Call it a case of once bitten twice shy or diplomatic pragmatism, but India has decided to stay away from the Nepal political deadlock—for now.
Nepal has been without an effective government for five months and sixteen rounds of voting in parliament to elect a new prime minister have failed.
The impasse that is a result of differences among the country’s three major parties has also put a spanner on the four year old peace process and drafting of a new constitution.
Though India played a key role in ending the Maoist insurgency four years ago with signing of the peace agreement, subsequent developments has made it more circumspect this time around.
According to Ministry of External Affairs sources, India is not keen on getting involved in the present crisis and wants political players in Nepal resolve the issue themselves.
“We can’t thrust ourselves as a facilitator. India played a role in the peace deal because parties in Nepal wanted it and there was consensus on what our role should be,” said a senior official on condition of anonymity.
Denying allegations of India’s interference, he said mistrust among Nepali Congress, Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist Leninist) and Maoists is the main reason for the present scenario.
Based on feedback from Kathmandu, New Delhi feels constitution drafting won’t get completed by the May 28, 2011 deadline unless the main issue of integration of Maoist combatants is addressed.
At a time when they are trying to reach out to New Delhi to mend fences, India is unsure of trusting Maoist chief Pushpa Kamal Dahal who keeps changing his views on the southern neighbour.
“Trust is based on concrete action on ground. Maoists talk of wanting best of relations with us but go on attacking our entities and establishments,” he said.
India feels that despite Maoists trying to spread anti-India sentiments, it has had no effect in people to people relations between both nations.
“Whenever there’s internal polarization in Nepal as at present, India gets drawn into the blame game. There seems to be cycle to it as it has happened in the past,” he said.