nepali Congress. Right from the beginning, the party has suffered from groupism. At present two visible camps are at work in the Nepali Congress. One is led by party chairperson Sushil Koirala and the other one by senior leader Sher Bahadur Deuba. Both the groups are in the struggle for their own existence and power. They have no ideological differences because ideology has taken a back seat in the Nepali Congress and the profit politics has gained momentum. But these two groups tend to present contradictory views on every issue just to show that they are different from the other. Similar is the case with the CPN-UML. The factional rivalry in the CPN-UML, too, is bitter. There are three groups in the CPN-UML, which are known as Khanal group, Oli group and Nepal group. Each of the group is trying to eliminate the other. The CPN-UML, too, gave up ideological ground long ago but has adopted the politics of convenience. Thus, there is no ideological dispute in this party but the rivalry is for internal as well as state power.The rift has afflicted the Madhes based parties more than others. The Madhesi Janadhikar Forum split twice in the period of two years. Terai Madhesh Loktantrik Party, too, split. The Sadbhavana Party has been divided into five groups. And other political parties, too, are not free from the factional syndrome.The factional fighting in the party has had its own repercussion in the constitution writing and the peace process, which is already visible. Although all the groups try to give ideological and political colour to the intra-party battle, the rivalry, in reality, is not for ideology and values but for power and position. The animosity among the groups within the same party is so bitter that they may have sense of amity with other parties rather than with the rival group of their own party. This shows culture of bitterness and malevolence in our political party, which does not at all serve any purpose. This unhealthy rivalry devoid of principle is not likely to lead the country and politics to right direction but may cause deviation and degeneration in the party and leaders, which would be detrimental to the country, people and the nascent democracy.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

News: Small arms big threat to security in Nepal

Kathmandu, June 18: The use of small arms and other portable lethal weapons and casualties after-effects has been reported to be alarmingly high in eastern Tarai districts bordering India.
In the last 17 months, the use of small arms and light weapons resulted in 685 incidents in the country. Of the 969 casualties, 250 people lost their lives, according to Informal Service Sector (Insec), a local organisation that has been recording incidents related to the use of small arms and lethal weapons, reports Kantipur online.
The use of small arms and other lethal weapons is found to be rampant in Tarai, which shares open border with the Indian states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, from where these weapons are traded across the border, say experts. Tarai alone accounts for more than 50 percent of incidents triggered by the use of portable and small arms. Kathmandu’s case is no satisfactory.
Among the development regions, Eastern Development Region accounted for the most number of cases (332) related to the use of small arms, while Far-Western Development region is responsible for the least number of cases (320).
Violence, as a result of personal disputes, is mainly blamed for sparking incidents triggered by the use of small arms. Use of khukuri and knives is found to be most frequent, while firearms like pistols are found commonly used.
Insec says more than 60 percent of the victims of gun violence and other arms are financially unable to pay for their treatment. More worrying is the fact that nearly one fifth of the perpetrators of small arms violence are identified as female, it says.
During a workshop organised on Wednesday by Nepal Working Group on Small Arms and other portable lethal Weapons (SApLW) to mark 2011 IANSA Global Week of Action against Gun Violence, members of civil society, representatives from UN organisations and the government expressed serious concerns over the rise of use of small arms.
Speaking at the programme, Tajiro Kimura, director of UN Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and Pacific and co-founder and member of SApLW, expressed concerns over the rising use of illicit weapons in Nepal. “Use of gun violence is preventable. There are solid international frameworks of political and legal regulations which will be instrumental to reduce gun violence in Nepal.”
Insec chief Subodh Pyakurel blamed ill equipped security agencies and inefficient laws for the rise in the use of illegal arms. “The use of small arms during and after the 10-year-long conflict is to blame for more than 95 percent cases of violence. There are still thousands of socket bombs and other weapons across the nation.” UN says small arms account for 350,000-500,000 deaths a year and injure over one million people in the world.
The event was organised by SApLW, an open ended network of representatives from government offices, civil society and the UN with the slogan “Stop Violence through Arms.”
NOT A SMALL WONDER
• Use of small arms rampant in Tarai districts bordering India
• Eastern Development Region’s record found worst
• One fifth of the perpetrators of small arms violence are female
• Small arms account for up to 500,000 deaths a year in the world

News: New Chinese envoy arrives

Kathmandu, June 18: Newly appointed Chinese Ambassador to Nepal, Yang Houlan, arrives at Kathmandu today (Saturday) to assume his new diplomatic responsibilities in the Himalayan republic.
Ambassador Yang is to present his credentials to President Ram Baran Yadav on June 20.
A career diplomat, Yang, has already served in various countries including Korea and Afghanistan. He is a expert in regional security who is well verse with the affairs of Korean peninsula. Yang is the senior-most Chinese official to be posted in Nepal.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Indian Finance Minister's Nepal visit postponed

Kathmandu, June 18: Indian Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee's scheduled Nepal visit was abruptly cancelled at the last minute citing the volatile political situation in Nepal. A source close to the Foreign Ministry said that Mukherjee, who was to arrive at Kathmandu on Saturday for a two-day visit for mutual consultation with the Nepalese officials on peace process, army integration and Nepal-India cooperation, cancelled the trip at the last minute on advice from Indian Embassy in Kathmandu..
Appointments with Nepali dignitaries including President Dr Ram Baran Yadav and Prime Minister Jhalanath Khanal had already been arranged for the meeting. The Indian Embassy said that the visit will be rescheduled soon at a mutually convenient date.

News: Census begins in Nepal

Kathmandu, June 17: Nepal kicked off census taking on Friday with collecting detailed information of President, Vice President and Prime Minister.
Nepal conducts census in every ten year. Last census was conducted in 2001, on the basis of which Nepal's population is 26 million. Now Nepal's total population is expected to exceed 30 million and the preliminary results of the census are to be released in three months and the final results with detailed analysis in a year.
The current census expects to cover every aspect of individual and the family, including, ethnicity, religion, sex, age, income, migration, education, job status etc.

News:More tourists visit Upper Mustang

Jomsom (Mustang), June 17:
Dubbed as inaccessible for outsiders until a couple of decades ago, Upper Mustang has now turned into a beehive of visitors from other parts of the Nepal as well as abroad. Upper Mustang is an attraction for researchers, cultural explorers and nature beholders because it possesses captivating snow clad mountains, ancient cave culture and unspoiled Buddhist tradition.
Lomangthan, as popularly known for Upper Mustang, is now abuzz with tourists from across the globe to see how pure nature and Buddhist culture collaborate.
Until 1992, Upper Mustang was a prohibited area for foreigners. Since this place was opened for tourists, visitors are increasing interested to trek to this land of mystery.
According to Local people, the number of visitors is increasing every year. But this is more this year as at least two dozen people visit the Upper Mustang daily, said HRam Gurung, a hotelier in Lomangthan.
Upper Mustang lies in northwest of Nepal bordering with China. This place is important both from Hindus and Buddhists. The famous Muktinath (deity of salvation) is situated in this district and Kali Gandaki River, which is considered holy river for Hindus, originates from Mustang and flows down to south until it joins the great Ganges in India.
For foreigners, Mustang is known as a place where the Khampa uprising against Chinese rule in Tibet took place three decades ago.

Nepal's misguided foreign policy needs correction

Yuba Nath Lamsal
The foreign policy issues and conduct of diplomacy are both simple andintricate. It is simple because the foreign policy is the extension of thedomestic policy and if the domestic policy is clear, it would also be easierto set foreign policy goals and conduct diplomacy accordingly. It becomesproblematic only when the domestic polices get complicated that make foreignpolicy goal blur. Since the foreign policy is guided by the nationalinterests, the internal policies often dictate the foreign policy agendawhich make the job of interlocutors of foreign policy of a particularcountry easier.The conduct of foreign policy is intricate in the sense that the conduct offoreign policy and diplomacy is something like sailing through murky andtricky water of international power politics, in which two plus two is notalways four. The conduct of the foreign policy may be simple for big powersbecause they have set agenda and tools in the conduct of diplomacy. Theyapply multiple strategies to achieve their foreign policy goals. Thepowerful countries have better economic clout, military strength andtechnological control, which serve as the backing force for their conduct offoreign policy in the international arena. The use of soft power like mediaand money are their first priority to achieve their goals in theinternational politics. Should soft power strategy fail, they use the hardpower or military means to bring the certain country or ruler to theirterms.The more difficult and complicated it becomes for a poor, resource strappedand weaker countries like Nepal that does not have powerful tool toinfluence in the world of diplomacy. The poor and weaker countries likeNepal do not have resources and capability to resort to coercive diplomacybut have to rely on soft diplomacy. Against this background, the best toolof foreign policy conduct should be a wise and shrewd diplomacy that notonly protects one's national interests but also keeps the reputation andimage on the international political spotlight, which Nepal should follow.The diplomacy becomes weaker when the definition of interest blurs. InNepal's case, the national interest has never been the priority of foreignpolicy. In the past, the national interest was defined to suit the interestof the regime and all strategies at home and abroad were made to protect theinterests of the regime and its masters. This was so because the regime didnot command popular legitimacy. When the ruler's paramount goal was toprotect the regime, it capitulated to foreign powers often compromising thenational interests.The international power politics has been further complicated at the presentmulti-polar world. The Cold War had polarized the international communityinto the United States and the Soviet Union. The bipartisanism in theinternational power politics also had a serious impact on the execution ofdiplomacy for every country in the world. Although many of the developingcountries chose to remain neutral and joined the non-aligned movementrefusing to enter into any of the two blocs, it did not happen so inpractice. Every country, one way or the other, had to show their allegianceto either of the camps on each and every international issue. This was adifficult situation for countries like Nepal because it had to have friendlyrelationship with the countries belonging to both the blocs. This wasNepal's compulsion because of its geo-strategic location as Nepal issituated between India and China having opposite stance on the internationalsituation during the Cold War. Although both China and India had, inprinciple, stated that they would not align with any of the two blocs,India, in practice, had entered into strategic and military pact with theSoviet Union whereas China was opposed to it. Non-alignment policy was,thus, Nepal's compulsion rather than choice.The international situation changed after the collapse of Soviet Unioncreating a unipolar world led by the United States. Some analysts describedthe new situation characterized by the unipolar world as easier one forsmaller and weaker countries that could not afford to align with any bloc.But the end of the Cold War did not ease the situation in the internationalarena because the global conflict turned into numerous regional conflicts.In such a situation, the smaller and weaker countries found it difficult tomaintain their neutral stance when the conflict took their next door.The unipolar world is not likely to remain for a long time. The world issoon going to be a multi-polar one because some new powers are emergingclearly challenging the United States of America. Although China hasrepeatedly made its position clear by stating that it by no means wants tobe a super power, its economic and military might has already created Chinaas a global power and likely to be super power in near future. China isalready second largest economy and fourth mightiest military power. Within acouple of decades, China has been projected to be the largest economy andalso the super power. Similarly, the Russian Federation is also revivingfast its earlier image of the global power and all indications havesuggested that Russians would be key world power in near future. Similarly,the countries like South Africa and Brazil are also emerging as globalpowers. This changing situation is a testimony of the fact that the worldwould no longer remain the unipolar but turn into a multi-polar one.In this new situation, the conduct of diplomacy would be further complicatedespecially for Nepal as it is situated between two rival economies andmilitary powers-China and India. China is already a global power whereasIndia is flexing its military muscle in South Asia with backing from theUnited States.Moreover, the traditional concept of foreign policy and security has changeddrastically in the world due to technological revolution. The improvementand innovation in communication and transportation technology and facilitieshave diminished the size of the world making it a small global village.Incidents taken place in one corner of the globe immediately reacheverywhere and create reactions immediately from all over the world. Therevolution in information technology has made communication process easierand shorter because of which countries can reach out to other immediatelyand instantly as and when certain event takes place and developments occur.The technological innovations have indeed made the job of diplomats mucheasier. But challenges for diplomats and interlocutors of foreign policycontinue to remain as daunting as ever.If we look at the case of Nepal, it becomes clearer that we have not beenable to extract maximum benefits from the newer technological evolution andchanged international situation. Nepal's diplomacy, instead, is becomingweaker and less effective. The world of diplomacy has become morechallenging and sometimes frustrating when one fails to cope with thechanged national and international context. So is with Nepal as diplomatschosen to pursue Nepal's national interests abroad and uphold Nepal's imagein the international arena have often seem to have failed miserably. Butthere is no measuring rod to judge who fared better and who failed in theabsence of clear-cult guidelines and priorities of foreign policy anddiplomacy with particular country. Most diplomats are chosen on the basis oftheir loyalty and link with the party/parties or person in power but not onmerit and capability. One can easily imagine how hand-picked person who doesnot have any knack and knowledge of basics of diplomacy and internationalaffairs can fare better.Moreover, the failure of setting foreign policy priorities impacted on theappropriate conduct of foreign policy and diplomacy. During the Panchayatera and even after, the foreign policy basis was defined as unflinchingfaith on the ideals of the United Nations and the principle ofnon-alignment. There is no shade of doubt that Nepal must have faith in theUnited Nations. The interests of poor, small and weaker countries like Nepallies on strong and effective United Nations. Despite such rhetoric andpolicy of many countries in the world, the United Nations has not beenstrong enough and effective in tackling the challenges that the developingcountries are facing. It is being increasingly felt that the United Nationshas become an instrument to legitimize the actions-both moral and immoral-of the western big powers specially the United States of America. This ismainly so because of the economic and military influence of the big powersin the international arena. The actions and decisions of the big powers donot necessarily match with the interests of developing countries in theworld. But the voice of the small countries is so meek in the United Nationsthat their concerns are either not heard or simply not listened to. Thesmall countries in the developing world take part in the annual generalassembly meeting of the United Nations and adopt resolution on variousinternational issues and problems. But such resolutions are only morallybinding which are often not implemented. The real decision making powerrests with the Security Council that too with five permanent members havinga veto power. The developing countries do not have due representation in theUnited Nations Security Council and they have no say in the decision-makingof the world body. In this context, the conduct of foreign policy and diplomacy must be wiseand pragmatic to uphold Nepal's image in the international arena. Nepal doesnot have options other than diplomacy. Thus, the diplomacy must be effectiveand shrewd. The first and the foremost priority of foreign policy should bethe protection of national interests. But national interest never becamepriority of our foreign policy. During the Panchayat, Nepal's foreign policywas conducted from the Narayanhity Palace and the entire efforts of itsdiplomacy were to gain international legitimacy and support of theinternational community for king's absolute regime. After the politicalchange in 1990, the Nepali Congress regime spelled out the basis of Nepal'sforeign policy as being democracy and human rights. The democracy and humanrights may be the basis of the relationship with the countries but cannot bethe guiding principle of foreign policy. But the minority government of theCPN-UML was quick to correct the foreign policy of the country and definedthe national interest as the fundamental goal foreign policy of Nepal.However, this government lived short and the conduct of foreign policy anddiplomacy remained under the shadow of instability. This has continued eventoday which needs to be reversed so that national interests guide theforeign policy and conduct of diplomacy.

Nepal’s Politics And External Meddling

Yuba Nath Lamsal
When it comes to assessing Nepal as a country, different actors have defined Nepal’s situation differently. In the eyes of the international community, Nepal is a least developed country with an agrarian economy that is slowly sliding into the status of a failed state. The assessment of the international community is based on Nepal’s inability to appropriately tackle the internal crisis on its own.
The assessment of the political parties on Nepal’s status is not uniform. Most of the parties do not have a clear-cut definition but are of the view that Nepal is a country whose development is conditioned by its landlocked position. They have different programmes for rescuing Nepal from the state of underdevelopment and backwardness.
Unclear assessment
The parties are unclear in their assessment of the nature and character of the political forces of Nepal. In the eyes of the monarchists, all the political parties carry an alien ideology and agenda. The monarchists claim to be the only patriotic force and say their programmes and policies are homegrown, and thus suit Nepal’s peculiarities and conditions.
But their past record does not match their claims as the monarchy that ruled Nepal for 240 years had one sole objective - protecting the regime even by capitulating to the external forces. In the eyes of the other parties, the monarchist parties and forces are right-wing extremists and representatives of the outdated and outmoded feudal system which is on the verge of extinction with the abolition of the monarchy.
The Nepali Congress is one of the oldest parties in Nepal which either led or actively participated in the movement for political change. The role of the Nepali Congress was no doubt crucial in the political movements of Nepal. In the beginning, the Nepali Congress was a revolutionary party which wanted radical change in Nepal. The Congress adopted the Western model of democratic system and socialist programmes were incorporated into its economic policies.
The Nepali Congress chose to be called a social democratic party. When it went to power in 1959 with a landslide victory in the first ever parliamentary election, the Nepali Congress did try to implement some of its economic programmes, including land reforms, which was a radical one at that time. However, the Nepali Congress, in course of time, degenerated into a rightist and reactionary party eventually supporting ultra-capitalism.
At present, its policies and programmes represent the capitalist and comprador class and gets physical and moral support from the imperialist forces abroad. It claims to be the only democratic party in Nepal and dubs all other parties as being either rightist authoritarian or leftist totalitarian.
The CPN-UML is just as unclear when it comes to analysing the country’s political situation and international context. It does not have its own policy but carries the agenda of either the Congress or the Maoists. It claims to be a progressive party and calls the Nepali Congress a status-quoist party, the monarchist parties regressive and the Maoists left-adventurists and ultra-leftist.
The UCPN-Maoist has made its own and unique assessment and analysis of the country and the parties. Based on its analysis, the Nepali Congress is a party that represents, protects and patronises feudal elements and the comprador class, and acts in the interests of the expansionist and imperialist forces abroad, while the CPN-UML is an agent of the Nepali Congress having no independent position and stance.
According to the Maoist party, Nepal is in semi-feudal and semi-colonial state. The Maoist party claims to be the only revolutionary party and capable of transforming Nepal into an equitable and prosperous country.
The Maoists further say that Nepal is beset with numerous contradictions and anomalies on the political, social, economic and cultural fronts. The crisis that the young republic faces at present is because of its inability to properly identify the basic contradictions in the society and their root causes and accordingly resolve them permanently.
The crises and contradictions had long been embedded in the Nepali society, but no attention was paid to tackle and solve these crises in the past. The eyes opened wide only after the contradictions came to the surface, creating a real crisis in the society.
The Maoist insurgency is the result of multiple contradictions of the Nepali society. Ever since Nepal was created, the goal and objectives of the rulers were to protect the interests of the elite and feudal class. The centralised structure of the state could hardly address the backward and marginalised sections of the society because of its class interest and orientation. This gave further rise to contradictions in the society, which were reflected in the form of resistance on various occasions. Be it the anti-Rana movements, anti-Panchayat struggles or resistance against the monarchy, they were representatives of the people’s resistance to the existing contradictions and exploitation. The political change of 1951, too, failed to address the contradictions, instead it only helped them widen.
As an organised armed resistance, the Jhapa uprising was launched by some young revolutionaries for the ‘annihilation of class enemies’. The Jhapa resistance failed because its leadership was opportunistic which slowly degenerated into a reformist and revisionist line. Moreover, the Jhapa movement and the party that launched this resistance had no clear goals and plans, and it lacked any objective analysis of the Nepali society and its principal contradictions.
The UCPN-Maoist rose in Nepali politics as the 1990 political developments, too, brought about only cosmetic changes but failed to address the fundamental contradictions
According to the Maoists, the domestic reactionaries and external imperialist and expansionist forces have blended together, and a national liberation movement is necessary to free Nepal from external domination and internal exploitation. Under this analysis, expansionist and imperialist forces are more dangerous than the internal reactionaries because the domestic reactionaries are not acting on their own but at the behest of the imperialists and expansionists.
The Maoists have also properly identified the contradictions in the society and the principal enemy of Nepal and the Nepalese people. The Maoists have identified the external expansionist force and its allies as the primary obstacle for Nepal’s development. Although imperialism is a threat to Nepal’s revolution and radical change of the society, it is currently less dangerous compared to the magnitude of the threat Nepal is facing from the expansionist and hegemonic force.
The UCPN-Maoist has designated the Untied States of America as the leader of imperialism under whose command and control, its allies reinforce imperialist domination. With the change of time, the very nature of imperialism has also changed. Although the inherent character of imperialism remains the same, the methods and approaches of imperialism are different in the present context.
In the past, imperialism used force and applied coercive methods to control the affairs of other countries. With the technological revolution, the world has turned into a small global village. In the present technologically driven world, a country does not need to use force to control another country’s affairs. IT can do so through technological, economic and cultural domination and control. The imperialists are currently doing so through the media, technology and multi-national companies to ensure their control of the world. This situation is best described as neo-imperialism and neo-colonialism.
The Maoists do not see the United States as the principal threat because it does not directly interfere in Nepal’s affairs. The UCPN-Maoist has designated India as an expansionist and hegemonic force that is interfering in Nepal’s internal affairs. India is being, thus, viewed by the Maoists as the principal threat and obstruction to Nepal’s desire for radical political change, economic revolution, social reforms and cultural transformation.
The recent developments in our political spectrum are illustrative of direct external interference and meddling in our internal affairs, which back the Maoist analysis on the domestic political situation and the role of the external force.
Objective analysis
This has raised the question of the capability and credibility of our political parties as they cannot decide even on the formation of a government and instead seek diktats from foreigners. The correct and objective analysis of the Nepali society and the principal contradictions of the Maoists have drawn overwhelming support of the people, which were reflected during the insurgency and also in the Constituent Assembly election. This is illustrative of the patriotic and realistic attitude of the people, which should serve as a lesson for all the other existing parties.

Right issues; wrong perspective

Book Review
Yuba Nath Lamsal
The book under review is the outcome of a research work conducted on various facets of Terai region of Nepal. The author of the book is Hari Bansa Jha, a scholar who has already produced several books on various themes and topics. As a professor of economics, his focus is mainly on economic side of the problems and issues. Jha's write ups mostly analyze the problem and situation from economic perspectives. This book, too, highlight various issues of Terai from economic point of view.
'The Economy of Terai Region of Nepal: Prospects For Its Sustainable Development' is Jha's new book that has provided insight of the economic opportunities and challenges of Nepal's Terai region. This is a research based book in which many aspects of Terai's economic potentials and problems have been dealt with minutely.
Divided into seven different chapters, each part touches upon different dynamics of Terai's economic prospects and constrains in harnessing these potentials. In chapter one, the author discusses the general scenario of the Terai region, which mainly deals with the historical background of Terai region, rational behind conducting the research on the said theme, its objectives and methodology. The second chapter is mainly related to demographic and land pattern and also various dynamics of human life associated with these issues in the region. Terai which stretches from Mechi in the east to Mahakali in the southern plain of Nepal along the border with India has much diversity in terms of ethnicity, religion, culture and natural resources. Previously known as the land of Tharus and other indigenous people, Terai has come under pressure from heavy migration both from within the country and also from outside. As Terai has fertile land, abundant forests and water, it attracted many hilly people of Nepal who settled and contributed to the development of Terai perfecting making it an ethnic and cultural mosaic. Similarly, Terai faced a brunt of migration from across Nepal's southern border has been the root of all problems and a cause of friction and conflict in Terai. The author here has raised the issue of migration from Nepal's hilly areas but not sufficiently touched upon and analyzed the issue and the problems in a way they deserve. The real problem in Terai started when the migration from across the border intensified and the population of the immigrants grew geometrically. But the author has not raised this issue with due weight, which is the fundamental drawback of the book. The third chapter deals with the cross-border relations, in which the author has taken up the issues concerning the intricate family, cultural, social and economic relations between the people of Terai and those living across the border. But that does not necessarily justify anything and everything which may be against the fundamental interest of Nepal. The author has discussed many things specially on cross border issues, activities and relations but has not minced a single word about the pain and plight of people in several areas in Nepal's Terai caused mainly by India's bullying behavior. There are reports and complaints regarding encroachment of Nepal's territory in the border. Experts have claimed that Nepal's territory has been encroached by India in almost three dozen points. Similarly, the illegal construction of dams in Indian side close to the border which caused inundation in Nepal especially during the monsoon session. But the author has either deliberately avoided these issues or he is simply ignorant of the real problems of Terai. This shows one-sidedness in the analysis of the issues of Terai, which does not at all do justice to the people of Terai.
The fourth chapter is dedicated to the issues of federalism. The chapter has discussed in details the issues related with federalism. The author is of the view that federalism is a must for greater development of Terai. It looks as though federalism is needed only for Terai.
In overall sense, the book gives a broader outline of various aspects of Terai. The author has done hard work in his research work to produce it in the book form. There are some weaknesses and drawbacks in the book, which could have been avoided it the author had been a bit sensitive. One may not necessarily agree with some points and issues the author has raised but the book is worth reading to understand the perspective of Terai.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Nepal, China trust and respect each other: Chinese Ambassador to Nepal

By Yuba Nath Lamsal
Zheng Xianglin, Chinese Ambassador of Nepal, is a career diplomat, who has worked for many years in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China and Chinese missions in many countries. Born in Liaoning Province in June 1954, he joined Foreign Service of China in 1997 as a staff member at the Chinese Embassy in Japan. Prior to his appointment as the Ambassador to Nepal, he served as the Deputy Director General of the Department of Foreign Affairs Management at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing. Ambassador Zheng believes that Nepal-China relations are excellent and free from problems. In an interview to The Rising Nepal, Ambassador Zheng said that China and Nepal always show mutual support and cooperation on issues of mutual concern. Excerpts:Q: How are the preparations for the Olympic Games going on?A: The Beijing Olympic Games will begin at 8 o'clock on the evening of August 8, 2008. All preparation works related to the Olympics have been nearly completed. Specifically speaking, 37 Olympic competition venues and 56 training venues are ready. The test of "Good Luck Beijing" Sport Events has proved that all venues are up to the standard of holding Olympic events. The Olympic Torch will arrive in Beijing just before the opening ceremony of the Olympics. In addition, the following works also have entered the final stage: security arrangement during the Olympics, volunteer recruitment and training, press service, event organization, and the accommodation, transportation and food arrangement for athletes and officials during the Olympics.Q: But some in the name of Tibetan people are protesting in Kathmandu and elsewhere aiming to disrupt the Olympic Games. What do you say about it?A: The Olympic Games is a sports event, which provides a platform for fair competition and communication of athletes all over the world. The Olympic Games should not be politicized, which is the understanding of the international community and people from all nations. However, in order to separate Tibet from the motherland, the Dalai clique linked the Olympic Games with politics, masterminded the serious criminal acts of violence involving beating, smashing, looting and burning in Lhasa on March 14, and rampantly instigated a series of political activities aimed at disturbing and sabotaging the Beijing Olympic Games in many countries including Nepal. I want to say that Dalai clique's intension to split China will get nowhere, and the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games will surely be successful.Q: Who do you think is behind these protests?A: Dalai Lama and the so-called "Tibetan Government-in-Exile" are behind the protests. Now, one leader dispatched by the "Tibetan Government-in-Exile" is in Kathmandu, holding secret meetings with the ringleaders of some organizations for "Tibet Independence" including "Tibetan Youth Congress", and plotting various anti-China political activities.Q: China has achieved tremendous economic progress. What is the secret of this success?A: This year marks the 30th anniversary of China's reform and opening up. Earthshaking changes took place in China during the past 30 years. China's total GDP ranked No. 4 in the world in the year 2007, but the per capita GDP is still very low. On the whole, Chinese people have reached a well-off standard of living. The population living under the poverty line in China has been decreased from more than 250 million before the opening-up to about 20 million at present. Life expectancy has witnessed a large increase. Education, medical care, health, social security and other public understandings are developing fast and improving gradually.The successful experience in China's reform and opening up can be termed for short that China combines the promotion of reform and development with the maintenance of social stability, advancing reform and development in social stability and promoting social stability through reform and development. There are two famous sayings in China. One is development is the fundamental principle. Stemming from the basic national conditions, the Communist Party of China finds a socialism development road with Chinese characteristics, with the essence of focusing on economic growth and development. The other is maintaining stability is that is of top priority. As long as the society remains stable, different tasks can be completed, people can lead a happy life, foreign investment can flow into the domestic market, and the economy and the society can move forward. In the reform and opening up, China attaches great importance to combining developing social productivity with enhancing the cultural and ethical quality of the whole nation, improving efficiency with promoting social justice, and remaining independence and self-reliance with engaging in economic globalization.Q: On the international front, what role China is playing in creating just world order?A: China holds high the banner of peace, development and cooperation, adheres to the independent foreign policy of peace, and the road of peace and development. China firmly pursues a strategy of opening-up for mutual benefit and seeks to develop itself through striving for a peaceful international environment and to promote world peace through self-development. China will continue to promote world multi-polarization, advocate democracy in international relations and diversity in development models, and encourage the progress of economic globalization in a direction that benefits the common prosperity of all nations. China firmly opposes hegemony, power politics, and terrorism in all its manifestations and will work for a new international order that is fair and equitable. The Chinese Government and people are ready to join hands with people from the world to create a harmonious world with lasting peace and common prosperity.Q: Some western media and human rights activists say there have been massive human rights abuses in China in general and Tibet in particular. What is the ground reality?A: On April 9th, Mr. Jampa Pahtsok, the governor of the Tibetan Autonomous Region of China said in a press conference held by the News Office of the State Council of China that the human rights situation in Tibet now is the best in the history of Tibet. Mr. Jampa highlighted the concrete benefits that Tibetan people enjoyed after the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet by sharing their own experiences. Since the Peaceful Liberation, with the support and assistance of the Central Government as well as peoples of all nationalities of China, the life of the Tibetan people has witnessed earthshaking and thorough changes. Tibetan people have become masters of their own fate compared with the serfdom period under the Dalai Lama. The living standard, the average lifespan and the literacy rate have increased and the Tibetan culture is soundly preserved and developed. The life expectancy for Tibetans 50 years ago was 35.5 years old, but it has now reached 67. There are more than 1000 schools of different kinds in Tibet, compared to no formal school fifty years ago. There are currently more than 1780 religious sites in Tibet with over 46000 monks and nuns. Religious freedom is fully respected.Q: The Communist Party is ruling in China. But the economic policies that China has adopted do not seem to be communist programmes, but they seem to be more capitalist. Is it not contradictory?A: China is implementing the Socialist Market Economy with Chinese Characteristics. Insisting on the basic socialist system, the Communist Party of China has developed a market economy under socialism so that the economic activities follow the requirements of Value Rule, to liberate and improve the social productivity to increase the comprehensive national strength and to improve the people's living standard. Mr. Deng Xiaoping, the architect of China's Reform and Opening-up policy said that, practice of a planned economy is not equivalent to socialism because there is planning under capitalism too while practice of a market economy is not equivalent to capitalism, because there are markets under socialism too. The truth has told that China has found a road of economic development unique to its national situation.Q: You have already adopted one China two systems after taking over Hong Kong and Macao from colonial powers. What is the policy towards Taiwan?A: Now major positive changes are taking place in Taiwan's situation, and cross-Strait relations show a good momentum for development. People on both sides and the international community are willing to see these changes. Under the new circumstances, the Chinese Government will continue pursuing the policy and principle of developing cross-Strait relations to realize China's peaceful reunification, adhering to one China principle, and firmly grasping the theme of peaceful development of cross-Strait relations. The Chinese Government will continue opposing and controlling separatist activities for "Taiwan Independence", further enhancing the cross-Strait personnel exchange and economic and cultural cooperation and contribute to the realization of direct links for mail, trade and transport services between the mainland and Taiwan. We will also work for resuming talks with the Taiwan authority on the basis of "1992 Consensus" reached by Communist Party of China and Kuomingtang, solving different problems in a pragmatic way, seeking the well-being of our compatriots on both sides of the Straits and for peace in the Taiwan Straits region, and turning a new page for peaceful development of cross-Strait relations.Q: Do you see the unification of Taiwan with the mainland in the foreseeable future?A: The peaceful development of cross-Strait relations is the common wish and concerns the common interest of Chinese compatriots across the Strait. It is also the common aspiration of all countries and people in the world, including Nepal, that love peace. We firmly believe that the unification of Taiwan with the mainland will come true someday.Q: Could you elaborate on Nepal-China relations?A: China and Nepal are good neighbors, friends and partners. The bilateral relations have maintained good momentum for development in various fields such as politics, economy, personnel exchanges and so on. Of course, compared with the close political relations, the economic cooperation and personnel exchanges are far from satisfactory. We hope both sides can make joint efforts to enhance, not only the economic and trade cooperation, but also the exchanges in the fields of education, culture, tourism and personnel exchange. The key for the fresh friendship and neighborliness between the two countries lies in that the two sides can always treat each other as equals and with sincerity, and trust and respect each other. China and Nepal always show mutual support and cooperation on issues of mutual concern.Q: What is the present state of Chinese assistance in Nepal?A: Since the establishment of China-Nepal diplomatic relations in 1955, the Chinese side has always been offering grant assistance to the Nepalese side without any political strings. The assistance from China is mainly used for infrastructure construction which relates to the life of the people such as roads, bridges, hospitals, schools and so on. Last year, the Chinese side provided the Nepalese side with 10 million RMB (Rs.95 million) worth of election materials as the support to the peace process. The construction of Banepa Polytechnic Institute and the Civil Servants Hospital assisted by China has been completed and two projects will be handed over to the Nepalese side soon. At present, some projects are underway including Shyfrubesi-Rasuwaghadi road, the office building of National Trust for Nature Conserve and so on. What more, the Chinese side is considering improving the Arniko Highway and building a dry port near Tatopani for the Nepalese side.Q: Nepal has undergone a big political change, what will be China's policy in the present changed context in Nepal?A: China's good-neighborly and friendly policy to Nepal is consistent. As a good neighbor and friend of Nepal, we sincerely hope that Nepal continues to move forward with the peace process and enjoy political stability and economic progress. The Chinese Government adheres to the principle of non-interference into the internal affairs of other countries, and respects the choice made by Nepalese people on its social system and development road in light of its own national conditions. We are ready to make joint efforts with Nepal to promote the bilateral friendly relations and cooperation.Nepal is expecting increased support from China for its reconstruction, and social and economic development. What would be China's response?The Nepalese society is waiting for rejuvenation and the reconstruction remains tough. China is willing to offer any kind of support and assistance within its capacity to help Nepal realize development and prosperity at the earliest.Q: What are the areas of cooperation that China would like to accord more priority in future?A: The two sides can discuss and study this issue. I think there is great potential for cooperation and development in some fields including economy and trade, development of water resources, tourism, agriculture and so on.Q: Would you please elaborate on Nepal-China trade and economic cooperation, and what do you think should be done to further promote the bilateral trade and cooperation in the future?A: In recent years, the bilateral trade and economic cooperation has been developing quickly. In 2007, the bilateral trade volume reached 401 million US dollars, registering a 50% increase than the year 2006. However, in comparison to the bilateral political relations, the trade and economic cooperation is very small. In the future, both sides can work on improving customs clearance conditions at Khasa (Zhangmu) port and discuss the possibility to open new border ports, so that bilateral trade cooperation will reach a new height. Meanwhile, the two sides can take measures to work out favorable policies to encourage and support mutual investment by private enterprises.Q: The CPN (Maoist) has emerged as the largest political force in Nepal. What will be the relationship of the Mao's China with the CPN (Maoist) in Nepal?A: China respects the choice of Nepalese people, and is willing to develop friendly relations with all political parties, including the

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Nepal's peace process and security sector reforms

Yuba Nath Lamsal
Security is fundamental to development and people's livelihood. In the absence of security, people cannot freely and openly participate in the political and development process of any country. It is, therefore, the responsibility of the state to guarantee security to its citizens so that there would be spontaneous participation of the people in political and developmental processes.Security has two aspects. One is freedom from fear and the other is freedom from want. The first is called hard security and the other one is soft security or human security. By security, most people generally tend to mean hard security or the security of the state. The hard security relates to the mechanism and tools to ensure security of the state and defense of country's border. There are also two components in hard security-security from external threat and internal security. The external security or security from the external threat is often called defense strategy of the state, which is mainly achieved through military power. The police and paramilitary forces are used to ensure internal security.The apparatus for hard security includes army, paramilitary force, police and intelligence in the case of Nepal whereas the soft security or human security is ensured by meeting people's basic needs including food, housing, clothes, which are related to the right to life.The issue being discussed here is related to hard security and reforms of the agencies that are responsible for guaranteeing security of the state. The traditional agencies involved in hard security in Nepal are mainly the Nepal Army, Nepal Police, Armed Police Force (paramilitary force) and the National Investigation Department (national intelligence agency). Apart from these four traditional security organs, one equally important force is the People's Liberation Army (PLA). The PLA is the army created by the Maoist party to fight against the feudal state in the past which succeeded in establishing a republican set up in Nepal. The PLA members are currently in seven different cantonments and their arms locked in containers ever since the peace process began five years ago.Currently Nepal is in the process of political transformation from the state of conflict to peaceful stability. The peace process is now in dilemma for several reasons, of which security sector reform is a crucial one. This is mainly because different stakeholders of the peace process have divided opinions and approaches on security sector reform.The Comprehensive Peace Treaty (CPA), which is the basis of the ongoing peace process, has clearly mentioned the provision of integration of the PLA. Its inherent spirit is the security sector reform which includes reforms and restructuring of all security organs of the government and also the PLA. The security sector reform (SSR) is, thus, a part of the peace process. But some hiccups have surfaced concerning the modality of the management of the PLA because of the different interpretations of different parties on this issue in the absence of clarity in understanding the spirit of the CPA.There are clearly two sets of ideas and thoughts on the modality of the management of the PLA. One school of thought is that the PLA members should be managed on the model of Disarmament, Dissolution and Rehabilitation (DDR). The Nepali Congress and some other parties have insisted on the DDR model. Under DDR modality, the PLA members are to be disarmed and rehabilitated into society. The Maoists have opposed this model and their claim is that the DDR concept is not compatible with the spirit of the CPA. The CPA has clearly mentioned the terminology 'integration' which suggests the necessity of security sector reforms under which the PLA should be managed either by integrating them into other security organs or creating new security body to accommodate the PLA members. The opinion of some parties that have pushed for the DDR model is based on experiences of some countries in managing the insurgent armies in the post-conflict situation. However, DDR is not the only model adopted in the world to manage the conflict. Different models have been adopted in different countries depending on the nature of conflict.Nepal's case is unique and it is different from other countries. Nepal's PLA, which initially constituted over 32, 000 and its size was later reduced to over 19,000, is, perhaps, the largest insurgent army in the modern world. Moreover, the Maoist combatants are the part of the entire democratic process that not toppled the feudal monarchy but also heralded a new era of inclusive democracy in Nepal. Nepal's PLA should not be compared with insurgent armies in other countries. Thus, the management of the PLA should be done accordingly. The Maoists' proposal for the management of the PLA is the SSR model. According to them, the security sector reforms should be conducted prior to taking any kind of decision about the PLA. The integration of armies means the merger of the two armies but not the model Nepali Congress and other parties are proposing.We must understand the fact that Nepal's fate now clearly hinges on the success of peace process. The peace process is directly linked with the management of 19000-plus Maoist combatants who are living in seven different camps. The bargaining and obstruction on this issue is tantamount to delay and obstruct the peace process. Thus, the justifiable approach to manage the Maoist combatants would be SSR model.Under the SSR model, the assessment of the security needs of Nepal has to be determined in the first place. On the basis of the need assessment the number in the entire security organs has to be determined. If Nepal needs more security personnel for its internal security as well as external security, the Maoist PLA can be incorporated either into the present security organs or a separate security agency can be created. If the number of security personnel is already adequate, then trimming has to be done in all security organs to create space for the entry of the PLA members.Given Nepal's geo-strategic position and Nepal's economic and other strength, the small Himalayan republic cannot afford military solution to ensure its security from external threats, if there is any. Nepal is surrounded by world's two military giants-China and India. Nepal's approach in dealing with these two great powers and also other countries should, thus, be based on effective and efficient diplomacy. The Nepal Army, whose strength is just over 97,000, cannot fight with any of our two immediate neighbours, which have huge military powers equipped with modern and sophisticated arms. In this sense, Nepal's army is a mere showcase just for a national prestige but not for fighting against the external threat. Some people have raised the issue of efficiency, professionalism and neutrality of the Nepal Army. there is no shade of doubt that the professionalism and competence of the Nepal Army needs to be enhanced. So far as the efficiency of Nepal Army is concerned, it has not been tested in the modern history of Nepal. The last war the Nepal Army fought was during the Nepal-Tibet war. Since then, Nepal Army has not fought any war and unless it is tested in war its efficiency cannot be ascertained. The other issue is the professionalism. The Nepal Army has been participating in the United Nations Peace-Keeping operation in different parts of the world but its performance has not been highly rated. In the past especially during the Panchayat regime and later, too, the Nepal Army offered allegiance to monarchy and it was misused for the interest of the monarchy and the feudal system. The way the army was misused in the past, it gave a feeling to the people that the Nepal Army belonged to the monarchy but not to the people. This is the general sentiment about the Nepal Army, which needs to be dispelled from the mind of the people. This is one of the reasons why reforms and restructuring in the Nepal Army and other security organs are a must.Currently, there are 97,000 in the Nepal Army. A debate must be conducted on the right size of the Nepal Army. Is the 97,000 is adequate or is it more or less? We need to arrive at a conclusion what should be the exact size of the Nepal Army. If the present size if big, it should be trimmed down to the right size. If it is less, the size needs to be enlarged either by recruiting more people or integrating the PLA members. Similarly, the size and efficiency of the Police, para-military force and intelligence agency should also be properly brought to the c correct size. For this purpose, all aspects of these security organs need to be restructured and reformed. Similar should be the case with the PLA members. The PLA is already in the process of reforms and restructuring. The size has already been reduced from earlier 33,000 to the 19,000. The real number to be integrated into the security forces may be further less. Also there is a discussion on scattering the PLA members to different security organs and the possibility of creating a separate force with different responsibilities like border security, forest and wildlife conservation, construction and development works and industrial security.Now time is running short and an early decision has to be taken on security sector reforms and management of the PLA. If the peace process is to be concluded at the earliest, the issue concerning the management of the PLA must be settled as soon as possible. For this, the security sector reform is the right option which would be acceptable to all sides.

China Marks Historic Event

Yuba Nath Lamsal
Over 1.3 billion Chinese people commemorated March 28 as the day of Tibet’s emancipation from feudal serfdom. The essence of marking the day was to remind how the Tibetan people lived 50 years ago under the Dalai Lama’s serfdom and also to showcase how their life has changed in the 50 years after the Dalai Lama was forced to flee.
On March 28, 1959, Beijing announced the dissolution of the local government of Tibet and replaced it with a preparatory committee for establishing the Tibet Autonomous Region. This marked the beginning of a new era in Tibet. Since then, phenomenal changes have taken place in this province of China in the Himalaya.
Serfdom
Chinese authorities describe the Dalai Lama’s rule in Tibet as a period of serfdom where people were treated not as citizens but as personal property. This was worse than the slavery that existed in the United States of America before Abraham Lincoln declared an end to slavery and the slave trade. Under serfdom, all properties, including the people and natural resources, belonged to the rulers, and the people had to submit to the government. While the rulers enjoyed a luxurious life, the general mass suffered hunger and lived a primitive life.
Some may take Beijing’s claims and its comparison of life then and now in Tibet as mere propaganda of the Chinese Communist Party. But anyone who has seen Tibet in recent years agrees with China’s version. Once one of the most backward regions of China, Tibet has now leapt forward in terms of economic development after the central government intervened and decided to ensure governance by the people of Tibet, which was impossible during the Dalai Lama’s rule.
According to some western propaganda that we have seen in the biased press, Tibet was an independent country which was taken over forcibly by China. They are fanning separatist activities in the name of a small group of followers of the Dalai Lama. According to them, the situation of human rights in Tibet has worsened and the Tibetan people have been denied the right to self-rule by Beijing. This is propaganda designed to create a split in China and an attempt to once again push the people of Tibet into the trap of serfdom.
So far as the question of Tibet’s status is concerned, it was never an independent country but an integral part of China. All historical facts have proved this. Right from the Tang Dynasty in early 7th century, Tibet came under Beijing’s rule, and it continued to be under the Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties. When China became a republic in 1912, the central government declared it as a republic of five nationalities - Han, Manchu, Mongolian, Hui and Tibetans. After the establishment of the People’s Republic of China, serfdom was abolished, and Tibet was declared an autonomous province of China.
However, Tibet was granted total autonomy by the central government, which has now been dubbed by some as having independent status. This is a distortion of history and the truth. But one thing is true that whenever rulers in Beijing were weak, Tibetan authorities tried to be more assertive. But all the decisions taken by the Tibetan authorities had to be finally endorsed by the central government in Beijing even before 1951.
After the 1949 revolution that established a communist government led by Mao Zedong, things changed. The Dalai Lama was so unpopular in Tibet that the Tibetan people themselves wanted Beijing’s intervention to free the Tibetan people from the vice of serfdom. At the request of the Tibetan people and policy of the Communist Party to free its people from all forms of slavery, serfdom and exploitation, a contingent of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army marched into Lhasa along with Tibet’s common citizenry and declared an end to serfdom and the beginning of people’s rule.
The Dalai Lama along with a small group of his henchmen then fled to India from where attempts were made to destabilise Tibet and China. Some western powers that are opposed to the socialist system anywhere in the world have found a good excuse to bash China and carry out activities aimed at splitting China. But these ill motives have always been foiled due to the solidarity of the Chinese people, including Tibetans.
The other issue is related to human rights in Tibet. One thing is true that no country in the world can ensure full human rights to its people, and there are bound to be drawbacks in China as well. But there is a question - which human rights one wants first. A debate is taking place at various international fora regarding the concept and fundamentals of human rights and priority.
The western countries attach more priority to the political and civil rights, whereas economic and social rights have been areas of more concern for other countries including China. The first and the foremost right of an individual is the right to life and the conditions that help an individual to enjoy other rights, including civil and political rights. Civil and political rights are also very important rights without which an individual’s liberty and free choices cannot be guaranteed. However, in the absence of economic and social rights, civil and political rights become a mere mirage.
China has been focussing more on ensuring a decent life for its people so that they can enjoy and exercise other rights. This is exactly the case in the Tibet Autonomous Region of China.
Moreover, the support to the Dalai Lama is support to slavery and serfdom, which is the worst violation of human rights. In fact, slavery and serfdom are a blot on civilisation. But it is only the Dalai Lama’s supporters who are backing serfdom in the name of the ‘Free Tibet movement’. They want serfdom to stage a comeback in Tibet in the name of "Free Tibet", which is being backed by some western governments.
The question here is whether emancipation from serfdom or pushing the people back again into serfdom is a human right. It is time for the world to decide which side is right and which one is trying to snatch the fundamental human rights of the Tibetan people. We must speak loudly and clearly where we stand - with the people of Tibet who have enjoyed a far more decent and dignified life or with those who want a return of feudal serfdom in Tibet.
The entire humanity applauds Abraham Lincoln for his bold and historic decision to end slavery in the United States of America, which has been hailed as a step towards upholding human dignity. The end of serfdom in Tibet is a similar step. While the people in the western countries hail the end of slavery in America, they make a hue and cry when the same happens in China. This clearly shows the double standard and hypocrisy of the western world regarding human rights.
Clear message
The celebration of Tibet’s Emancipation Day demonstrates a strong sense of unity and solidarity of the Chinese people, which should serve as a clear message to those who have been fanning a separatist movement. So far as Nepal’s position is concerned, it has adopted a one-China policy and supported Tibet’s modernisation process. Perhaps, no other country knows Tibet better than Nepal due to its geographical closeness and interaction between the two peoples.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Are foreigners setting our domestic agenda?

Yuba Nath Lamsal
It is said that foreign policy is an extension of domestic policy, which implies that domestic politics sets foreign policy agenda. But this may not always be applicable in all situations and context. The foreign policy is the agenda and guidelines set by a country to deal with external powers and forces. The internal politics may change and even systemic change takes place internally, the overall foreign policy priorities and objectives remain unchanged because foreign policy of any country is always guided and strictly based on national interests. The national interest of the country does not change with the change in internal political dynamics.
The internal political dynamics and external circumstances definitely have impact on the scope and approach in the conduct of foreign policy of nations. However, it does not and should make any significant difference in the overall characteristics, dynamics and objectives of foreign policy of any country.
The defense of national boundary is the first and the foremost objective of security and foreign policy of any country. The traditional concept of defending boundary is through the military power. It is this reason why all countries in the world created strong army to defend its territory. The power and prowess of the ruler in the past used to be compared with the strength and size of the army. In the present global context characterized by technological revolution, gone are the old concepts of depending solely on military power. Media, technology, economic leverage are other tools that are more effective than military power in the conduct of foreign policy and protect national interests. The modern concept of diplomacy is to serve one\'s own national interest is through applying soft power which includes persuasion and negotiation. On the table of negotiation and in the process of persuasion, economic clout and ability of diplomatic maneuvering play crucial role. Most of the countries now opt for the soft power in the conduct of foreign and security policies.
However, there are some countries that still rely on hard power to protect national interest. This is coercive method, which has often been proved to be counterproductive. Coercion is a kind of war that, unlike persuasion, seeks to force the other side to come to terms. The war has also two aspects-- soft war and hard war. The soft war is the application of the coercive methods which includes economic sanction, media propaganda, threat and intimidation, which is being applied by the United States against North Korea, Iran, Cuba and Venezuela. The hard war is the use of military power and attack which is being practiced by NATO countries in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Nepal cannot afford to opt for hard power. At the same time, it has also not been able to project its soft power image in the international arena because of its diplomatic inefficiency. Nepal is small not only in physical size but also in terms of population, economy and military power. Nepal is surrounded by two giants-India and China, which are emerging as global powers in terms of economic strength and military power. China is already second largest economy and fourth largest military power in the world. India is also emerging as an international economic and military power. Nepal, therefore, can never imagine matching the military strength with its neighbours. These circumstances and conditions have limited Nepal\'s options in security and foreign policy strategy.
But we cannot and should not take these circumstances and condition for granted when it comes to defending our territory and border. But Nepal has failed to devise appropriate strategy to cope with these conditions. Perhaps, Nepal is one of the few countries in the world that do not keep surveillance on their border. As a result, our border is being constantly and deliberately encroached by our neighbour. Against this background, the best way for Nepal to protect and serve its national interest is active, wise and mature diplomacy at the bilateral and multilateral forums.
But Nepal\'s conduct of the foreign policy and diplomacy so lethargic and weak that it has not at all been able to project Nepal\'s image abroad and protect its national interest. One can easily imagine how Nepal can protect its national interest abroad when it cannot defend its own boundary. In the present context, it looks as though Nepal has no foreign policy. Nepal\'s foreign policy, if there is any, is either in the state of flux or in the state of confusion.
Although Nepal\'s foreign policy is said to be guided by adherence to the principles and ideals of non-alignment and the United Nations, the practical aspects are often wavering, which may not be compatible with its long-cherished principles. This state of flux and confusion in the conduct of foreign policy has resulted in failure and humiliation in bilateral and multilateral forums. Nepal\'s utter failure in conducting foreign policy and diplomacy can be seen in the poor dealing with a small South Asian neighbour Bhutan on the issue of refugee repatriation and also a humiliating defeat in the election for chair of UN General Assembly for 2012.
The diplomacy during the Panchayat regime was also not independent as it covertly capitulated to regional and international powers often compromising our national interest and overtly it tried to conduct foreign policy in relatively more independent way. Although it lacked democratic legitimacy back home, efforts of Panchayat in foreign policy and diplomatic front were definitely more efficient, which had boosted Nepal\'s image and clout in the international arena including the United Nations, to a large extent. Acquiring seats twice in the Security Council as a non-permanent member in the period of two decades since the entry into the comity of nations is no less significant for a small country like Nepal. This is a reflection of Nepal\'s international clout and image created by its delicate and appropriate diplomatic handling. It has now been almost two decades that Nepal has not even got a single chance in the UN Security Council. This shows weak diplomacy and inherent flaws in the conduct of our foreign policy.
Nepal is an independent and sovereign country and, in principles, has its independent foreign policy. But, so far as the practical conduct of diplomacy and foreign policy formation are concerned, our domestic agenda are set by foreigners and what to talk of foreign policy formulation and its conduct. Nothing can be more shameful and disgusting than this for an independent and sovereign country. The recent developments especially over the last couple of years are its testimony. It looks as though Nepali parties are not capable of forming their own government without foreigners\' advice and suggestions. Worse still, we either seek foreigners\' consent or provide them ground to interfere in our internal affairs. Some of our leaders and parties that claim to be patriotic also cave in to the pressure of foreigners.
Although all international powers are interested in Nepal and they are playing their own games to serve their national interest, the role and game of our immediate southern neighbour is more visible and, to a large extent, objectionable, which is not compatible with the accepted norms and values of international diplomacy and rules. The last four years since the initiation of the ongoing peace process have seen worst incidents of external meddling and interference in our domestic affairs. The 12-point agreement, which is the basis of peace process, was signed in India. New Delhi claims to have played midwifery role for the deal. India, by its conduct, tends to seek its dividend in the form of free hand in handling Nepal\'s foreign and security affairs and interference in internal politics. As the Maoists are the part of the 12-point deal that brought the insurgents into open and peaceful politics and were also established as the largest political force of Nepal, India\'s calculation was that the ex-rebels would accept New Delhi\'s diktat as other political forces had been doing. However, the Maoists did not compromise on the issue of national interest. India failed to understand that patriotism is one of the fundamental bases on which the Maoist party was created and they cannot be like other parties that are being manipulated by foreigners. In addition, Maoists\' ideological foundation is Marxism, Leninism and Maoism or MLM. The fundamental position of the MLM is opposed to imperialism, expansionism, capitalism, colonialism and neo-colonialism including globalization and liberalization. The Maoists, as the genuine follower of MLM, have designated India as an expansionist force which is flexing muscle in South Asia with support from imperialist force in the world. The fundamental policy of the Maoists is, thus, against the current Indian establishment, although the Maoists have stated that they have brotherly and friendly relationship with the people of India, most of whom are poor, downtrodden, exploited and discriminated by the ruling class. These policies were explicitly reflected in the Maoists\' documents and their leaders\' other policy speeches.
Thus, India soon changed its strategy and adopted the policy of containing Maoists in Nepal. The first anti-Maoist policy of India was visibly implemented in Rautahat almost four years ago in which criminals were brought from across the border, who killed several Maoist cadres. The Rautahat carnage is believed to have been ostensibly engineered by India\'s Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), the intelligence agency of India. Since then, the rift and animosity between the Indian establishment and Nepal\'s Maoists has come to the open and intensified. India adopted the policy of clipping the wings of the Maoists and completely eliminating the Maoists and other patriotic forces in Nepal. In the past, Indian policies used to be implemented in Nepal mainly through the Nepali Congress and later the CPN-UML. But it was not possible to implement Indian design through its traditional friends because the Nepali Congress and the CPN-UML were part of the alliance with the Maoists and they would not risk to antagonize the Maoists in the expense of the fledgling peace process. India, therefore, created Madhesi force not only to contain the Maoists but also to control Nepal\'s politics. The Madhesi groups are India\'s creation and they are working strictly on the instruction of New Delhi. This became more visible from the split of the Madhesi Janadhikar Forum (MJF) into two groups last year. This was done to create non-Maoist alliance and install it in power. As long as the MJF remained intact, the possibility of the formation of non-Maoist government was not possible because chairman of the MJF was in favour of the alliance with Maoists, which was against India\'s policy.
The second split in the MJF was also engineered by India on the eve of extension of the life of the Constituent Assembly (CA). The ruling coalition that consisted of the Maoists, CPN-UML and the MJF had the initial plan to extend the CA term and accordingly registered a bill in parliament. Even if other parties did not extend support, there was a fair chance for the passage of the bill by a two-thirds of members of parliament which the ruling coalition had commanded. By splitting the MJF once again the ruling coalition was deprived of the two-third majority. This shows that Indian interference is naked and blatant in Nepal.
If the developments and incidents in the recent past particularly after the Jana Andolan II in 2006 are any indication, foreigners and external forces are setting our political agenda, which is most unfortunate on the part of the patriotic Nepalese people. The external meddling in Nepal has been an open secret since the Sugauli Treaty that was imposed upon Nepal by the British imperial power in 1814 after a protected war. The Independent India has claimed to be the successor of colonial power and has continued to adopt colonial policy towards its small weak neighbours including Nepal. The continuity of colonial policy is a fact that India is not yet decolonized. As a result, the small South Asian countries including Nepal have suffered. it is now high time, all South Asian countries need to come and act together against India's hegemonic and expansionist design.

Security Sector Reforms

Yuba Nath Lamsal
The concept of security is often vague. It was defined as a mechanism to defend the boundary of a country from external threats. However, with the march of time, the concept of security has changed drastically, and its scope widened. Now the concept of security touches upon multiple facets of the state and its people.
During the Cold War period, the focus of security was laid more on the security of the state. Thus, security cooperation among the states was guided purely by political motive aimed at strengthening the friendly regimes from the military standpoint. This was so because of the erstwhile international situation when the world was divided into two military camps, with each bloc trying to bring as many countries into their respective camps. Dictators of different kinds and colours took advantage of this international power politics and ruled with an iron fist, often denying the people their basic rights and freedom.
Citing external threats, the regimes spent heavily on weapons and modernising the armed force - money that could have been spent on building development infrastructure and uplifting the social and economic condition of the people, eradicating poverty and providing health and education to children. International powers also backed these dictatorial regimes and supplied and sold them arms to be used against the people, suppressing the genuine struggles of the people.
The regimes that either received grants in the form of military aid or purchased sophisticated weapons from international powers were generally not incline to defend the country from external threats but to retain their repressive rule by the means of force.
Military intervention
In the present inter-connected world characterised by information and technological revolution, no country can choose to occupy the territory of another country through military means. Instead, they try to invade through other means like economic domination, trade, cultural invasion and technological control. This approach has been adopted by the international powers to give them a soft power image.
The international powers resort to military interventions only when other options get exhausted. Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya are cases of direct military intervention after the West’s soft power strategy failed. Military intervention is often risky. In most cases, military intervention from outside has boomeranged. Vietnam is an example of national humiliation faced by the United States. The Russian occupation of Afghanistan and Vietnam’s aggression in Cambodia are yet other ugly instances of foreign military intervention in another country, all of which have proved very costly for the occupiers.
Even in Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States has not achieved what it had earlier expected. In our own neighbourhood, the Indian military mission in Sri Lanka in the name of containing the LTTE was yet another fiasco. Based on these experiences, the international powers do not usually opt for military intervention but use alternative methods to ensure their control in other countries.
The regimes, instead, are facing threats from within their countries. Inter-state conflict has shifted to intra-state conflict. The conflict between the state and the non-state actors is intensifying in several developing countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America. The main threat to the regimes in the present context is from the oppressed, exploited, marginalised and discriminated people, who are struggling for their equal and just rights and share in the governance of the state and decision-making.
The regimes have responded to the struggle of the people with oppressive measures, which have resulted in violent conflicts. However, the regimes often try to equate a people’s struggle with either terrorist activities or a threat to national sovereignty and territorial integrity ostensibly to mislead the international community and get international support for their repressive measures.
With the change in the international power politics and the balance of power, the concept of security has undergone a paradigm shift. This is particularly so after the end of the Cold War that marked the collapse of the Soviet bloc, paving the way for the emergence of a unipolar world dominated by the United States - the only super power. In the present unipolar world, human security has topped the agenda of all countries.
It has been widely accepted that human security or the security of the people can be ensured only when there is a guarantee of freedom from fear and freedom from wants. Freedom from fear is ensured by maintaining effective law and order internally whereas freedom from want can be guaranteed only when the state provides its people with ample opportunities for meeting their basic needs like access to adequate food, shelter and clothing to live a dignified life.
It has been globally acknowledged that human insecurity is the root of all conflicts. The widening gap between the rich and the poor, as a result of the state policy of exploitation, repression, discrimination and marginalisation of the majority of the people, is the prime cause behind the increasing human insecurity in the world.
The root cause of Nepal’s conflict is also this human insecurity perpetrated by the feudal political system. The Maoist party raised this issue effectively which brought the masses into its fold and accordingly launched an armed insurgency against the feudal state under the monarchy. The Maoists demanded the abolition of all kinds of political, economic, cultural and religious exploitation and discrimination, and the establishment of a republican system with inclusive democracy, federal state structure and religious secularism.
Within a decade of their guerilla insurgency, the Maoists were able to control almost 85 per cent of the country whereas the state’s presence was limited to a few urban centres. Sensing the grave situation, an agreement was brokered between the Maoists and the rest of the parliamentary parties, in which most of the Maoists’ demands were met.
Although there was clarity on other issues, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), signed between the state and the insurgent Maoist party, did not clearly define the modality of managing the Maoist guerilla, which is, perhaps, the most pressing and important issue of the peace process. In the CPA, the terminology ‘army integration’ has been incorporated but not defined and elaborated. As a result, different parties and people have interpreted this terminology differently, which has created confusion among the people and delayed the peace process.
The CPA has treated both the Nepal Army and the Maoists’ People’s Liberation Army (PLA) on an equal footing, and it gives the impression that army integration means only the merger of the two armies. The Maoists have raised and demanded that this provision of the CPA on army integration be implemented in both letter and spirit.
In more recent times, the parties have become a bit flexible on the issue of PLA management. However, at the same time, attention has to be given to restructuring and reforming the entire security system and bodies of the country. As the concept of security has changed globally with the focus shifting from state security to human security, the emphasis has to be laid on addressing the security of the people while taking any decision on security sector reforms and restructuring.
National Security Strategy
The first and foremost necessity at this point is the formulation of a national security strategy and policy, which does not exist at present. The security strategy and policy alone would assess the nature of security threat and determine the security requirement to cope with it. Based on the security assessment, the size of the different security organs of the country can be properly and scientifically ascertained. This would facilitate the process of security sector reforms.