Nominating most of the members from those leaning to the left, the ruling parties are ignoring persons representing main opposition political party Nepali Congress and Madhesh-based parties in the recently formed government committee of distinguished personalities to look at the overall aspects of Nepal-India relations. This is likely to generate more controversies in the coming days.
By constituting the committee, overwhelmingly dominated by persons having communist leaning, the committee looks to be of the leftists alone. Following the past tendency to appoint his or her own follower in any major position, CPN-UML led left dominated coalition government constituted a committee with majority members who are known for their left leaning.
The Government has decided to constitute a committee comprising distinguished persons to look into the overall aspects of Nepal-India relations and help further expand multi-dimensional relations between the two countries.
A decision to this end was taken by the meeting of the Council of Ministers recently. According to government spokesperson and Minister for Information and Communications Sherdhan Rai, the decision to form such a committee with a two-year term had been reached by the meeting of the Nepal-India foreign ministerial joint commission held in Kathmandu in 2051 B.S.
Former Foreign Minister Dr. Bheikh Bahadur Thapa, former Chief Commissioner of the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority Suryanath Upadhyay, former UN Under-Secretary General Kul Chandra Gautam and Member of Parliament Dr. Rajan Bhattarai were nominated as members of the Committee on behalf of Nepal.
Among the proposed names, Dr. Bhekh Bahadur Thapa has expertise and experience to have firsthand knowledge on Nepal-India relations. Having long experiences in diplomacy, Dr.Thapa also served as Nepalese ambassador in India for almost six years and watched close handling of foreign relations with India.
However, other three nominees Dr. Kul Chandra Gautam, Suryanath Upadhyaya and Dr. Rajan Bhattarai are least experienced in the area of Nepal-India relations.
Having served for a long period of time in UNICEF and UN system, Dr. Gautam’s expertise could be useful for enhancing Nepal’s relations with United Nations and UN agencies. In his recently released book, Lost in Transition: Rebuilding Nepal from Maoist mayhem and mega earthquake, Dr. Gautam has honestly admitted that he was a sympathizer to communist ideology in his school days.
Similarly, former chief of CIAA Upadhyaya, who is known for his expertise on laws, too has little experience in dealing with India on bilateral diplomacy. Ideologically, Upadhyaya, who has also expertise on water related issues, has communist leaning from his school days and media reported his affiliation with CPN-UML, particularly with former Prime Minister Nepal.
CA member and member of International Department of CPN-UML Dr. Rajan Bhattarai is a new comer. Having served as foreign relations advisor of former Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal, Dr. Bhattarai has completed Ph.D from Jawaharlal Nehru University, India. Bhattarai’s loyalty to his party is obvious as he represents CPN-UML in parliament.
As Nepal’s communist parties thrive in anti-Indian orientations, the committee has been constituted at a time when communist ideology is declining in India and current ruling party BJP has blamed previous Congress I led government for outsourcing Nepal’s relations to Communist Party of India Marxist.
With no representation from Madhesh, the committee formed by a government, which has odd alliance with RPP-Nepal, is unlikely to take a major decision on bilateral issues with a neighboring country like India.