India Uncut

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Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Power without responsibility: Part II

The Telegraph reports:
After giving a clear indication about resuming arms supplies to Nepal, the Manmohan Singh government today took a step back after some strong condemnation from its key ally, the CPM.

It said arms supply would not be revived unless King Gyanendra took serious steps to restore democracy. Supplies were cut off after the king declared emergency, assuming charge himself.

I think Singh's government had made the right decision, and I agree with the government's assessment that "despite differences with the king, the threat posed by the Maoists in Nepal was a much more serious concern for Delhi." If I may take the immodest liberty of quoting from an earlier post of mine:
Gyanendra's suspension of democracy is an unwarranted and extreme move, but I would nevertheless contend that a threat to humanity, as Maoists have always been, is a greater danger than a threat to democracy. The right to vote can be restored; lives lost cannot.

Once the Maoists have been defeated, democracy will be easy to restore, with economic sanctions and so on. But if the Maoists triumph in Nepal, a Cambodia-like genocide is possible, especially given the Maoists' self-professed admiration for the Khmer Rouge. And the repurcussions for India could also be dangerous, with "a Naxal corridor from Nepal to Nellore", as the Indian Express put it, becoming a dangerous possibility.

Giving military aid to King Gyanendra, in this context, must be viewed not as the validation of a monarch who has suspended democracy, but as a neccessary step for the security of the region, one that might just save millions of lives. The CPM probably sympathises with their leftist brethren in Nepal, but this is one indulgence they must not be allowed.
amit varma, 1:01 PM| write to me | permalink | homepage

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