Being a small nation does not mean that it should act at beck and call of powerful nations. When the political leadership asserts the country’s sovereignty, it can easily stand up to condescending attitude of any power- be it neighbours or any other superpowers. As an ancient state, Nepal has a unique history of independence and right to self-determination. Sandwiched between the two giant neighbours, Nepal has been able to preserve its sovereignty and dignity throughout the ages. There were both conflict and cooperation with the neighbours in the past. Nepal bravely fought war with British East India Company and succeeded to stop the British Empire from advancing into the Himalayan nation. Likewise, it was forced to wage a couple wars against Tibet and Imperial China. Our ancestors had shown indomitable spirit to protect the territorial integrity of the nation. We have inherited a glorious nation and we can discharge our duty by simply taking stance on protecting it based on the sovereign principles of a state. This is what our Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has been repeatedly saying in the public forums. PM Oli has underscored that if Nepal stands on its dignity, no power will dare to undermine us. It is necessary to overcome inferiority complex and deal with the neighbours on equal footing.
He called upon the people to view the recent visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi with a broader lens, and not to indulge in unnecessary dispute. Nepal-India relations reached the lowest ebb in 2015 when the southern neighbour imposed unofficial blockade on Nepal by showing reservation about the contents of Nepal’s constitution. India later realised the foreign policy blunder and took a flurry of activities to mend fences with Nepal. India’s proactive diplomacy was reciprocated by the government of left alliance under the stewardship of Oli. The visits of the prime ministers of the two nations need to be analysed against this backdrop. It is not wise to get entangled into the legacy of bitter past. It is imperative to move on as per the need of time and aspirations of the people. Speaking at a function in the capital the other day, PM Oli said that the government had not committed anything that hurts the country and dignity of people. He said he had brought India to a place where it is impelled to respect the sovereignty and dignity of the country. He put the matter succinctly: “It is not our task to protest India all the time; our objective should be to ensure the interest of the country.”
It looks bizarre to point the finger at the integrity of PM Oli, who had proved his mettle as the nationalist leader when he vehemently protested the Indian blockade and led the people to come out through the crisis. Some political parties are now questioning the visit of Indian PM Modi. But this appears to be a protest for the sake of protest. It is extremely preposterous to dismiss the visit for fulfilling the petty political interests. Now the political parties must refrain themselves from involving in political stunt and engage in evolving a uniform foreign policy to the mutual benefit of the neighbours. The politics for the public consumption will only lead to the blowback in the long-run.