Skewed View Of Indian Media
Dr. Narad Bharadwaj
The Indian media has a penchant for sensation and falsification with regard to Nepal’s political development. At present it is creating panic about the left electoral alliance by saying that it is likely to change this country into a theatre of geopolitical rivalry among regional powers. This exposes how the Indian intelligentsia is conditioned to look at smaller countries of South Asia only through the lens of geopolitical dynamics.
There can be no denying that internal politics of any country is affected by international course of events. But it will be wrong to attach geopolitical underpinnings to all the internal policies and strategies of individual countries. At present, the Indian media has been ascribing all sorts of absurd motive behind the formation of left alliance in Nepal and its possible consequences. They are explaining it as an attempt of the left forces to pull Nepal away from Indian sphere of influence in order to throw it into China’s embrace.
As a small and vulnerable country located at a sensitive geo-strategic area, Nepal has a great challenge in navigating its political transition. Its quest for self-reliance and independence is viewed with distrust by the southern neighbour, leaving it vulnerable to her uncalled-for interference. It will not be off the mark if we say that Nepal-India relation has stood on a shaky foundation because of the wrong attitude of media and the skewed view of her right-wing intelligentsia. The majority of Indian intellectuals consider the smaller countries of South Asia as the satellites of India. They are not capable of analysing political course of events from the perspectives of smaller countries which are struggling to preserve their independence and to break free from the cycle of poverty.
According to the Indian media, the left electoral front, which has been formed between the CPN- UML and the CPN- Maoist Centre, was stage-managed by China with an intention to infiltrate deeper into the south of the Himalayas. The Indian media is not reconciled with the idea of accepting Nepal as an independent and a sovereign country.
The Indian media fraternity has consistently refused to admit the epochal significance of the ongoing election in Nepal. It is falsifying the fact that the ongoing election in Nepal not only marks the end of a prolonged transition its history, it also constitutes a major milestone in accomplishing the implementation of the constitution and achieving political stability. The Indian media says that China and India are competing for a dominant role in Nepal through their allies among Nepal’s political forces. Some of them have even gone to the extent of blaming China of financing the left front to help them score majority in the federal and the provincial elections scheduled for 7 December.
The uncanny accusations of Indian media to China are trite and amusing. Historical records show that China has always respected the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of all the countries of the world. China always wishes to see it neighbours stable and prosperous. Its desire to link South Asia through road transport, communication and railway networks is motivated by its desire to help its neighbours to expand trade and share prosperity. China has come out with a mega project known in the world as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). All the countries of South Asia except India and Bhutan have endorsed this project.
Nepal has supported China’s BRI in consistence with its policy of diversifying the international trade destinations and transit accesses to sea ports in the wake of its bitter experience of the crisis which it faced in the wake of the Indian blockade of 2015. As a land-locked country with a very sensitive geo-political location, Nepal always wishes to cultivate good neighbourly relations with both of its immediate neighbours. Nepal has no interests other than taking advantage of the economic prosperity of both the countries which have emerged as economic super powers of Asia. Nepal has respected the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of all the friendly neighbours and has repeatedly expressed its commitment not to allow its territory to be used against its neighbours.
The Indian media is unnecessarily projecting the possible left victory in Nepal’s election as an ominous event. The left alliance appears tipped to win but it will be naive to believe that the victory of the left forces is tantamount to opening a flood gate for China to rush in. It will rather contribute to Nepal’s quest for collaboration with both the neighbouring countries. To depict the formation of electoral left alliance in Nepal as a game plan of China to wean Nepal away from India is nothing but a shallow analysis of the situation.
In sharp contrast with the Indian media, the Chinese media has refrained from attaching a geo-political tag to the ongoing election of Nepal. They have viewed it as an opportunity for Nepal to have a stable government so that long term development cooperation might be possible between the two countries. A few Indian media have also commented that if the left comes to power, they will have a tough time in balancing the interest of the two countries. But it is a fact that Nepal has a clear policy framework with regard to its relation with China and India. It can in no way think of reaping benefiting from one country by antagonizing anther. Nepal’s sensitive geopolitical location necessitates it to maintain a balance it its relation between the two neighbours.
Nepal’s only concern in its relation with her two closest neighbours is to make both of them realise that this it wants to leave as an independent and sovereign country and brooks no interference what so ever in her internal affairs. Similarly, Nepal also wants to take advantage from the growing economic strength and prosperity of both the countries by acting as a bridge between them. Nepal’s decision to be a signatory to China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is in no way an indication of its desire to cease to be India’s protectorate and move into China’s sphere of influence.
It appears that Indian media can think of only in terms of smaller countries existing under subjugation of big powers. This is a colonial mentality which does not reflect the modern principles of statehood. We are living in the 21st century where small and weak countries are free and independent to pursue the policies that are best suited to their interests. The ongoing election of Nepal constitutes the final phase of transition towards federal democratic republic, which has been a cherished dream of Nepali people spanning for seven decades. The Indian media is expected to correct its distorted view to understand this.