WSWS on Nepali geopolitics (was: Re: geopolitics)

Johannes Schneider Johannes.Schneider at
Wed Jun 13 07:01:18 MDT 2001

Full text at:
(the whole article is worth reading, no anti-Maoist polemics, a good summary
of what one could have found in the better articles of the bourgeois press
in recent days about Nepal)

"While the international media have noted a few potential flaws in
Gyanendra's character, its coverage of the dead king has been uniformly
sycophantic. Numerous reports have described Birendra-to quote one-"as a
beloved monarch regarded by many as an incarnation of the Hindu god Vishnu".
An editorial in the Indian newspaper, the Hindu, was even more extravagant,
declaring: "Indeed the assassinated monarch enjoyed an enormous degree of
acceptability among the ordinary Nepalese citizens. A unique high point of
his long reign was the people-friendly role that he played to facilitate
Nepal's transformation into a constitutional monarchy with a democratic core
in 1990."

The reasons for this rather obsequious praise became clearer when the
editorial touched on India's strategic interests in its northern neighbour.
"While Kathmandu often appears keen to do a balancing act in its foreign
policy in respect of New Delhi and Beijing, Nepal's internal agendas are not
also devoid altogether of security concerns to its big neighbours." India
has in the past voiced concerns about Chinese influence in Nepal accusing
Beijing of supporting the Maoist guerrillas. For its part, China has
expressed fears that the 30,000 Tibetan exiles living in Nepal may
politically threaten its hold over Tibet.

Nepal's balancing act between China and India has always been precarious. If
the Hindu had been at all honest in its account, it would have pointed out
that Birendra's decision in 1990 to decree a new constitution was not the
action of a benevolent monarch but was forced on him by widespread protests
against his rule, in which more than 500 people were killed. Those
demonstrations were the result of an acute social and political crisis
precipitated, at least in part, by the Indian government's decision in late
1989 to impose a trade blockade on the land-locked country in reprisal for
Nepal's perceived pro-China steps and other sleights. The step rapidly led
to a shortage of fuel, salt, cooking oil and other basic commodities, a
slump in Nepal's tourist industry and an intensification of social

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