Oli’s China Visit And Critical Voices

Prem Khatry

 

A humble confession in the beginning is that political comment of any kind and dimension is not the scribe’s cup of tea. But when there are some urgent issues related to the systematised and planned development of the nation, the pen must move on. And so be it. A flashback memory comes in mind. A friend and a NC cadre once was furious because he found some of this writer’s sentences here not palatable to his party chief and (then) Nepal’s PM. “How could you throw satirical remarks to our dear and respected PM?” he quipped and made this writer shut the pen’s mouth on anything related to his party and his respected chief. Conclusion reached then: It is not only the veg and fruit market, even political market is full of dangerous ‘brokers’ (bichauliya).
The writer doesn’t have to write anything critical or appreciative about his party’s recent convention held in Hetauda. NC is now a qualified and strong opposition playing its constitutionally given and entrusted role. It is nowhere close to any chances of grabbing the state power in the near future, though. In a democratic structure, opposition is considered a must. It is a must because without critical voices, there is always the danger that the ruling party may turn into a chainless and indiscreet lot. The opposition then comes to the forefront to chastise, bring the government to task and in extreme cases, go to the public and force the government to kneel down.

Determined PM
The other day, PM Oli descended the highly controversial aircraft’s stairs waving at the crowd gathered not very far from him. He obviously seemed jubilant bearing smile and pleasant gesture. This week the papers will be full of stories about his historical visit to China. There will be questions, doubts and apprehension around the weeklong trip. Oli’s diplomatic baggage was full of 14-point agreements between Nepal and China. PM Oli made it clear that he would spare no effort to make things mentioned in all the agreements happen in due course of time. China, according to him and other critics, has taken the Nepali spirit of ‘Prosperity’ (sambriddhi) in perspective with President Xi Jinping showing green flag to Nepali aspiration.
Back home, Nepalis people had strong ground to believe that Nepal had accomplished what was in the agenda of the visit. In the press meet, organised at the airport, the PM made it clear that the agreement reached during the visit had made the dimension of mutual cooperation wider than before and added “We have to commit ourselves for our development. The focus must be on the successful implementation of the agreements reached during the visit. Very rightly said. In his round of briefing, the PM appeared clear, courageous and committed on this count. At the same time, it is not just the opposition throwing sarcastic remarks on almost everything that was happening from day one of the PM’s visit but the Nepali people as a whole will be on guard about the successful implementation of the agenda. If the opposition does its ‘dharma’ or responsibility as the opposition, the people will do so with the hope of seeing and experiencing visible and measurable changes in the life of the people. In fact, all the 14-point reached through mutual understanding will transform Nepal’s economy to a viable status unreached thus far.
Major highlights of the agreements are related to faster ways to mobilise goods and services through the border outlets on the north. This is the main reason why Indian media depicted a gloomy picture trying to show Nepal tilting unnecessarily towards the north creating unpleasant situation in Delhi. Their headache is wrongly placed but who can convince them? The PM faced criticism for not bringing the issues of energy alternative from China. They even say he left it out to give continuity to the existing system – a predominantly southern phenomenon. PM Oli dubbed his stance as ‘balanced approach’ to our relation with the neighbours.
Whatever the 14 agenda tell us, implementation is the main challenge. The doubt and hitch lie on the nature of our bureaucracy, the federal system is in the making and effective evaluation and monitoring system are not in place. Take the syndicate of transport system. The syndicate dons are smiling and saying they are buying time from the government, meaning they wait to see it fail. The construction contractors have been making all out efforts to fail the system. They are asking the Home Minister to withdraw his strong words and remain within his own territory not bothering on other issues except Home. Home is where he must reside, that is. This is an open challenge posed by few politically and bureaucratically backed individuals, people say. It is now time the Home Minister ignores their challenge and brings wrongdoers to task.
These are nominal issues yet seem to pose threat in the government’s bid to take development to the common people. At a time when PM’s China visit is likely to show some results, all concerned sectors within and without the government must walk with the tune the PM is playing with the time. Opposition for the sake of opposition will not bear any fruit. The nation must not suffer development stagnation any more. Fixing problem with appropriate tool is the need of the hour. The government led by the PM must procure and use the right tools. There is no other way in sight.

Viable project
Finally, in the words of the noted foreign and financial policy expert Dr. Bhesh Bahadur Thapa, it is the continuity of already existing bilateral relationship which never suffered ‘ups and downs’. China is a fast growing economy. It is now focusing on connectivity as a viable project. The news on the visit, dialogue and discussion in Beijing shows that China is serious about her relationship with Nepal. This visit has created possibilities where the agenda put forward by Mao long time back, such as the railway link, will eventually take place. Nepal can rest assured that the second largest economy of the world will certainly give priority to her relation with Nepal. Dr. Thapa also added - for a long time our problem was internal conflict but there is a strong wish to move forward with new develop agenda including creative dialog with the outer world. One of the urgent and pressing issues to focus is the connectivity including the latest IT facilities.

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