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Loose Tongue Diplomacy And The Indo-Nepal Relationship – OpEd

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Nepal shares an intimate relationship with India. Both the countries have a strong cultural, historical, economical, social and political bond. Despite these robust ties, there have been instances where the bilateral links have been broken and difficult to repair. The recent diplomatic outburst by one of the Indian diplomats has raised serious concern. The untoward remark made by S.D.Mehta, the Indian consular based in Birjung has sent a squall of reactions all over Nepal.

According to the media report, he had instigated the leaders of major political parties like the Nepali Congress(NC), United Marxist Leninist(UML) and the Madeshi Forum to brew a storm of protest before the 27th of May to exert pressure on the present Nepalese government. This happened in a social gathering at Hotel Vishwa in Birjung, a sub-metropolitan town on the southern part of Nepal. Who gave him the right to blow political conch on Nepalese soil? Isn’t it a distinct act of bully?

The Indian government should immediately recall the diplomat on moral grounds. As an envoy of a good neighbor, Mehta should know the fact that Nepal is a sovereign country. This is not the first time that an Indian diplomat is spewing fire on Nepal. There was a similar case with the former ambassador Rakesh Sood when he had threatened to seal the Indo-Nepal border on one occasion. Intruding into Nepal’s domestic affair is not a new development for some of the Indian diplomats. Such puerile and intentional slippage of tongue may tarnish the image of phenomenal kinship between India and Nepal.

Blasphemous remarks from diplomats like Mehta disparage the cherished trust between India and Nepal. On one hand, Nepal has a long withstanding issue of land encroachments with India which has frozen overtime. Surveys conducted by the Nepalese side assert that there are 54 instances of land grab by the Indian forces. It includes Kalapani, which has been occupied by the Indian Army since the 60s. The next is the water dispute that has substantially undermined the position of Nepal.

In the light of these sour realities, such malicious statement will not only create a rage amongst the Nepalese but will also deteriorate the spirit of Indo-Nepal Friendship. India should checkmate such diplomats who have least regard for the bilateral welfare of both the countries. When Nepal is struggling to sort out her domestic tantrums, such vilifying attitude will fan communal and inter-partisan riots. Why did the Indian polity bestow him the power to meddle in Nepal’s domestic issue? Why is he trying to severe the Indo-Nepal rapport? These are some of the questions that India will have to answer. Indian Embassy in Kathmandu has clearly refuted the claim as misleading. When the major political parties of Nepal are complaining against the misconduct of the diplomat, how just is it for India to disregard the claim? The unnerving attitude of the Indian Embassy that does not seem to budge despite such horrendous remark has questioned the morale of India.

Arguing about the spate of controversies created by Indian diplomats; Rakesh Sood, the former ambassador to Nepal was another unpopular envoy. His three years terms in Nepal were a saga of complete controversy. His arrogant and domineering role in Nepal had suspiciously questioned the great legacy of Indian democratic spirit. The impact of Indo-Nepal friendship largely depends upon the camaraderie of the Indian envoy based in Nepal. Despite being one of the world’s largest democracies, India’s sentiment towards Nepal has the chances of being misrepresented by the loathsome attitude of her diplomats. Apart from that, there are numerous actors and agencies that are largely responsible for smearing the bilateral lens.

India must respect the sovereignty of Nepal not only in words but in deeds. If the historic bond between the two countries is rendered vulnerable by the vicious act of such envoy, he should be rightly expelled and recalled immediately. More than the individual interests of the diplomats, the overall welfare of India and Nepal should be taken into consideration.



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Nabin Kumar Chhetri

Nabin Kumar Chhetri is a Nepalese author and a member of The Scottish Pen. His works have appeared in The International Herald Tribune, The Statesman, Eurasia Review, The Kathmandu Post, Nepal News and The Darjeeling Times. He can be reached at [email protected]

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