Thursday, June 28, 2012

Reshaping foreign policy priorities in the changed context

Yuba Nath Lamsal
Articulating the 19th century’s British foreign policy in clearer and forceful manner, Hennery John Temple Palmerstone, who served as British prime minister two terms and also served as the foreign secretary under Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli, way back in 1948, said, “
We have no eternal allies, and we have no perpetual enemies. Our interests are eternal and perpetual, and those interests it is our duty to follow”. He made these remarks in the House of Commons in reply to queries of parliamentarians on post World War II British foreign policy. His articulation of foreign policy is so apt that they are not only the bases of British foreign policy but the guidance and inspiration for foreign policy makers of the entire world. It is now more than 64 years since he spoke about British foreign policy. But these remarks are as valid today as they were more than half a century ago.
In politics as well as diplomacy, there is, definitely, neither permanent friend nor permanent enemy. But there is always permanent interest, for which countries and governments pursue their foreign and strategic tools in the realm of international politics.  The countries clearly define the priorities of their foreign policy to protect their national interests and accordingly apply them. The foreign policy tools vary depending upon objective domestic and international situation and country’s geo-political conditions. The foreign policy tools that are appropriate in one given time or with a particular country and condition may be redundant and unsuitable in another given situation and with other country. The overall goal and strategy of foreign policy remains constant that is guided by the national interest  and the approach of achieving this goal may vary which can be determined by foreign policy interlocutors and diplomats assigned for a particular task.
There is, of course, no hard and fast rule in the conduct of the foreign policy and diplomacy. It is, therefore, said that no fixed foreign policy is the best foreign policy. This is a view of one school of thought. Some people term it as a pragmatic school of thought in foreign policy formulation and conduct. According to people who subscribe to this school are of the view that national interest is the goal whereas foreign policy and diplomacy are the key tools that play important role towards achieving the fundamental goal of the country in the international arena. In case of a fixed foreign policy tool, a country will have limited options to respond to new international situation.
The world is changing fast and getting complicated. With the unprecedented invention and innovation in the field of science and technology in general and information and communication technology (ICT) in particular, the world has become a small global village and it is getting narrower. In this modern and changed national and international scenario, traditional approach in the conduct of foreign policy cannot meet the newer challenges the world is facing. In the conduct of foreign policy, a broad perspective with concrete definition of national interest and priorities is highly required. The narrow perspective only limits the scope and jurisdiction of foreign policy interlocutors, which may not cope with the present day international scenario characterized by multiple complexities. More leeway and leverage are given to the foreign policy interlocutors to determine the course of actions and foreign policy tools to deal with the particular situation and with the particular country keeping national interest at the centre stage.
The concept of foreign policy, therefore, is a new phenomenon, although the basic tenets and features of dealing with external forces and countries had been devised long ago differently by different countries. But these policies were basically guided by military doctrine as the countries were heavily militarized and the concept of nation state had hardly emerged.

So far as Nepal's foreign policy is concerned, it is ambiguous, vacillating and unclear. In fact, those who are in charge of the formulation and conduct of Nepal’s foreign policy are not aware what exactly are our national interests, priorities and tools. Prior to the unification of Nepal, there was no foreign policy at all. Even after the unification and until 1950, Nepal did not have its defined national interest and foreign policy. Since national interest was not defined, there was no question of formulating foreign policy and its priorities and tools. Foreign policy is said to be the extension of domestic policy. Nepal’s policy was guided more by military doctrine rather than any concrete domestic as well as foreign policy for a longtime until 1951 political change. Prior to 1951, the national interests were defined as the interests of the rulers. The situation did not significantly change and improve even after the 1951 political change especially on matters pertaining to foreign policy. But this political change was the phenomenal event that brought about a new sense of thinking and awareness in politics and other sectors. This political change also opened up avenues for diversifying our relations with the international community and formulating foreign policy. However, foreign policy as such was not devised but the age old military doctrine was given continuity, which was said to be the foreign policy.
Most Nepalese tend to believe that Prithivi Narayana Shah, who unified several small principalities into a single Nepal, was the principal propagator of Nepal’s foreign policy. In his wise counsels to his successors, Prithivi Narayana Shah has described Nepal as a ‘yam between the two boulders’ referring to Nepal’s geostrategic position and location as it is between the two big and powerful countries—Chinese empire to the north and British colonial empire to the south. In his counsels, he has suggested the authorities to remain watchful against the southern rulers, who are very clever or cunning, and be friendly with the northern rulers. This implies that Nepal should be very cautious in dealing with British (current India) and be cooperative with China that is relatively more trustworthy. This is taken as a basis for Nepal’s foreign policy. But this, too, is not the overall basis of Nepal’s foreign policy but can be dubbed as the neighborhood policy. Although situation has vastly changed compared to the period of Prithivi Narayana Shah, the analysis about our two immediate neighbors is as valid today as it was during those years.  Although British colonial rulers left India way back in 1947, the colonial policies continue even today so far as New Delhi’s Nepal policy is concerned.
 Nepali foreign policy is based on this concept and our foreign policy makers still describe Nepal’s position as a yam between the two boulders and talks of equi-distance or equi-proximity as the basis of relations with our two powerful neighbors. But the concept of equidistance or equi-proximity is not a foreign policy basis but military doctrine. This is an example how Nepal has still not come up with a clear-cut definition of foreign policy and its priorities. Similarly, gone are the days to geo-strategically define Nepal as a ‘yam between the two boulders’. The yam concept limits our foreign policy scope, which implies that our foreign policy should be shaped in line with the relations and policies with the two immediate neighbors. Nepal is a sovereign and independent country and it should formulate and advance its foreign policy independently. Both China and India are our important neighbors but their policies do not and should not necessarily shape our foreign policy. We need to come out of the old concept of conditioned foreign policy which we have been practicing for years, decades and even centuries.
The world has changed so is our national situation. We are not in Rana era nor are we in 1951 or 1960s. We are in the era of globalization and our foreign policy too needs to be shaped in line with the globalized world rising above the narrow concept of ‘yam between the two boulders’. Although geo-political condition is a major determinant in formulating foreign policy but it is not the sole factor in the present world in which people and countries have overcome and transcended the geographical barriers. In the past, south was the only Nepal’s opening to the rest of the world because Himalaya had been a great barrier for the northern opening. But situation has changed with China building infrastructure in Tibet and connecting it with the rest of China by railway network, which is already close to our border. This will provide us tremendous opportunities for our development, trade and even diversifying our international relations.
The political considerations, too, have changed which are more favorable for Nepal to reshape its foreign policy. The historic popular movement of 2006 that abolished 24-year old monarchy and declared Nepal a federal democratic republic is a positive development which has been hailed by the international community. This is an opportunity for Nepal to take maximum benefit from the international community for peace, stability, development and economic transformation. This has proved us with a scope to redefine, reshape and reprioritize our foreign policy to cope with the newer challenges and problems taken place in our own neighborhood, region and in the world. As articulated by former British Prime Minister, we, too, have no enemy—either permanent or temporary. We have only friends because Nepal does not tend to harbor any ill-will and animosity towards any country in the world. If we have any foe, that is poverty and backwardness. The international community has tremendous goodwill for us, which we must utilize for our development. But the first and the foremost necessity at present is to reorient our foreign policy.

Parties Fail To Learn From History

Yuba Nath Lamsal
A popular maxim goes: Those who forget history are condemned to repeat. Spain-born American philosopher George Santayana coined this phrase in mid 19th century which has become so popular that this is, perhaps, the most quoted and repeated maxim in the modern day political lexicon. This saying is so popular in politics because politicians often tend to forget the history. As a result, the same mistakes keep on repeating over and over again.

The repetition of mistakes is a common phenomenon in politics. This tendency reigns in politics everywhere in the world but more is in the developing countries, where the level of political consciousness is relatively low.  Nepal is a showcase of this trend as the same old mistakes keep on repeating every time and politicians never learn from history and from their past mistakes. This is not the case of any particular party, leader or ruler but a general tendency that happens in all systems and regimes that Nepal saw since it emerged as a nation state. Our leaders are so short sighted and are with such a bad memory that they forget the event soon after the crisis is over. This has become a chronic problem in our political realms and no political party is free from this syndrome.

Now is the time for all the political parties to develop a common understanding and work in a collective and cooperative way so that the political mission with which the country is moving ahead can be achieved and accomplished. The interim constitution, too, has clearly stated that there must be collective decision, compromise and consensus among the major political parties to govern and take any decision that has far-reaching impact on the country and the people. But that is hardly seen in practice when it comes to Nepal’s applied politics of today. The constitution is being regarded as mere piece of paper never to be followed and respected when it is not in consistent with personal and partisan interest. The parties and leaders often tried to violate the constitution and misinterpret its provisions in the past which ultimately led to not only failure of the constitution but also collapse of the regimes. Every time the soul of the constitution was killed to implement the decisions that may be against the inherent spirit of the statute and also against the fundamental interest of the country. There are quite many stances when parties and leaders interpreted the constitution differently which invited the Supreme Court to intervene. On controversy regarding Tanakpur agreement with India, the then Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala, who had signed the accord with New Delhi, just interpreted the accord a mere understanding and said it did not require ratification of parliament. Koirala’s interpretation had come in response to opposition parties’ demand that the accord be presented in parliament and get it ratified in accordance with the constitutional provision. The case was finally moved to Supreme Court which gave its verdict in favor of opposition clearly stating that the accord required parliamentary ratification. The then government took this constitutional provision as an obstruction to his regime. This is not the only case that parties tried to violate the constitution. The case of the dissolution of parliament by minority government of CPN-UML also created controversy and parties interpreted the constitutional provision differently. In this case, too, the government’s position was proved to be wrong. The government has always been the loser in the court battle every time. The tendency of the parties to interpret the constitution differently to suit the partisan interest sows the seed of discord and dispute among the key political actors that lead to confrontation, which may ultimately lead to fall of the regime and also pave the ground for the rise of authoritarian tendency. History is witness to this fact. King Mahendra took advantage from the rift among the parties which pushed the country into the trap of king’s dictatorship in the name of Panchayat regime for three decades. Similar case was repeated in 2003 when the fragmentation in the parties and unnecessary confrontation among the parties encouraged Gyanendra to impose his absolute regime prohibiting people’s fundamental rights. There is again possibility of the rise of another kind of dictatorship out of the present crisis if the disputes among the parties persists and prolongs, for which the government and opposition parties would be equally responsible. Both the government and the opposition have now acknowledged the possibility of dictatorship if present deadlock was not resolved at the earliest through national consensus. But the prescription of the government and the prescription of the opposition for the outlet of the present crisis are different. The opposition parties are pressing for resignation of the Prime Minister to pave the way for national consensus and national unity government, which, according to opposition parties, is the only way out to find an amicable solution to the present crisis. However, the Prime Minister has refused to step down saying that his resignation at this critical period would invite dictatorship in the country. The chance of rise of dictatorship would be more if the Prime Minister sticks onto his post rather than he quits.

The parties are far apart on national issues. Nepal is passing through the gravest crisis in history. The parties have positional and perceptional differences on each and every issue and they do not buzz even an inch from their stance. This arrogance has created deadlock and state of confusion and uncertainty in the country. This state of confusion and uncertainty has only created a sense of insecurity. As a result, the law and order situation is at its lowest ebb. The feeling of insecurity has kept on haunting the people. The law enforcement agencies are weak and ineffective in curbing violence and criminal activities.
While feeling of insecurity is rising, the condition of the people is getting further complicated because of the unbridled price hike of essential commodities. At times, the black marketers and hoarders resort to creating artificial shortages of daily essentials and services by taking advantage of the poor law and order situation and country’s transitional period. As a result, the life of the people is becoming unbearable as their income is hardly sufficient to support the family.

The economic condition is worsening. The country is facing perennial power outage, which has not only made people’s life difficult but also has had a serious impact on production and industrial growth. If the present trend continues, the country is likely to witness further decline in its economic viability, which may, one day, may be declared as a failed state by the international community.
The main reason of the present sorry state of the country is the behavior of the leaders and parties. They have forgotten the history and never tried to learn from their past mistakes. Had they learnt from the history and their mistakes, we may not have seen the present crisis in our political front. The parties and their leaders are focusing their attention and efforts on power rather than country’s key issues and fundamental problems. Following the success of Jana Andolan II, the people had expected more from the parties. The parties and leaders had been expected to change their behavior and engage in empowering the people. To the dismay of people’s general expectation, parties and leaders again continued to get bogged down in dirty power and money politics and kept on repeating the same old mistakes. This is the most unfortunate part of our politics and political parties.

The problem arose as soon as parties broke the politics of consensus, which the Interim Constitution had envisioned. The breach of the coalition culture and politics of unity began soon after the Constituent Assembly election. This breach of consensus politics was a breach of the spirit of the interim constitution. The spirit of the interim constitution is that all issues should be settled through consensus among the major political parties. In the breach of this constitutional provision, all the political parties are responsible. The Nepali Congress, CPN-UML, UCPN-Maoist and Madhesi parties are to be blamed for the breach of the inherent spirit of the constitution. But parties have recently realized their mistakes and again are talking of unity and national consensus. This new realization of national consensus, though late, is a good symptom in our political scene, which again makes us optimistic for stability, peace and better future.  This is an opportunity for the parties to correct their mistakes and work together as per the constitutional provision at least until the present political transition comes to an end.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Politics Of Fragmentation

Yuba Nath Lamsal 
The politics of fragmentation is underway in Nepal at present, and this process is intensifying. In the last one decade, the major political parties of the country have undergone the process of fragmentation and reunion. The Nepali Congress once saw a vertical split, and the CPN-UML, too, met a similar fate. But both the parties got reunited after years of animosity and mudslinging at one another. Even after their reunion, these parties have still not been able to regain their earlier strength, vigour and image.
Latest casualty
The latest casualty of this politics of fragmentation is the UCPN-Maoist, out of which a new and the youngest party has been born. Mohan Baidhya Kiran and his team have formed a new party - the Communist Part of Nepal- Maoist, or CPN-Maoist.
Only last week, a Madhes-based party split with Sarat Singh Bhandari walking out of the Bijaya Gachchhadar-led Madhesi Janadhikar Forum (Loktantrik). Gachchhadar, too, had created his own party after splitting from the parent party - the Madhesi Janadhikar Forum, Nepal, which is now being led by Upendra Yadav. In similar fashion, almost all the Madhes-based parties have split in quick succession.
The Rastriya Prajatantra Party, or RPP, had also split into different groups. The Rastriya Janashakti Party headed by Surya Bahadur Thapa and Kamal Thapa-led Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal, too, were born out of the now Pashupati Shumsher Rana-led RPP. The split of the political parties in Nepal has become a common and reoccurring phenomenon. As a result, all the major political parties have seen many ups and downs, splits and unification in the past, and this process continues to this day. But the process of fragmentation has been especially deep and more serious in the communist movement of Nepal.
Born as the youngest communist party of Asia in 1949 at the initiative of Pushpa Lal Shrestha, the Communist Party of Nepal has split several times. As a result, we have more than a dozen parties under the communist banner. After splitting, however, there is a tendency in the communist parties of Nepal to soon realise the need for unification among the communist parties and groups. History is witness to the fact that communists gain and prosper in national politics only when they are united.
The Communist Party of Nepal first got fragmented in the early 1960s. The immediate and apparent reason for the split in the communist party was the division in the international communist movement. The rise of Nikita Khruschev in the Soviet Union and his policy shift caused a great debate and polemic in the international communist movement.
Khruschev not only brought about changes in the policy and programmes of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union but he also condemned his predecessor Joseph Stalin and asked all the communists in the world to toe his political line. Many genuine Marxists and communists across the world dubbed Khruschev’s move as revisionism. While some socialist countries in Eastern Europe and elsewhere supported Khruschev’s move and toed his line, the rest of the world, including China, together with some other socialist and communist parties joined hands to condemn Russia’s new path as being inimical to the fundamental concept of Marxism and communism. This incident divided the international communist movement, the fallout of which was also seen in Nepal.
The Nepal Communist Party was sharply divided into two lines – one that toed the Soviet line and the other that opposed it and viewed China as the genuine model for the world communist movement. Keshar Jung Rayamajhi led the group that supported Khruschev’s line and Pushpa Lal Shrestha advocated the Chinese model. This two-line struggle did not remain as a mere ideological debate but developed into personal animosity that finally paved the way for a formal split in the communist party. This was the beginning of split in the communist movement in Nepal.
While the international situation created a rift between the two groups in the communist party, internal factors also played a role in disintegrating the party. That was the time when the king had just taken over power and had imposed his absolute rule. The elected government had been dissolved, the prime minister jailed and multi-party system disbanded. In such a situation, the king had adopted the policy of weakening the political parties to consolidate his hold onto power.
As part of the design, the king also played one group against the other within the parties. The communist party split vertically, and fissures also appeared in the Nepali Congress, the dominant party of that time. Those who broke away from the Nepali Congress and the communist party ultimately went to the king’s fold, people like Dr. Tulsi Giri and Biswabandhu Thapa from the Nepali Congress and Keshar Jung Rayamajhi and his pack from the communist party. Since then division in the political parties has continued, and its latest example is the split in the UCPN Maoist.
One needs to analyse why the split in the UCPN-Maoist took place. The establishment faction, or leaders of the UCPN-Maoist, claim that royalists were behind the split in their party. It implies that Mohan Baidhya and his team were guided by some royalists who wanted to take revenge against the UCPN-Maoist, which played a crucial role in abolishing the monarchy in Nepal.
This sounds logical as the monarchy and the royalists had played a role in creating rifts and splits in the parties at a certain point in history. But it does not appear plausible in the present situation because the monarchists themselves are fragmented and very weak. Their role is so insignificant in the present situation of Nepal that they are in no position to effect a split in the largest political party of the country. If the monarchists have such influence, capability and power, they could have already reinstated the monarchy. Thus, the accusation that royalists were behind the split in the UCPN is mere accusation devoid of truth.
Mohan Baidhya and his team claim they have formed the new party on revolutionary ideological grounds as the UCPN-Maoist leadership deviated from the revolutionary ideology they espoused for more than 30 years and degenerated into the revisionist, rightist and reformist line. The UCPN-Maoist has definitely undergone a paradigm shift since the famous Chunbang meeting, in which the party adopted the tactical line of peace and the constitution. The Baidhya camp claims that the degeneration in the party’s established revolutionary line began right after the Chunbang meeting. However the establishment faction dismisses this accusation and says that peace and the constitution are the party’s tactics to serve the revolution, and the Chunbang decision was correct. Here lies the crux of the problem.
But one thing that must be clearly noted here is that both the UCPN-M as well as the splinter CPN-Maoist must own responsibility of, credit or discredit for the Chunbang decision because all the leaders except Mohan Baidhya and C.P. Gajurel were present at the Chunbang meeting and none of them had opposed it.
The UCPN-Maoist has split not because of any external factor but because of its own internal problems and personality cult among the senior and influential leaders of the party. Instead of blaming outside forces, the leaders of the UCPN-M as well as the newly formed CPN-M need to do some soul searching as to what went wrong in their political and organisational life and how such mistakes can be checked in the future. There are flaws with both Prachanda and Kiran, which created the rift between them and ultimately led to the break-up of their long-political partnership.
Any split in a major political party is painful, and it is more so when it is the UCPN-Maoist because in the present context, the country is at a difficult juncture. The political process that began almost six years ago with the objective of total transformation of the country has been derailed with the failure of the Constituent Assembly to deliver a new constitution.
The Maoists raised several important crucial agendas, which have now become national agendas. These agendas are yet to be formally institutionalised. If we fail to institutionalise these agendas, the entire purpose of the decade-long ‘People’s War’ would be defeated, and the achievements of Jana Andolan II lost.
Uncertain fate
With the split in the UCPN-Maoist, these agenda and achievements will not only meet an uncertain fate but will also complicate the political process in Nepal. In fact, this is a time for unity among and within the parties to steer the country out of the present crisis. As the largest political force that travelled through an arduous political journey for radical change in the country, the UCPN-Maoist has definitely a big role and responsibility to rescue the country from sliding into further crisis. But the split is likely to diminish its role in the country’s political game plan. The political course which was charted by the Maoists may go off track with the split in the UCPN-Maoist. If this happens, the country and the people would be the ultimate losers because of this politics of fragmentation.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Nepal's foreign policy and Gorkha recruitment

Yuba Nath Lamsal
The question of Nepal’s sovereignty has now been raised more prominently and strongly than ever before. This is because Nepal is now in history’s worst political crisis and its political capability has dwindled to the lowest ebb, which has given rise to foreign meddling and interference. Political instability and vulnerability often impair and weaken diplomatic capability which makes the country unable to defend its national interest abroad. Instead various external powers and interest groups get opportunity to interfere and play against our own interest.
This is what exactly has happened in Nepal at present. We have perfectly and successfully proved our inability and incompetence. We have shown the world that we are incompetent to resolve our own problems and have sought help from external forces to settle our differences and solve our internal problems. When we are unable to sort out our problems and seek external help to solve our internal issues, there will definitely be external interference.
Although external interference in our internal affairs is not a new phenomenon, the foreign meddling at present is more acute and more naked. There used to be external interference in Nepal, but it was indirect and applied through coercive diplomacy and other means. Now it is direct and objectionable. Foreigners are now dictating and playing openly in our internal politics and external powers have been catalyst in determining our political course, which is, to a large, extent our own making.
We have the tendency to seek external assistance to settle our problems. In every political change, foreigners have become catalyst and the credit is given to foreigners although all political changes have been brought about due to people’s struggle and movements. When political change takes place, foreigners try to take political dividend for their support to new political actors. Nepal’s political actors/parties, too, trust the foreigners and depend on them more than their own people.
The recent case is our peace process. The peace process had begun with the signing of the 12-point agreement between the insurgent Maoist party and the seven-party alliance (a coalition of seven parliamentary parties) in New Delhi, India. Now New Delhi is reaping benefit for its alleged role in facilitating Nepal’s peace process by bringing together the Maoists and parliamentary parties against Monarchy. The political parties could have met somewhere inside Nepal and signed the deal on their own without seeking help of external power. Here lies the fundamental flaw on the part of our political parties. This also shows that our parties do not have self-confidence and seek others’ support. Even after the success of Jana Andolan II and beginning of the peace process, the parties could have devised their own mechanism to advance all works relating to the peace process including the management of the arms and armies. But they invited the United Nations to do this job. The United Nations is the world government in which Nepal also has its representation. The involvement of the UN is better than brining any other foreign power. But it negated our own initiative. There are very few instances where the United Nations has been successful in handling the peace process in the transitional countries. It repeated in Nepal, as well. Once e invited the United Nations to get involved in our peace process, we lost our own initiative and we miserably failed. The ownership of our peace process went to foreigners. Firstly, India claimed its ownership just for facilitating the signing of the 12-point agreement and secondly the United Nations for taking up the responsibility in facilitating the management of the Maoist arms and combatants. But both India and UN utterly failed in Nepal. Their role further complicated the situation in Nepal.  As a result, the UN mission was asked to pack up and go. But India still continues to claim ownership of Nepal’s peace process and trying to meddle in Nepal’s political affairs. But it seems Nepali political parties do not have guts to do to India what they did to the United Nations.
The history of external interference and domination in Nepal can be traced back to 1816 when the Sugauli Treaty was signed.  The Sugauli Treaty gave the British colonial power in India that had controlled almost entire South Asia a suitable ground to interfere in Nepal’s internal affairs. Apart from losing sizeable territory, Nepal also agreed to grant British colonial power to recruit Nepali Gorkhas in its army and the establishment of the British mission in Kathmandu. The agreement for Gorkha recruitment was a move that continues to have negative repercussion in our national capability, prestige as well as foreign policy. Prior to Sugauli Treaty Nepal was in its mission of expanding the country. The Sugauli Treaty brought Nepal’s expansionist campaign to an end. The British colonial power was so clever that it always sensed simmering threat from Nepal in its dominant role in South Asia. The Gorkhas, despite having been devoid of modern equipment, were amazingly fighting force. By entering into agreement on Gorkha recruitment, British killed two birds with one stone. Firstly, the British got a reservoir of an excellent and professional fighting force upon which they could fully depend in case of any kind of revolt from Indians. The British wanted Gorkhas not only to enhance their fighting capability and also create a force that could be used if any kind of mutiny and revolts took place in India against the colonial power. Secondly, Gorkha recruitment was a clever move of British rulers to weaken Nepal’s fighting power so that Nepal would no longer remain a threat. They were of the view that once the British opened up recruitment for Gorkhas in their army with better facilities and pays, Nepal’s youths would prefer British army than their own Nepali armed force.
The Gorkha recruitment continues even today. Originally, the agreement for Gorkha recruitment had been reached between the Nepal Government and the British colonial power. However, it should not have been valid after British raj came to an end in India. Unfortunately, the practice was given continuity under the so-called tripartite agreement between Nepal, Britain and India.
Nepal had agreed for Gorkha recruitment not on its volition but rather under pressure from British colonial power. Even after the signing of the Sugauli Treaty, Nepali authorities had issued secret instructions the local authorities to do everything possible to discourage Nepali youths to join British Army. In course of time, Nepal could not prevent this practice and Nepalese youths became more interested to join the British army because of better pay and facilities. Moreover, Nepali rulers got more involved in internal and factional struggle and they had no time, energy and even willingness to pay attention to the issue concerning the Gorkha recruitment.
The post-1947 period saw even worse scenario. Lured by Gorkha soldiers’ valor and art of fighting even in the most difficult situation, India, too, demanded Gorkha recruitment. When British raj ended, Britain and India shared the Gorkha troops, to which Nepal also gave its consent in the name of tripartite agreement. It was a mistake on the part of Nepali government.
When British colonial rule came to an end in India, the Sugauli Treaty and all other treaties and agreements made with the British colonial power in India should have been automatically abrogated. Moreover, India claimed to be the successor of British colonial power despite partition out of which Pakistan and Hindustan (India) were born. India claimed to be the successor of British colonial rule simply because it wanted continuity of the colonial rules, systems and practices. After British left India, the position of India should have been like that of pre-British era. This means India should have been decolonized and the status of the states that were later invaded by British rulers should been declared independent. Nepal had lost a large part of its territory to British India during the Anglo-Nepal war in 1814-16 and these lost territories should have returned to Nepal after British left India. But it did not happen simply because India gave continuity to colonial practice and system. As a result, Indians are in the state of colony of a handful of elites and aristocrats, despite its claim to be world’s largest democracy.
The Gorkha recruitment stands as an ample evidence of the continuity of British colonial policy in India even after its so-called independence.  India has used the Nepali Gorkha in the most dangerous zones where Indians fear to go. Nepal has officially adopted non-aligned foreign policy which means Nepal does not have any enemy and does not want to ally with any power bloc in the world. The other salient feature of Nepal’s foreign policy is its strict adherence to five principles of peaceful co-existence, which clearly seeks to refrain from war and conflict with any other country. But Gorkhas fought war against China in 1962 to defend India, they fought with Pakistan and they fought in Kargil and Kashmir. Similarly, Gorkhas were sent to Sri Lanka to intervene in this island nation. This is all against Nepal’s non-aligned foreign policy.  While Nepal seeks friendship and cooperation with all countries in the world, its citizens are fighting against our international friends to defend other countries, which is a great irony of the 21st century. As long as the Gorkha recruitment continues, Nepal’s independent and non-aligned foreign policy would continue to be violated. It, thus, bode well if Nepal takes up Gorkha recruitment issue with India and Britain and makes sure that this tradition is discontinued for the greater prestige and reputation of Nepal in the community of the nations.