A journey from Zone of Peace to Indo-Pacific Strategy – Telegraph Nepal

-P.R. Pradhan

Chief Editor, The People’s Review Weekly

Kathmandu, Nepal

The USA has shown unusual interest in Nepal. Since the ratification of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), an American grant project, the visit-frequency of the senior American diplomats has been enormously intensified.

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The MCC grant worth 500 million US $ was approved by parliament. More than that, the US government has announced yet another grant support worth 800 million US dollars.

Recently, during the visit of Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights and U.S. special coordinator for Tibetan Issues Uzra Zeya, she assured more grant support for Nepal along with an invitation to Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba for a visit to the USA.

Zeya, who was on a three-day official visit to Nepal had kept herself busy with unwarranted activities. Ignoring the Nepal government’s steadfast doctrine of not allowing anti-China activities on Nepali soil, she openly met with Tibetan refugees on Saturday afternoon. It is not only against diplomatic dignity but also a blatant disregard for Nepal’s sovereignty.

Keeping herself engaged in discussions at the Jawalakhel camp for about three hours, she went to Bouddhanath to interact with other refugees.

Interestingly, she also met PM Deuba’s spouse Arzu Rana Deuba and former speaker Onsari Gharti, among others.

Earlier upon her arrival in Kathmandu, it was informed to the press that she had a scheduled meeting with the Tibetan refugees in Kathmandu.

In this regard, we cannot say that the Nepal government was not informed about the senior American diplomat’s visit schedule. Nevertheless, the supreme leaders of the five parties and the chief executive of the government, PM Deuba were aware of the visit schedule.

Moreover, Arju Rana Deuba, who is considered the ‘de facto’ foreign minister, had held a meeting with the American diplomat.

The Deuba couple is known to be close to the USA and, of late, the couple has developed strong relations with the Indian leaders of the day. They played a vital role in adopting the MCC grant project from Parliament following a green signal from the supreme leaders in the five-party alliance government despite controversies.

We believe MCC is a project under the Indo-Pacific Strategy developed by the USA to contain China. Since the ratification of the MCC from Parliament, the Americans have paved the way to (mis)use Nepali soil against other countries, as advocated by many Nepali intellectuals earlier to the MCC endorsement from Parliament.

Nepali Zelenskyy:

Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, undermining Nepal’s standard foreign policy, has attempted to serve American interests. It is not odd as he was groomed by the Americans since his student days.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy, a comedian turned politician, who became the president of Ukraine, decided to serve the American interests along with expressing the desire for joining NATO and the EU threatening the Russian security sensitivity.

Whether the Russian invasion of Ukraine was bullying by a big nation to a small nation or not, is another chapter, however, irritating Russia by neighbor Ukraine, which was a part of the former USSR, was not tolerable for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Now, the war continues; many Ukrainian cities have been destroyed; millions of the Ukrainian population have been compelled to take refuge in different European countries.

Geo politically, Nepal is located between the two giant nations India and China. Nepal has no options except from maintaining excellent relations with both neighbors. Therefore, Nepal had adopted a foreign policy based on non-alignment, not allowing the use of Nepali soil against any other countries and maintaining a “one China policy” with her northern neighbor China.

When the visiting senior American diplomat is openly meeting with the Tibetan refugees in Kathmandu and the government is a silent spectator on the issue, it is clear that the government has not maintained the “one-China policy” in practice and the government has allowed the misuse of Nepali soil against the neighbouring country.

A journey from ZOP to IPS:

Nepal is no more a country practicing non-aligned foreign policy. Viewing Nepal’s security concerns, the country had adopted a non-aligned foreign policy. Nepal is the founding member of the non-aligned movement.

Besides, King Birendra, to safeguard Nepal’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity, had proposed declaring Nepal, the birthplace of Lord Buddha, a symbol of peace, as a Zone of Peace (ZOP). Above 116 nations, except India had recognized the King’s ZOP, unfortunately, those, who were involved in writing the 1990 constitution, quietly removed the ZOP from the constitution.

Now, formally or informally, Nepal has joined the Indo-Pacific Strategy club, which is against China, Nepal’s immediate neighbor. What price would Nepal pay for such an act, we can just assume from the fate of Ukraine!

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# The opinions expressed here are those of the author of this article: Ed. Upadhyaya.

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