Tuesday, October 27, 2015

India bans only fuel export to Nepal. Why?

The Indian action cannot be a mystery unless you are blinded by absolute obedience to India or you have personal reasons of blood and birth to detest the very thought of Nepal seeking Chinese help and succeeding.

The Indian Oil Corporation is a Government of India Undertaking. There is no repercussion for the Government in dictating political decisions upon IOC.  Also India imports a lot of its own fuel requirement so it is under no economic compulsion to export fuel to Nepal or Bhutan. And of course shortage of fuel can bring a modern nation to grinding halt over a period of time. That's why oil producing countries of Middle East are pampered by all giant nations except by Russia. What would India gain if Nepal does not give in to crippling economic embargo?

India is more liberal in the export of other material including foodstuffs to Nepal. One reason: To protect the business interests of Indian Exporters. Nepal is a captive market for Indian products and its consumption capacity is almost 100 times that of  Bhutan.  Reason Two:  The Indian origin population of Nepal whom India banks for political  support will also suffer. Even fuel is being allowed to be smuggled into South Nepal from India to buy cooperation of this section of Nepalese population during the present embargo. Reason Three: India want to demonstrate her economic leverage but in no way had intended to alienate forever Nepal forces.

India is very important to Nepal for economic and transit reasons. Geographical position makes India vital to Bhutan and Nepal. China can never be an equally convenient geographical access substitute for Bhutan and Nepal. .  But equally important to India is the strategic geographical positions of Nepal and Bhutan.
The Himalayan Mountains that keep away the hostile forces from the northern plains of India are the same barriers that stand hostile to trade and transit for Nepal and Bhutan in the north. Thus in reality good relationship between India and the two tiny Himalayan nations serve equal interests of all three countries. Today, the defence forces of India sleeps easier during nights because Nepal and Bhutan are their dominoes to manoeuvre.

It is a trade off relationship with India that till date has never been demanded in equal proportion by the tiny Himalayan nations. There will come a time when demonic demands of a giant neighbour finally clashes with true awakenings among smaller nations that will compel about equal relationship and respect between India and her neighbours.  What is evolving presently in Nepal may just be the faint beginning towards the necessity and wisdom of friendship with equal dignity among all neighbours regardless of size.

Die hard Indians or writers in the media who enjoy bashing Nepal and China would only high light the greatness of Indian policies. They belittle Nepal and her position. Even in Bhutan some Bhutanese belittle the strategic strength that the Kingdom possess and omnipotence of India is religiously worshipped.  However, other leaders including seasoned leaders in  India will observe with concern the Indian embargo of Nepal and the consequent ripple impacts on South Asia balance of power and influence.

The inpregnible Himalayan mountains will be handsomely breached as Nepal is gradually forced to open its northern borders to rail and highway traffics with China. India will then have to deal with two pro China nations ( Pakistan and Nepal ). And as I had earlier warned the status of India among SAARC nations will diminish unless India make adjustments.

As a through bred Bhutanese, I opt for good relations with both India and China. I know India has to be and will remain our closest neighbour but I do not endorse the antagonism that certain section of Bhutanese polity hold towards China.

I have full sympathy for Nepal and I pray that both Nepal and China succeed at the earliest in surmounting the formidable natural barriers so that the people of Nepal are not starved and immobilised by the Indian blockade in the years ahead. This ongoing blockade will fade away but there will be another the next time so might as  well  start from now towards defeating the very objective of an Indian  economic blockade in the future. Good Luck to Nepalese leadership and the people.


  1. China and Nepal relation will demonstrate a sustainable friendship. Why is India demanding constitution to be in their favor? It is Nepal's sovereign right to write their own constitution. Will India show Nepal or anyother country to be reviewed before India passes it? If not, then why should any other country have India agree to Nepal's constitution?
    Just like they did in Bhutan before the final election, India send their foreign secretary to Nepal before approval of constitution. In Bhutan Indian Secretary demanded who should win the elections. Similarly India sent secretary to Nepal.
    Friendship should be on equal basis.

  2. India can bully small nation like Nepal and Bhutan only but India can't even raise a voice towards other country, forget about other country India can't do any things to Pakistan. Instead Pakistan bully India by Ceasefire.

  3. I see big improvements politically in Nepal and Bhutan. Wasn't so long ago that Nepal had a 10 year civil war. Now there is (at least) a new constitution. Bhutan was a Monarchy, now a Parliamentary Monarchy. Perhaps there are teething problems (especially with neighbors) but not insurmountable problems

  4. Mr. Wangcha Sangey, this is a very good article. I see that Indian Foreign Policy is doing every bit to damage the goodwill that exists between the public of the two countries. The current course will only result in deep resentments and grievances and the risk is very high for either countries - but India has no benefit at all. If there is any ulterior motive behind this, then it is either short-sighted or too sinister - either way not beneficial to both, in light of the need for the both countries to have a harmonious relationship.

    It was very nice to have an opinion from Bhutan. Thank you for your moral support. May all of us prosper.

  5. I praise Nepal and their new leaders for standing against India and her dirty politics. India should respect Nepal as a sovereign country, and the constitution of Nepal should uphold the interests of the Nepal people and not that of India.

    It is indeed extremely sad that similar politics were deployed by India during our 2013 national election. With the Indian government threatening to withdraw the fuel subsidies, the entire nation was in a state of fear and shock. It was not the political parties of Bhutan who won the general election, it's the Indian government who has come to helm. It seem rude but unfortunately it is true.

    The strategic location of Bhutan cannot be ignored at all, China in the north and India in the south; the sovereignty of Bhutan is important to both the giant nations. India interference into Bhutan's internal and external affair would have a backslash on both the nations, but ultimately it would Bhutan and her people who would suffer.

    India should realize that in today's world, relationship with every nation is important... and India should not at all interfere into Bhutan's foreign policy, otherwise it might backfire like that of Nepal.

    Kudos to Nepal and her leaders for standing up to India.

  6. India lacks confidence in its foreign policy. It is insecure. Why else does it have such a myopic approach to its relationship with its neighbours, Nepal and Bhutan. Ask the Chinese, they are not spending their time, effort and resources on India. They are expanding beyond with the Maritime Silk Road, the One Belt One Road, setting up a military base in Djibouti - looking far beyond India. It is time for India to stop worrying about China and bullying her small neighbours in the guise of security.

  7. This perceived threat from my country China is strange. You can only understand threat if you have been to the country or know the language or have thorough research and information- otherwise, this threat is just self made up. Bhutan's enemy is Bhutan and Bhutan's friend is Bhutan- no one else. As a journalist, I had the honor of talking to various government workers and officials. We had a couple of chances to talk about Bhutan and the view they have is always positive- eg happy country, shangri-la, they supported the one china policy, no diplomatic relations. So, we Chinese do not have any negative views when it comes to Bhutan and we hope that Bhutan does not have this 'fear'.