Anti-India posturing has lost appeal in Nepal: Daily

Last Updated: Thu, Oct 11, 2012 09:00 hrs

Kathmandu, Oct 10 (IANS) Anti-India posturing is no longer an appealing issue in Nepal today but some Maoists still believe they could find support among the masses, a leading Nepali daily has said in an editorial.

The Kantipur Daily's op-ed "Daily doublespeak on India" Tuesday comes after a breakaway Maoist group announced an indefinite ban on Indian vehicles entering the country.

The issue of "Swadhinatako Abhiyan" is no longer appealing to people as they faced so much betrayal from the leftist parties under similar pretexts, the daily wrote.

The CPN-Maoist, a splinter group of the UCPN-Maoist led by Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai, has also banned Bollywood films and Indian TV channels in parts of Nepal.

Though the United Democratic Madhesi Front, a constituent of the ruling coalition, has deplored the move, the UCPN has yet to take a formal position on the issue.

Bhattarai, instead of stating his party's position, said: "No one has the right to take the law in their hands under political cover."

The CPN-Maoist claim the ban will "promote a self-reliant national economy, protect employment opportunities for citizens and encourage domestic investment".

The communists, having been strongly ideologically indoctrinated, continue to see India as "expansionist", hence it will be "difficult for them to get rid of such sentiments".

The ruling Maoist party believe majority of the people harbour anti-India sentiments, which is why it has not changed its position on India, even when the leadership often looks to New Delhi for support, the editorial said.

The PM's recent statement that "The key (to Nepali politics) lies somewhere else" reveals the difficulty in giving up the anti-India posture. It also hinted that he is likely to continue with his anti-India stance in near future after he is out of power.

In the wake of the CPN-Maoist ban, serious concerns have been raised in India and Nepal. The move is against the spirit of democracy, it has been argued. Main opposition parties in Nepal, the Nepali Congress and UML, have condemned the move.

Tugged in the eastern Himalayas, Nepal, which shares its southern border with India, has enjoyed a close relation with India for decades.

The bedrock of this special relation was laid in 1950 when they signed a friendship treaty, which enabled Nepal to overcome its disadvantage of being a land-locked country.

In 2009, both sides revised their trade treaties that provided impetus to the business, allowing Nepal duty-free access to more Indian products. Bilateral trade was worth about $4 billion during 2010-11.

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