July 15, 2005Foreign AffairsSecurity

Nepal under UN administration?

And India agreed?

This is an archived blog post from The Acorn.

News Insight reports that India’s Nepal policy is back on its rails — India has just endorsed a plan to hand the keys over to, well, the United Nations!

The broad contours of the plan are this. King Gyanendra will give over such executive powers that he usurped from the elected government which he dismissed on 1 February this year to the United Nations. The UN gets to administer Nepal for one year in which it will implement twenty mega development projects in remote locations of the kingdom, revive police institutions to restore public confidence in them, and hold free and fair internationally monitored elections.

Side by side, the Royal Nepalese Army (RNA) and the Maoists will agree to a ceasefire, and since the Maoists are losing the military battle, the UN plan gives them a face-saver to come to the negotiating table and get something instead of nothing. [News Insight]It is positively wierd for India to allow the UN bureaucracy to unfold its tent in Nepal. If the situation in Nepal has reached an impasse and intervention is deemed necessary, this is a job that India needs to do on its own, or at best at the head of a coalition of the willing.

One reason why the UN umbrella may be seen as necessary is as a fig leaf to cover an India-led intervention that would raise hackles in China. But the UN umbrella will concede greater diplomatic and political leverage to China while it will be Indian troops that are in the line of fire. Various international actors, with various motives and commitments will find their way to Kathmandu. There is little reason for India to submit itself to the rabble of international actors on a question that has much to do with its own national security.

There is a far simpler, and less masochistic way for India to intervene in Nepal. It can ask for UN endorsement. If this is not forthcoming, India should be prepared to go in alone.

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