Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Is Nepal heading towards another armed struggle?

A lot has happened in Nepal in the last 48 hours starting with the dismissal of the Army Chief Rukmangad Katawal by Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda'. Then President Ram Baran Yadav stepped in and countermanded the ruling of the Maoists leader and reinstated Gen Katawal as the chief of the Army. Prachanda submitted his resignation in protest throwing the Himalayan nation into uncertainty.

The bone of contention between the Prachanda and Katawal is over the recruitment of Maoist guerrilla in the Nepalese Army. Gen Katawal is strictly against the recruitment of indoctrinated fighters into the Army. His argument is that army as an institution doesn't ally with any political faction and thus these 19000 guerrillas are not fit for the army. Also the fact that Katawal and Prachanda fought a war against each other for 10 years makes it impossible for the two men to have a working relationship.

According to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement which was signed when the People Liberation Army (Maoist Guerrillas) entered the mainstream these rebel soldiers were to be recruited into the Army. But Gen Katawal has stood against it and even extended the service for eight senior generals who support him on the issue. There were rumours that he was even planning a coup in Nepal with the support of his Army.

From India's perspective Nepal is becoming another serious security threat in the neighbourhood after Pakistab, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Prachanda's openly blaming India for the present political crisis streamlines the current trust the PM in Nepal has over India. The Indian government had helped (both financially and militarily) the King and the then Royal Nepalese Army fighting against Prachanda and his men during the 10 year civil war.

Prachanda's close ties with the Communist leaders in China is another worrying factor for India. Prachanda and his man have always supported their Maoist counterparts in India. Nepal being its protectorate New Delhi had always maintained cordial relationship with Kathmandu especially during the Shah dynasty's reign. After the Maoist takeover the relationship between the two countries haven't been the same. Both the sides not trusting each other is not helping the cause either.

The coming days will be very crucial for the political stability in Nepal. The vast political divide between the political parties and the Army seems to be the perfect ingredient uncertainty in the nation. In a worst case scenario an armed struggle between the Army and the Maoists cannot be ruled out.


  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP