Wednesday 07 Jun 2023

Politics of loss

| OCTOBER 30, 2015, 12:00 AM IST

New Delhi's tactics to force Nepal to change its Constitution seems to have backfired. India was the sole supplier of fuel to the land-locked country, until Wednesday when the Nepal Oil Corporation inked a deal with China National United Fuel Corporation for supply of fuel. New Delhi claimed that truckers were reluctant to drive through areas where the Madhesi community was protesting against the new Constitution. The community has close cultural links with the neighbouring areas in India and forms 30 per cent of the population in Nepal. It is alleged that the new Constitution, adopted after nine years of negotiations, has divided the Madhesi community which is now protesting against it with tacit support from New Delhi. The larger danger for India now is that by supplying fuel to Nepal, Beijing has put its foot in the door and will gradually enlarge its influence. For Kathmandu, having two supply routes will not only ensure a steady supply of fuel but also reduce the dependence on one country. New Delhi is probably hoping the arrangement with the Chinese is temporary in nature and Nepal will return to the old ways. If this scenario does not play out, New Delhi will have to face loss of influence as well as business and see its regional competitor gain at its cost.

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