India to Resume Arms Shipments to Nepal’s King

Revolution #002, May 15, 2005, posted at

We received the following from A World to Win News Service:

May 2, 2005. A World to Win News Service. One of the most important developments at the otherwise uneventful Asian-African summit held in Jakarta and Bandung, Indonesia, in late April was the meeting between Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Nepal’s King Gyanendra. At this private get-together the king seems to have thrust himself more firmly into Indian hands than ever, setting the stage for events with potentially far-reaching consequences. The pounding inflicted on the Royal Army by the people’s war led by the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) may have influenced the thinking of the king and India alike.

Many countries had been going through the motions of isolating Gyanendra since he staged a coup and returned the country to absolute monarchy February 1. At that time, the UK announced that it was suspending military aid and the U.S. threatened to do likewise. India, Gyanendra’s key foreign backer, imposed an arms embargo on Nepal soon after Gyanendra dissolved the government and dismissed parliament. Official Indian displeasure is said to have prompted the king to boycott the annual summit of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) scheduled for February, forcing the meeting’s cancellation.

At the Indonesia conference, however, India’s public attitude changed. The Indian newspaper The Hindu reported that Singh reassured Gyanendra that Indian arms shipments to Nepal would resume—"very soon," according to an Indian foreign ministry official.

Even more ominous developments have also taken place. In February—during the period when it was claiming to be isolating Gyanendra—the Indian government decided to almost double the size of its Border Security Force, from 25,000 to 40,000 men, over the next three years. The BSF has already intervened in Nepal, taking part in a battle against the Maoist-led rebel army at Bardia, five kilometers inside Nepal’s border with India.

When seen in light of India’s intentions, even Gyanendra’s post-Indonesia conference proclamation ending the state of emergency he had imposed at the time of the coup is a sinister move. It was probably dictated by India or at the very least designed to provide India (and perhaps the U.S. and UK as well) with political cover to step up open support for the Nepalese monarchy.

The king’s April 30 announcement actually changes little. It certainly does not undo his suspension of parliament and civil rights. Demonstrations, public meetings and picket lines are still banned in much of the Kathmandu valley, although Kathmandu itself saw a big demonstration against the king May 1. There is no end to the total censorship. Some 400 journalists have been arrested or taken for questioning and about a thousand forced into unemployment. News is banned outright for most media and dictated by the king’s men for the rest. Although Gyanendra announced that some parliamentary party leaders would be freed, he renewed the detention of several others. There is no freedom in sight for most of the 3,000 people human rights organizations believe were detained during the state of emergency. Most importantly, of course, the king still holds absolute power.

The Maoist Nepali weekly Janadesh has analyzed the indications that King Gyanendra, while still not tired of making a hullabaloo about patriotism and national unity, has bet his kingdom on the support of the Indian ruling class.

Janadesh wrote, "It has been learned that the Indian regime has secretly made up its own roadmap." One sign of such a development, it said, is that the SAARC summit has now been reset for the end of May. What makes this possible, Janadesh inferred, is that Nepal’s feudal monarch has made secret agreements with India involving further capitulation.

The protests of the Indian ruling class in the wake of Gyanendra Shah’s coup were not motivated by altruism or concern for the Nepalese people, the Maoist publication continued. The Indian ruling classes always put their interests at the center. For them, American domination of Nepal is not acceptable. While the Nepalese economy is under the control of Indian monopolists, military control has gradually tilted toward U.S. imperialism. Since the U.S. is bogged down in the quagmire of the war in Iraq and not able to intervene more forcefully in Nepal, on the one hand, and on the other Gyanendra more fully capitulated to India at the Bandung conference, as a result, India feels assured that it can fulfill its interests by supporting Gyanendra at a moment when he is extremely weak.

The second reason, the weekly wrote, for the Indian regime’s somewhat changed stance is that it may no longer be confident that its interests can be served by only supporting the parliamentary parties, which have been in decline due to their own political ambiguity during the last three months. Thus, instead of solely supporting the parliamentarians who are now unable to do anything against the king, India has come up with the idea that it could align the parliamentarians with the king to better fight the Maoist revolution.

The third point is that the Maoist revolutionary movement that has been developing in India itself has been a serious headache for that country. If the fascist Gyanendra is not supported in Nepal, the Maoist revolutionaries who now control over 75 percent of Nepal’s territory, according to Indian data, could win central political power quickly, and that would seriously challenge the reactionary system in India.

The fourth reason why India changed its position, Janadesh pointed out, is that in the face of U.S. imperialism’s inability to more aggressively intervene against the Nepalese people’s war, China, Pakistan or Israel may try to fill that vacuum. That would also be a headache for the Indian regime. In order to prevent other countries from coming into Nepal too, the Indian regime seems to have decided to help the feudal despot Gyanendra Shah by hook or by crook.

In this regard, leading Indian newspapers have also revealed important aspects about the conspiracies being hatched by the Nepalese and Indian ruling classes against the Nepalese people. The Times of India wrote in its editorial on April 25, "Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and External Affairs Minister Natwar Singh’s meetings with King Gyanendra on the sidelines of the Afro-Asian summit in Jakarta sent out signals that New Delhi is willing to engage the monarch in efforts to restore democracy to the kingdom." The so-called democracy the Indian regime is talking about restoring in Nepal is the reactionary parliamentary system under the constitutional monarchy against which the Nepalese people have struggled for decades, especially since the start of the people’s war in 1996. The Times of India further emphasized, "India has a vital stake in working with the king to bring about a return to democracy."

"In a conciliatory gesture, perhaps agreed behind the scenes before the Jakarta meeting, key Nepali political leaders have been released from detention," The Times went on. Note that the words "a conciliatory gesture agreed behind the scenes" were written before the king’s announced end to the state of emergency, which seems to be exactly one of those gestures.

India’s political roadmap seems to involve the formation of a coalition government, assembling the parliamentary parties and dividing the Maoist party so that it can be bent to India’s will as well. "New Delhi must now nudge the king to call for national consultations with all political parties, including those Maoists who are ready to talk," The Times continued. This revealed how the reactionaries of both countries are working to dismantle the revolutionary movement in Nepal. In fact, the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), a well-disciplined party that has been engaged in the political debate about the path of world proletarian revolution in the 21st century, faces no prospect of being dismantled.

"The outcome of such a conversation could be a national government in which the king would have a role, perhaps a formal presiding one," the newspaper said. While the Indian regime is not fully confident that peace and stability can be restored through the process of forging such a coalition government, still it sees the possibility of using the Indian army against the Maoist-led revolution. Getting to the main point, The Times laid out, "[I]t is unlikely that such a formation will be able to maintain peace on its own. It might then become necessary for an impartial but effective external force to help bolster Nepal’s attempts at restoring stability."

In this scheme, the Indian forces would work with the full cooperation of the U.S., UK and China. The newspaper expresses the aims of the Indian ruling classes as the following: "Towards such an end, New Delhi must work closely with the U.S., UK and China, all of whom are keen to see Nepal become normal once again. If necessary as an eventuality, an international force could be set up under the aegis of the blue helmets. This would mean that the Nepal issue will have to be raised in the UN for a Security Council resolution. If it went through, and an international stabilizing force were to be created, the bulk of the peacekeepers could be from South Asian nations, many of whom have experience of international peacekeeping operations. After breaking the ice in Jakarta, New Delhi should now think out of the box." In short, what is being proposed is a major intervention in Nepal by the Indian army flying the United Nations flag.

In the meantime, the Russian envoy to Nepal, Valery V. Nazarov, said it was "high time the international community supported Nepal in her efforts to fight terrorism," as reported by Since the feudal despot’s coup, Russia’s position has been that this is an internal matter, a position seconded by China and Cuba. "Referring to Nepal’s support to Great Britain during the Second World War to fight the ’deadliest common enemy of fascism,’ the Russian envoy urged the ’elite nations’ to reciprocate and support Nepal in her current efforts to curb terrorism," the Nepali news service wrote April 27. "On rights violations in Nepal, he compared the incidents at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, Chechnya and Guantánamo and said, ’Though the historical and political context may be different, rights violations are similar. It is not the government’s policy to violate human rights, it happens when there are criminal elements in the law enforcing agencies.’ " This is a blank check not only for whatever atrocities the king carries out, but whatever the U.S. does as well—as long as it doesn’t criticize similar Russian atrocities.

These developments indicate that the imperialists and India are preparing for direct military intervention in Nepal.