Political and security situation is volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous.
Nepal is constitutionally obliged and bound to the new order with nationalism, secularism, republicanism, and federalism. It can be perceived that the Nepal Communist Party’s (NCP) government is beyond doubt yearning to challenges and arguments along the avenue. The leadership unquestionably desires strong-minded, resolute and modest administering and supervising of national issues that bear long term political and security consequences.
Political and security situation is volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous. Within weeks, three notions occurred: Firstly, the government banned Biplav’s NCP party that owned bombing at 11 sites, which caused one death and two wounded in the capital plus their activities. Secondly, it pledged for the deployment of the Nepali Army on Prime Minister’s orders, and thirdly, signed an 11-point agreement with CK Raut on 8th March. CK Raut, although trivial in strength, was advancing with a “free Madhesh” movement, which bears national, regional and international corollary.
CK and Madhesh politics
The government and CK endorsed accord illustrated the way to longtime secessionist campaigner CK to guide his believers and faction who were willing for armed struggle to choose a peaceful democratic path. The leadership may have given up “Free Madhesh” but nonetheless seems to be carrying the political goal and impetus by way of varied democratic mechanism.
The long-awaited political concern to bring CK to peaceful politics is encouraging, yet a test for his supporters’ behavior till the next election is imperative when political possibility in the Madhesh is shifting. This is an appreciated political gesture but has many sides to it, which requires political, diplomatic and security scope. However, one cannot deny the probability of the party taking separate ways.
Many nations across the world have been opting for a national referendum as politicians and governments lack the confidence to push through major change and are putting more and more major decisions to a popular vote. Of many referendums, 2016 saw four that opted against the expected result, democracy and values of the 21st century. The Colombians rejection of the peace deal, Britain’s exit from the EU, Thai’s endorsement of the Constitution brought by the military-backed government, and Hungarians backing the government’s plan to restrict refugees.
Of the five states of the UK, a referendum on Scottish independence was held in 2014, when 55 percent voted against the proposal.
On 1st of Oct 2017, a semi-autonomous Catalan parliament in the north-east of Spain answered ‘yes’ to “Do you want Catalonia to become an independent state in the form of a Republic?” The push for independence let go Spain into its major political crisis for 40 years. The Madrid imposed direct rule by invoking Article 155 of the Spanish constitution.
The Catalan leaders were sacked, parliament dissolved and the nationalist winner of the December snap election caused former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont and four others to flee, while two are in prison. Even prior to the voting, the constitutional court of Spain suspended the move and affirmed illegal and violated the Spanish constitution on 7th Sept 2017. Though Catalonia does not have the strength for unilateral independence, it has the colossal aptitude to threaten the whole of Spain.
Though the outcomes were dealt with a national referendum — a valid democratic practice — all these events accomplished one thing: referendums are messy and dangerous.
Prime Minister K P Oli has been stressing and is obstinate that there can be no referendum on matters of national integrity and sovereignty hinting on CK’s demand and behavior. Politics does and have an immediate remedy but political decisions have long term impact. Therefore, the years ahead are vital for federalism.
The national political situation is striving to find a response when political diversification with nationalism is under deliberation and extra-regional and regional influences on national politics and traditional beliefs are enduring.
Major transformation to federalism, republicanism, and secularism would strive if it was judged with realism and not with ideological emotion. The state tools and instruments are focusing on their own internal dynamics, all the security agencies are more concerned and are attempting to address their internal governance when the geopolitical, geo-economic situation with China, India, both immediate neighbors and the US’s — the only global power — strategic activities have been continuing. Globalization and multilateral treaties and conventions are less significant.
The government’s political decision is undeniably an optimistic gesture in regards to the two indisputable national threats of probable armed conflict in the hills and a secessionist movement in the Madhesh. National challenges need national motion and the 11-point agreement should have added earnestness and requisite toward making it a consensual agenda with political unity and involvement of other instruments of power, including the security sector.
The geopolitical shift, sensitivities, transformation and strategic importance require collective deliberation in the national security sector and political approach to shape the environment for peaceful economic activities and opportunities with political and policy stability.
Lack of a strategic body under the executive is the need for a holistic approach to national security and political governance. If the security sector is not prioritized, the grim cost will be imminent so Nepal requires an efficient, innovative and agile security system.
Political unity must visualize how Nepal will outline politically, diplomatically, culturally and economically in the next five to ten years so that the correct policy is situated in order. Bad governance, corruption, and political unaccountability, and undemocratic decisions are prime anxieties for sure. Responding to trends in global politics and in South Asia with political unity and political endorsement is considered necessary to safeguard Nepal’s unity in diversity and sovereignty.
Are geopolitical events, dealings, and happenings in Nepal orchestrated to de-evaluate values and the identity of Nepal and the Nepalese? Will political decisions and participation bear national security challenges? These are some burning questions that need to be answered. Hope the responsible realize!
(Basnyat is a retired Nepali Army Major General, is a political and security analyst)
Views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the stance of Khabarhub.