Dahal’s visit to India: Will it be fruitful?

The success of the visit is limited as it is a trust building visit primarily as there has been a big gap that cannot be bridged easily. It is related to the perceptions of both sides, which can be changed only by action in course of time

Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ is flying to Delhi on his four-day state visit to India on September 15, exactly on the same date he had embarked on his last visit eight years ago.

It was considered a successful visit. Sadly, after his abrupt resignation after the reinstatement of the then dismissed Chief of Army Staff by the then president, the agreements signed remained executed and achievements could not be crystallized.

PM Dahal has made wide range of consultations to seek guidance in dealing with India.

Many individuals and groups have advised him. Interestingly, every time when a Prime Minister visits India he is abundantly advised not to sign any agreements that go against the interests of Nepal’s independence, sovereignty and self-respect.

Treating himself as the only patriot in their country every one wants to advise him as if he does not know what to do and what not.

A prime minister should not equate Kathmandu with Nepal as millions of people live in different parts of the country that are fighting for the recognition of their identities.

He must be familiar with the economic condition of the country where thousands of youth are crossing the border every day in search of bread and butter. He must be knowing that hundreds of people are going abroad as migrant workers seeking jobs in factories as workers and security guards.

Their inhuman plight does not have the shocking effect on the so-called self-respect of some leaders enjoying all facilities in Kathmandu.

In the age of globalization, he is supposed to know the real meaning of sovereignty, independence and the definition of the word ’nation’, which does not denote mountains, hills, jungles and rivers but the diverse people who constitute it.

During 2008 to 2016 (the time between the first visit and the second) there had been many ups and downs not only in his political career but also in the history of the nation.

The nation has got new constitution passed by the Constituent Assembly antagonizing a large chunk of people who have been protesting against the constitution.

Implementation of the constitution is facing resistance from those whose aspirations the constitution does not meet.

There are certain demands that are to be addressed through the amendments to the constitution, which are opposed vehemently by the CPN-UML which has been thrown out of power recently and PM Dahal deserted the coalition to become Prime Minster.

Prachanda, has assumed the office of Prime Minster of Nepal again on August 4, 2016 after a gap of seven years.

This time, even before he appointed a foreign minister, he sent two special envoys to two neighbouing countries -one deputy Prime Minister KB Mahara, a close associate, to China and another Deputy Prime Minister Bimlendra Nidhi, a Madhesi who leads the ministers representing the Nepali Congress, the major partner of the coalition, to India.

First, he was quick to send his envoy to China to show his posture towards China assuring the continuity of the implementation of the agreements signed during the visit of his predecessor Oli whom he had replaced and also about the proposed visit of Chinese president Xi Jinping to Nepal.

He, then, sent his second envoy to India to clear ground for his forthcoming visit starting from September 15. Thus, PM Dahal seems to have performed a balancing act between the two neighbours walking a tight rope.

Prachanda is making his forthcoming visit involving two questions: why is he in a hurry to visit? And will it be fruitful?

Significantly, just minutes after his election on August 3, Indian PM Narendra Modi congratulated him on his success and invited him to visit India at the earliest convenience.

In the evening, the Chinese Ambassador called on him at his residence to congratulate him. Are all these really courtesy calls? Or are they actually concerned about us? It is natural that neighboring countries should have expressed their concerns, but their concerns vary.

For example, China might be concerned about the execution of the agreements signed during the previous government, where as India’s concern would be to see a peaceful and inclusive Nepal, which is a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, multi-lingual and multi-religious country.

Unfortunately, there has been no leader with a vision to develop Nepal as a nation on the one hand and on the other, India and China, who have different political ideologies, seem to obstruct the political evolution here, as China believes that diversity is to be merged into unity for the sake of stability, whereas, India prefers diversity to be maintained under unity.

Dahal has limited time to show his worth in both internal and external politics. He wants to show that he is better than the previous ones. He wants to utilize all opportunities that are before him.

Hence he decided to visit India. But it seems that he has failed in his diplomacy by sending Dy.PM Nidhi, a Madhesi, to India and DyPM Mahra, a close associate, to China as it might create doubts in the minds of the people on the one hand and in the diplomatic circles in India and China about his real intention, on the other.

The success of the visit is limited as it is a trust building visit primarily as there has been a big gap that cannot be bridged easily.

It is related to the perceptions of both sides, which can be changed only by action in course of time for which he does not have sufficient time.