India Offers More Support for Counter-revolution in Nepal

Revolutionary Worker #1145, April 7, 2002, posted at

At the end of March, Nepal's Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba went to India for six days with a 100-member delegation. He met with India's top government and military officials and at the top of the agenda was getting India's help in combating the popular Maoist insurgency that has been going on in Nepal since 1996.

There were good reasons for Deuba to think he could get help in New Delhi. India has long dominated Nepal and has been watching the growing Maoist insurgency in Nepal with much concern. Soon after September 11, the Foreign Minister of India made a point of calling the Maoists in Nepal "terrorists"--a label that had, up to then, not been used by India to describe Maoists in Nepal. Many saw this as a sign that India was laying the basis for getting more directly involved in attacking the People's War.

Then in November, Deuba's government declared a state of emergency and officially put the "terrorist" label on the leadership of the People's War, the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist). The Indian government quickly endorsed the Nepalese government's "search and destroy" campaign by the Royal Nepalese Army against the Maoists and sent 11 trucks full of sophisticated weapons and surveillance equipment to be used against the Maoists. The Indian government also gave Nepal two Cheetah helicopters.

For the last few months, the fighting between the Royal Nepalese Army and Maoist guerrillas has intensified. And contrary to the government's initial bragging that it would quickly quell the Maoist insurgency, the fighting has remained very two-sided--with reports of battles involving thousands of Maoist guerrillas, armed with some of the new sophisticated weapons from India that have been captured in battle.

The CPN (Maoist) has always warned of the danger of Indian intervention, and Deuba's trip to New Delhi--the first by a Nepali premier in nearly two years--is indicative of how much the reactionary Nepalese government relies on India, economically, politically, AND militarily.

Deuba met Indian Home Minister L.K. Advani, External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh, Defense Minister George Fernandes, as well as India's Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee. Indian officials came out of these meetings announcing a public pledge to help Nepal with intelligence information, equipment and training to help crush the Maoist insurgency.

An Indian official, who did not want to be identified, told the press, "We offered to cooperate by way of exchange of information, cooperation between intelligence agencies, improved surveillance along the border and offers of equipment and training." The official did not say what kind of equipment it would provide to Nepal. But it is widely known that the Royal Nepalese Army wants more and better weapons to fight the Maoists. A junior foreign minister from Nepal told the press that Nepal faced a shortage of "means and resources" in battling the guerrillas and needed international support.

India and Nepal also agreed that each other's territory should not be used for "terrorist activities," and agreed to strengthen a 1953 extradition treaty. The Indian ambassador to Nepal said, "The border authorities of the two countries are already having very close cooperation to see that Maoists don't get any support from India and cross over to the Indian territory." In his meeting with Deuba, India's home minister suggested that the two countries have a mutual legal assistance treaty and work closely on intelligence sharing to help both countries control their borders effectively.

Last fall India had already begun putting more soldiers on the porous India-Nepalese border- -a move aimed at detaining "suspected Maoists." India has also been cracking down on Nepalese Maoists living in India--in the West Bengal area the government has carried out raids and arrested a number of Nepalese Maoist leaders.

A particularly sinister aspect of the new cooperation between Nepal and India is the accusation by India that Nepal is harboring members of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence--who are known to have close ties with the Taliban forces in Afghanistan. There have also been completely fabricated tales spun out in the media about the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) getting arms from the ISI. Such lies could be used to lay the basis for new pretexts to attack the People's War.


India has a long history of dominating Nepal, both economically and politically. The ruling classes in Nepal have long been subservient to India. And there is widespread resentment among the masses of people in Nepal over Indian domination. This makes Deuba's request for arms from India a risky move. As the Maoists in Nepal have pointed out, many of the new and sophisticated arms India sends to the Royal Nepalese Army will end up in the hands of Maoist guerrillas. And increasing intervention by the Indian government could become very unpopular in Nepal, resulting in even more trouble for the government and an alignment of forces even more favorable to the People's War.

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