'India created a Frankenstein’s monster in Nepal'
By brokering a peace deal between Maoists in Nepal and other political parties that helped end the decade long civil war, India might have created a Frankenstein’s monster, the US felt. Utpal Parashar reports.world Updated: Mar 15, 2011 17:08 IST
By brokering a peace deal between Maoists in Nepal and other political parties that helped end the decade long civil war, India might have created a Frankenstein’s monster, the US felt.
Secret US diplomatic cables released by whistleblower website Wikileaks on Tuesday suggest that though India played a vital role in bringing the Maoists to mainstream politics, it didn’t anticipate events that followed.
"New Delhi seems oblivious to how close the Maoists are getting to victory here,” said a cable titled Crunch Time in Nepal by US Ambassador to Nepal James F Moriarty sent on September 22, 2006.
“That makes sense: New Delhi godfathered the working relationship between the Maoists and the Parties and doesn’t want to acknowledge that it might have created a Frankenstein’s monster,” it added.
The US diplomat felt that a Maoist victory in the general elections that followed the peace deal “would energize leftist insurgencies and threaten stability in the region”.
“It thus behooves us to continue to do everything possible to block such an outcome,” it further stated.
But to everyone's surprise, Maoists became the largest party after the elections and Maoist chief Pushpa Kamal Dahal headed a coalition government for nine months till May 2009.
A set of four cables between 2003 and 2007 also indicated India’s shifting stance towards Maoists and how some Indian diplomats were working at cross-purposes to official government policy.
US Ambassador to Nepal Michael E Malinowski made such a remark in an earlier cable sent in December 2003 following a meeting with Shyam Saran, the then Indian Ambassador to the Himalayan country.
Saran had told Malinowski that though (former) defence minister George Fernandes felt that the fight against (Nepal) Maoists is also country's fight, some quarters within Indian government felt otherwise.
"Certain quarters within the GOI had argued that India should maintain contact with the Maoists in order to influence them and to keep open communication channels in the event of a worst case scenario in which the Maoists ultimately gain power," the cable said.
It added that though Saran was "professional" and "cooperative", he might not be aware of all of Research and Analysis Wing’s activities in Nepal.
"His acknowledgement that some in the GOI 'go off on their own' and that some advocate maintaining contact and influence with the Maoists is the first admission to us that some elements within his embassy may be working at cross purposes to official GOI policy," it said.
Another cable released in June 2007 mentions of a discussion in New Delhi between (former) external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee and Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist Leninist) general secretary Madhav Nepal.
During the meeting Mukherjee told Nepal that the Nepal government "should not-under any circumstance-integrate Maoist combatants into the Nepal Army".
Integration of Maoist combatants into the Nepal Army is part of the peace deal, but differences among parties over the issue has delayed conclusion of the peace process in Nepal.