Hong Kong and Kashmir are non-issues for NepalIt would serve Nepal better to understand other far more intelligible indicators of global power status for our neighbours and what that means for us.
It would be ungenerous to say that Amish Raj Mulmi's column (‘A new balance of power in Nepal's neighbourhood’, August 22) missed the forest for the trees, it was merely cross-eyed about it. The column’s general rationale is sound: Nepal's neighbourhood is ‘erupting into an unknown geopolitical scenario’; a new balance of power is being realised; Kathmandu needs to closely watch these changes. But then it leaves some questions unanswered. For a start, why do Hong Kong and Kashmir matter for Nepal? Or why are these two events—mostly internal to our neighbours—indicators for the way forward versus, say, air-strikes in Balakot or the face-off in Doklam which have a more direct impact on Nepal's sovereignty.
It would serve Nepal better to understand other far more intelligible indicators of global power status for our neighbours and what that means for us. India is on the cusp of becoming a $5 trillion economy, there is an ongoing decoupling of the US-China economic relations, Europe is unsure of itself, America's Pacific policy is now its Indo-Pacific policy. And most importantly, India is shifting away from being a global balancing power to a leading one. Nepal's attention should be on these.
It was also surprising that the column attributed India's move to change the status-quo in Kashmir as a gauge of its shift from soft-power to hard-power. India's continued absence from the Soft Power Index 30 notwithstanding, what lenses are being used to view India ‘as a soft-power’? For those of us in the region, India has always been a country that is stringent about its interests. The use of armed forces in Sri Lanka in late-1980s, the cross-border operation against insurgents in Myanmar in 2015 and Pakistan in 2016 and 2019, and the British Raj-like imposition on how sovereign nations must conduct its foreign and defence policy make clear that as far as the neighbourhood is concerned, India has never been shy about using its hard-power.
Raising concerns about the humanitarian toll in Kashmir and Hong-Kong is important, but from a purely geopolitical stand-point, for Nepal, Kashmir and Hong-Kong are non-issues.
Slok Gyawali, Portland.
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