M Roshan -
QUITE a few treatises, articles and books have been written by renowned authors that expose India’s machinations and hegemonic designs. Published in 2017, the book titled “Machinations of RAW in Transitional Nepal” authored by Nepalese scholar Dr. Shastra Dutta Pant provides a deeper insight into the RAW’s covert/overt onslaughts against the strategically-located Nepal, compelling it to compromise its sovereignty in subjugation to the Indian hegemony in South Asia. The book dwells at length with regard to RAW’s micro-management of the Nepalese affairs, specifically after the 1990 political change in Kathmandu, deepening its dependency exclusively on India. A conflict-ridden, poverty-stricken, and politically weaker Nepal is a boon to RAW’s Great Game Plan in Nepal. It also exposes RAW’s engagement in espionage, subversion, sabotage and psychological warfare against the South Asian neighbours including Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives and using Afghan soil against Pakistan.
Quoting the Indian journalist, Ashok Raina, the volume unfolds that Indian security is directly linked to its neighbourhood that renders plausible excuse to RAW in preparing financial and foreign policies, bringing unrest/disintegration in the neighbouring states. RAW pressurizes neighbouring countries to strike unequal bilateral treaties/MoUs such as with Nepal. With over 18,000 agents spread all over the world, RAW has around 12,000 agents just in the neighbouring countries lending support to non-state actors, secessionists and pressure groups. RAW’s espionage units namely Kargila and Surankote are the most powerful institutions for external espionage, specifically in Pakistan. Despite resistance from the regional countries including Nepal, India continues to ride a rough shod over them. According to a recent report, India is constructing road on Nepali side of the border without taking permission from the Nepali authorities.
Nepal is a country with enough natural resources, potential in tourism, hydropower potential, fertile land, and over and above hard working people. Nepal is located between two big nations and thus it has strategic geopolitical significance. Even though a tiny country, Nepal is an important venue for rivaling foreign powers. If Nepal becomes economically prosperous, it will become difficult for India and westerners in making this country their stronghold. They, therefore, are making efforts to destabilize this country. India had arrogated to itself the right to make it its protected nation, and destroyed the strong organs of this country to weaken it. However, due to India’s interference in the internal affairs of Nepal the entire Nepali nation is always suspicious of India. Being landlocked countries, Nepal and Bhutan have witnessed extreme forms of diplomatic coercion, whereas other countries of the region face India’s interference and proxy wars etc.
Almost all smaller neighbouring countries were annoyed over India’s domineering attitude; however with China’s footprints in Nepal, Maldives, Bhutan and Sri Lanka, Indian influence is waning. Recently, Nepal had declined to be part of the BIMSTEC Military drill, and reportedly, New Delhi told Kathmandu that its decision was not appropriate and its explanation of internal political pressure is not convincing. Nepal’s decision came just over a week after Kathmandu had hosted a summit of BIMSTEC countries attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. BIMSTEC member states include India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Thailand. In the backdrop of Doklam standoff, Bhutan has become crucial for Indian adventurism. Although, all political parties had agreed before the election campaigning that they would not ‘politicize’ sensitive issues like foreign policy, but India factor dominated the polls with rival parties defaming each other on Indo-Bhutan relations. Yet both are fed up with Indian hegemony.
Last month, Sri Lankan President Sirisena had claimed about the assassination plot prepared by RAW, just days before Ranil Wickremesinghe was scheduled to visit New Delhi. This was not the first time that a Sri Lankan leader accused RAW of interference, earlier Mahinda Rajapaksa had held RAW among those responsible for the change in regime following his defeat in 2015. Recently, Times of India has reported that India is adopting a wait and watch policy on the ongoing political crisis in Sri Lanka. However, India is trying to use a media front as a means to “yellow revolution/asymmetrical warfare” by projecting that the President’s action is unconstitutional and the move to install Rajapaksa as the PM would lead to a constitutional crisis. However, slowly and steadily, smaller countries of the region are getting closer to China. Nepal had sometime back finalised Transit and Transportation Agreement with China.
This will allow Kathmandu vital access to Beijing’s sea and land ports. The agreement said that China had also agreed to allow Nepal use its dry (land) ports at Lanzhou, Lhasa and Xigatse as well as roads to these facilities. Commerce Ministry official Rabi Shankar Sainju said that Nepali cargo from Japan, South Korea and other north Asian countries could be routed through China which would cut shipping time and cost. Nepal, according to Reuters, seeks to end India’s monopoly over its trading routes by increasing connections with Beijing. As regards Maldives, India has always desired for keeping Maldives as its client state and attempted to install a pro-India government by hook or by crook. India is particularly sensitive to any effort by small South Asian states including Maldives toward independence and sovereignty, especially their ties with other major powers. However, all small South Asian nations want to get rid of India’s domination and hegemony.