Moving northwards to Nepal, seen from an Indian angle, it becomes apparent that it is in a bit of a mess. Having literally shooed the erstwhile monarch out of Narayanhiti Palace and carried the Maoists into the throne room, as it were, the first thing the Maoists did was to establish a major outreach programme to Beijing, which has been waiting for precisely such an opportunity. The first thing that Prachanda did was to visit Beijing, instead of New Delhi. Subsequently, Nepali officials went by the planeload to China, by one count, as many as thirty delegations. It was not a one-way passage. Then, as New Delhiwatched open mouthed, Chinese reciprocated with return visits, and substantial aid was granted, including military. The PLA chief Chen Bingde visited, taking along with him the head of theTibetmilitary district.
Two months ago, a Chinese man who can best be described as China’s security czar, Zhou Youngkang, close to both President Hu Jintao and his putative successor, Xi Jingping, brought about five dozen high Chinese officials to Kathmandu. The highest level visit that Nepal had ever been conferred with by the Chinese in almost nine years, it set the stage for an expanded bilateral agenda with an emphasis on security matters. Narrowly viewed, it could be seen as a sign of Beijing’s intention to curb Tibetan activity but it would be naïve to look at it at anything less than a Chinese move to expand influence over Nepal and thereby exert pressure on India. After all, at one point of time, Chairman Mao is credited with pithily extending his palm which he said was Chinaand the five fingers:Sikkim,Bhutan, Ladakh, NEFA, and Nepal— territories that needed to be liberated.
Right now, it is testing the waters: it floated a $3 billion dollar proposal to develop Lumbini, where Buddha was born. If it succeeds in pushing it, the place will be swarming with Chinese engineers, the same way as Chinese engineers are swarming all overPakistan, including in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. The new ambassador has spoken repeatedly about it. Add to the fact that there are already two dozen China Study Centres operating along Nepal’s porous borders with India, ostensibly to spread awareness about China’s culture, and the scene becomes pregnant with possibilities.
Says Jayadeva Ranade, a longtime China watcher formerly with the RAW, “Frankly, I would describe our relationship with China as one under strain, despite New Delhi’s efforts to keep the borders tranquil.”
Ranade has watched the Chinese increasing pressure on India from 2006 onwards with a long-term massive build-up plan across our borders and in Tibet. The Chinese are working on an extensive encirclement policy. In Pakistan, they plan to extend the Karakoram Highway all the way south to the warm waters of Gwadar, where they are helping to develop a port.
Answer the questions to the point. Do not bring in unnecessary. And no cut and paste job plese. The MODERN SLOGAN IS INNOVATE; BE ORIGINAL OR PERISH.