India Hounds Nepal Maoists

Revolutionary Worker #1164, August 25, 2002, posted at

There is a long history of Indian domination in Nepal and now, as the People's War in Nepal intensifies, India is increasingly coming to the aid of the reactionary Nepalese government.

The Maoist insurgency, led by the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) is aimed at overthrowing the oppressive Nepalese government and monarchy and has gained widespread support since it began in 1996.

Soon after September 11, the Foreign Minister of India started calling Maoists in Nepal "terrorists." Then in November, Nepal's government followed India's lead --officially putting the "terrorist" label on the CPN (Maoist) and unleashing the Royal Nepalese Army to wage a brutal "search and destroy" campaign against the People's War. Hundreds of people have been killed, arrested and tortured. And under a "state of emergency" all kinds of constitutional rights have been suspended.

The Indian government quickly sent 11 trucks full of sophisticated weapons and surveillance equipment to the Nepalese government, as well as two Cheetah helicopters.

Arms for a Reactionary Regime

The rulers in Nepal hoped to quickly wipe out the Maoist guerrillas. But government soldiers have found themselves up against a People's Liberation Army that is able to mobilize thousands of trained guerrillas and people's militias to launch successful military raids against the Royal Nepalese Army.

At the end of March, Nepal's Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba went to India for six days with a 100-member delegation. He asked India's top government and military officials for more help to defeat the Maoists.

India responded by delivering 20 trucks full of weapons to Nepal--including new "off-the- assembly-line" armored "light troop carrying" vehicles designed for counter-insurgency missions, with state-of-the-art communications equipment. The India Army has also been training Nepali soldiers in jungle and guerrilla warfare at India's Counter Insurgency and Jungle Warfare School (CIJWS), regarded as one of the best jungle warfare establishments in the world (even U.S. military personnel have trained here.)

According to an Indian official, India initially had plans to train an entire battalion of roughly 1,000 RNA troops at CIJWS. But so many RNA soldiers were being deployed in counter-insurgency operations that Nepal ended up only sending a core group of officers.

In May, India's army chief General S. Padmanabhan went to Nepal to tour some of the Maoist-hit districts. He promised RNA generals even more military hardware and told them, "We can provide training assistance whenever required and anything the RNA requires. India will stand true with Nepal in every possible way. If there is a requirement of military assistance, we will be very glad to share what we have with Nepal."

India's growing involvement in helping to fight the People's War underscores just how much Nepal relies on and is subservient to India--economically, politically and militarily. And the military relationship between Nepal and India is very much stamped with Indian domination. There are more Nepali Gurkhas in the Indian Army today (around 60,000) than in the RNA itself. And since the 1970s, the chiefs of the two armies are made honorary generals of each other's army--ensuring that India's army of over a million soldiers will dictate over Nepal's army of only 40,000 men.

Until a few years ago, all RNA officer cadres used to be trained in India. Only recently Nepal's army set up its own military academy. But Nepal officers and other ranks still undergo training in various defense institutes of India. And in fact, Nepal army personnel constitute the largest number of foreign soldiers training in India.

During the last year, India has given around $35 million to Nepal in military support and equipment for the Royal Nepal Army and the Armed Police Force.

Rounding Up Nepalese Maoists in India

India understands that the People's War in Nepal threatens the stability of the whole region, and the Indian ruling class is very concerned about the Maoist insurgency in Nepal "spilling over" the border. India also faces insurgencies being waged by Maoists. And there are fraternal relations between the CPN (Maoist) and Maoist parties in India.

Increasingly concerned about what effect a successful Maoist revolution would have for the whole region, the Indian government has been stepping up its efforts to hunt down, arrest and extradite Nepalese Maoists in India.

In April, police in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh (UP) handed over to the Nepalese government eight injured Nepalese Maoists who were undergoing treatment in private clinics in the capital city of Lucknow. UP police searched the houses of about 150 Nepalis suspected of providing shelter to Maoists fleeing intense army operations against them. In recent months UP police have continued to crack down on hospitals and nursing homes treating Maoists from Nepal and have arrested a number of rebels.

In May, Nepali police gave India the photographs of 38 Maoist leaders and an Indian official said, "We will publish the photographs in the newspapers, show them in the cinema halls and each police station in the area will be informed."

Political and military forces in the U.S. may be encouraging this hounding of Nepalese Maoists in India. In June, a U.S.-based foreign policy think tank met in New York City to discuss the Maoist insurgency in Nepal, and New Delhi's role in combating the insurgency reportedly came under a close scrutiny from various academics and a senior U.S. diplomat.

One of those attending the meeting was Peter Burleigh, who from 1980 to 1982 was the second man in the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu and also served as the Deputy Permanent Representative of the U.S. to the United Nations in 1997-99 under Richard Holbrook. He said, "India's role is an important factor, and it's important to find out what it is and it is not doing." Burleigh provocatively said that in a recent visit to Nepal, he had met a person who claimed he had met the Maoist leader Baburam Bhattarai in New Delhi. Burleigh "reasoned" that if this man could find a top leader of the CPN (Maoist) then "Indian government could do more if it wants to limit (the rebellion)."

Using the recently passed Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance (POTO), Indian officials have moved to ban various political groups, including the India-Nepal Solidarity Forum--which has been working in India to build support for the People's War in Nepal. And in July, police raided a meeting organized by the Solidarity Forum, arrested four Nepalese revolutionaries and turned them over to authorities in Nepal.

In West Bengal (WB)--which includes Darjeeling and Siliguri where many Nepalese live--the government is waging a concerted campaign to go after Maoists from Nepal. And according to news reports, the WB government arrested Abhijit Mazumdar, son of the late Naxalite leader Charu Mazumdar, on suspicion that he was the key contact point of Nepalese Maoist leaders.

Meanwhile, the Indian army is cracking down on the border between India and Nepal.

A special police force has been created jointly in nine northern states--Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharastra, Orissa--in order to control the border and go after Nepalese Maoists who may be trying to enter India. The police in these states will share intelligence and other information and there are plans to set up 100 more army posts along the border.

On the basis of a "One Border One Force Policy" India's Secret Service Bureau (SSB) will try to guard the entire 1,000-mile border. The SSB--India's third strongest armed force of 30,000 men --will be permanently stationed three miles from the Nepal-India porous border with the strength of up to 40 army men in each post.


There are over seven million Nepalese living and working in India and, for many years, Nepalese Maoists have been working in India to organize support for the People's War in Nepal--and resistance against counter-revolutionary moves by India.

As the reactionary Nepalese regime desperately tries to crush the People's War, they are relying even more on their masters in New Delhi. But among the Nepalese people--living in Nepal as well as India--there is much hatred for Indian domination and expansionism. And this anger will only deepen as India becomes more involved in attacking the People's War in Nepal.

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