Synopsis: India is unwilling to interfere in the political turmoil of Kathmandu and Beijing on the other hand is making efforts to preserve the unity of ruling party in Nepal. Stances of both the countries are very different from their traditional foreign policies.
Interventions in the happenings of neighbouring countries have been a permanent feature of Indian and Chinese foreign policy.
- China’s intervention in Nepal is a part of its interventionist strategy across Asia and beyond.
- Big nations like China and India always interfere in other nations but ward off possible threats to their own sovereignty. For example, India countered intensely the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s comments on the farmers’ distress.
On what factors does India’s national sovereignty depend upon?
The national sovereignty has always depended on the ability of the nation to secure it by its widespread national power. Big nations tend to intervene more, and the smaller ones find ways to manage this through the politics of balancing against their large neighbours.
- First, India has to carefully manage the unavoidable and active interaction between the domestic political processes of India and its neighbours.
- Active and direct intervention in the domestic politics of neighbours must be a sensible exemption rather than the rule in India’s regional diplomacy.
- Second, the bitter past of partition leave the domestic political connotations of Bangladesh, India and Pakistan knotted together and complicate their relations as distinct sovereign bodies.
- Third, the concept of national sovereignty and effectiveness of third-party intervention is limited by circumstance. Outside mediations in the domestic politics of neighbours are rarely successful and yield unplanned penalties.
What are the steps to be taken?
It is extremely hard for even the most powerful nations to make the smallest states agree to do what is right on issues such as democratic governance, minority rights and federalism.
- India can only encourage and not force Colombo and Kathmandu to respect the rights of Tamils and Madhesis but given the complex web of linkages across South Asian borders, Delhi can’t avoid dealing with these challenging issues either.
- India should try to be a dependable partner and reliable friend and should be committed to strengthening bilateral ties “on the basis of mutual trust, mutual interest, mutual respect and mutual sensitivity” as promised by the minister of external affairs to the political leaders in Sri Lanka.
- Delhi’s constant quest of this agenda could help India in managing the multifarious dynamic with its neighbours a little better.