By Santosh Bhartiya
Nepal has been our friend since long-long time. For thousands of years, or when the two countries came into existence, we have been tendering our elder brotherly affection to it, but of late India has committed some mistakes that filled the minds of Nepalese people with bitterness against India. Nonetheless, during the armed struggle to dislodge the monarchy, our leaders – prominent amongst them were Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia and Jayaprakash Narayan – extended their full cooperation to the Nepali Congress in their struggle, though the government of the time took neutral stance on the issue. However, with the advent of democracy in the country, we started committing the same mistakes that we committed in Bangladesh. Consequently, our policy has driven Nepalese people away from us, though the increase in the chasm in the past three years is unprecedented.
In the wake of devastating earthquake in Nepal, our supply of aid was magnanimous, but the approach was beset with corruption, which infuriated the people of Nepal and created an anti-India feeling in the country. They saw the relief as if it was alms. Moreover, Nepal almost asked the Indian aid agencies and the Government of India to stop their aid work. At same time, China greatly helped Nepal and that too in front of our own eyes. Our government and our foreign ministry were clueless and they kept people of India in dark about the imbuing anger in the minds of the Nepalese people.
Just after becoming prime minister, Narendra Modi embarked on a series of foreign trips, and prepared a new road map for the foreign policy with the advice of the National Security Advisor. I do not know whether experts of external affairs ministry were involved in preparing that road map or not, but I was sure in that that Prime Minister Modi was following that road map. In his oath-taking ceremony he invited heads of the SAARC states and almost all of them turned up in the ceremony. Today everyone knows where our relationship with Pakistan stands. Currently, our relations with Pakistan at the lowest and hostility with that country has crossed the conventional limit. On the other hand, Prime Minister tried to encircle China by announcing $ 1 billion credit to Mongolia, believing that by alienating Mongolia from China he will score a diplomatic point. In the meantime, however, China gradually becomes largest investor in Nepal.
In the first half of the year alone, Chinese share in the investment in Nepal mounted to 68 percent. Hence there is no competition to China in Nepal vis-à-vis investment. As for Modi’s promises to Mongolia – as some experts say that he tends to make promises and forget about them. Similarly, he went back on the promises he made to Mongolia. Mongolia had attracted the wrath of China by inviting the Dalai Lama, thinking if India’s all-powerful Prime Minister with it, then why fear. In the mean time, China closed its border with Mongolia, and discontinued its aid and trade. On the other hand, no help arrived from the all powerful Prime Minister of India to Mongolia. Mongolia was in distress, and sought forgiveness of China and promised never to allow the Dalai Lama to enter the country.
Our credibility in international diplomacy is amusing. China has almost taken Nepal away from us. The best example of that is China has become the first country to conduct military exercises with Nepal excluding India. Now if China will conduct military exercise with Nepal and provide military aid, then who amongst our neighbors will be with us? The external affairs ministry is unable to understand or it does not make out what is the meaning a neighbor.
On the other hand, India’s industrial growth rate is predicted to be at 6.5 percent. It was expected from the prime minister and the finance minister to disclose as to what objectives have been achieved by demonetization on the economic front. The indicators of development of any country are the pace of its industrial development, employment generation, education, health, road and infrastructure, but to achieve them all – according to the government – we will have to wait 6 years. In another words if we need these things to happen, it would be imperative upon us to choose Narendra Modi in 2019 as well. However, the government is unable envisage its road map of development in front of the people. If the pace of development is correct, then what distance it has scaled or on what standard it has been measured? It seems that the entire country has been put into a box and they have been informed from outside that the box is running. Jobs is diminishing, growth and production declining, people did not invested in Make in India, foreign investment did not come, the much-touted black money did not come, only those money came back to banks which have been kept by crores of ordinary people at home for the hours of need. It is thousands of years old tradition of our country.
Now the government is saying that we want to become cashless or less-cash economy, and people should do all their financial transaction using mobile phones. But before that will the government assure people that in the next ten years or so, it will fix problems associated with mobile system and there will be no call drop? Whatever figure we enter and transact through mobile will reach to the intended target. And if otherwise then who will be responsible for that? I think everybody in the country is affected by the way communication system works, especially mobile network systems. It is normal for two or three call drops to make a single call and the consumer has to pay three times over. Will the Ministry of Communication or the Prime Minister just make a single promise that from the next year onward the mobile systems will be fine tuned and the consumer will not face any inconvenience while using mobile banking system?
You call someone and you get a complete stranger on the other side. The thing that was not the case earlier has started now: two people are talking on mobile then all of a sudden third came in saying “Hello”. It has been happening with the landline, but now it is happening with the mobile phone as well. It is self-evident; either there are technical shortcomings in those who look after our communication system or the lacunae in the system are deliberate acts. It is government duty to ameliorate this, but the government is unable to do so, even the prime minister is not committing himself in this regard.
Finally, we winds up with a concern that our entire communication system is under Chinese control. All our servers are located in China. All the related equipment supplied by China; even the machines that we swipe our card in are made in China. The 40 percent stake of cashless system of our country has gone directly to China, because in connivance and collusion of the officials of the finance ministry, a Chinese company called Alibaba has dented 40 percent of the country’s monitory market. The day we have got any serious issue with Pakistan or Nepal or the day China realize that India is becoming too ambitious, it will start the process or ruining our economy. For this China does not need any outside support as it has the handle to do so.
When I had been to China, I was informed that our 14 satellites were made in China. In those satellites China had installed spying mechanism. We have paid in advanced for those 14 satellites, but we did not buy those satellites, because by then we had known that China has installed espionage equipment in the satellites. Those satellites are still in China. Now maybe we will never take those satellites. Or perhaps Modi government would not have any idea whether the work done by previous government in this regard can be amended or not. On the contrary, the government has achieved a new feat by willingly allowing Chinese company to take away 40 percent stake in our monetary system. Now on which path does our foreign and economic policy put the development of the country in the next 6 months, it has to be seen.
By Santosh Bhartiya