India is fast losing its friends in the neighbourhood. This time, the top priority project of Modi, a road to reach Kailash-Manasarovar in Tibet, is the prime reason for antagonizing Nepal and provoking border skirmishes with China. Government of Nepal has published a political map of the country which includes Kalapani, Limpiyadhura and Lipulekh as part of its sovereign territory based on 1816 treaty signed by British with then ruler of Nepal, through which the road goes. Nepal PM has asked India govt to remove “encroachments” from the area.
Indian army chief General M.M. Naravane’s remarks that the Nepali government had protested the inauguration of India’s link road to Mount Kailash in Lipulekh at the behest of China has united all sections of Nepalese society – including all the political parties in the opposition against it. India’s sovereignty over the Lipulekh Pass is yet to be established as it continues to be a disputed region. In the last 26 years of discussions, the Nepal-India Joint Technical Level Boundary Committee was able to settle nearly 97% of the border, but failed to resolve the dispute over Kalapani and Susta. In 2009, both sides had “agreed to resolve the long standing border disputes between the two countries at various places, including Kalapani and Susta through further discussions.”
The Lipulekh Pass, which lies at the centre of the current dispute, is situated at an altitude of 5,000 metres. Nepal claims that the Indian army has encroached 372 square kilometres towards Limpiyadhura from Kalapani since the 1962 Indo-China war. At that time, Nepal, as a friendly neighbour, granted permission to the Indian army to set up a camp in the region. Subsequently, despite several firm requests by Nepal to evacuate the camp, India continued the occupation. Reports from Nepal claim that Indians from UP and Bihar have encroached on over 60,000 hectares of land in 23 out of the 75 bordering districts. There is a great deal of hue and cry in Nepal over encroachment. As India refuses to even discuss these, and now has constructed the road stealthily, it has enraged the Nepalese people greatly. PM of Nepal, Oli’s words reflect it. The Indian army chief‘s comments not only wounded Nepalese national sentiment. It has dragged China also in to this dispute, and as US hurriedly came forward supporting India and accusing China, these border skirmishes have given an international character to the dispute. The Nepali prime minister’s harsh comment on India in Nepal’s parliament recently is an indication of a deepening sense of alienation. Under Modi, once again the army chief has made foray into external relations, worsening the situation. Is history is repeating? Was it not the arrogant treatment given to Chinese PM Chou Enlai by the UP CM Gobind Ballab Pant along with the enthusiastic interference by US president Kennedy worsened the Indo-China relations, abruptly ended the conciliation talks and led to India’s China War in 1962?
During the last six years, Modi govt has worsened relations with all neighbours with its arrogant, majoritarian Hindutva approach. So, all of them who had complaints about India’s expansionism and big brotherly attitude have moved away. In continuation to its reactionary, divisive internal policy based on hate politics, relations are spoiled not only with the neighbours, but with all the Arab countries. Its foreign policy is focused only on strategic junior partnership with US administration. Naturally, US exploit the situation, trying to provoke a proxy war between India and China, to settle its own contradictions with it. It shows how under Modi India is dragged in to a situation in which the Indian army may be used as cannon fodder in another conflict with China, to serve US interests. It is not patriotism Modi, it is treason! All progressive forces should create public opinion to prevent Modi playing another dangerous game, making people suffer for his follies
From all over India there are reports of enthusiastic response from tens of millions of workers, peasantry, students, youth and all oppressed sections coming out on the streets and making the general strike a Bharat Bandh in many states. This general strike against the anti-worker, anti-people fascist Modi regime which is using its deep state to destroy whatever is left of the India that was, to destroy the renaissance values, values of secular, democratic, socialist India written in the preamble of the Constitution.
It is in this context the students and youth are spearheading country-wide upsurge to protect these values, to defeat communalization of citizenship, to make education and employment available to all, women for gender equality and the working class and peasantry to reverse the neo-liberal policies which have devastated them. They challenged the RSS/BJP offensive to transform India to majoritarian Hindu Rashtra based on Manu Smriti, while Modi rule is unleashing brute violence, terrorizing, and creating atmosphere of fear to impose Citizenship Amendment Act, National Population Register and National Register of Citizen (CAA/NPR/NRC) and perpetuate fascist hegemony. Attacking all who oppose it as anti-national, it is spreading Islamophobia using saffronized sections of state machinery and Constitutional institutions. As a result of the spontaneous students’ upsurge, the workers struggle and the resistance of all oppressed sections and classes have fused in to a mighty force making the general strike a Bharat Bandh.
Let us strive hard to use this as another stepping stone to continue the ongoing countrywide movement to defeat and throw out the RSS/BJP forces to recapture what we have lost, and to advance towards people’s democracy and social justice!