-Prem Sagar Poudel
Chief of the Nepal Army Prabhuram Sharma said that Nepal is under the influencing zone of international security challenges. Concluding the Ser. No. 49 Medal and Hudha Officer Cadet Training at the Nepali Military Academy at Kharipati in Bhaktapur, Chief of Army Staff Sharma said that Nepal was facing a complex security challenge.
Speaking on the occasion, Chief of Army Staff Sharma said, “The current situation of Europe has added to the security challenges. Nepal is not immune from the impact of this on the world economy. As a result, the potential for security problems has increased significantly.’ This speech by General Sharma clearly shows that the Nepal Army has started working in favor of Ukraine.
Chief of Army Staff Sharma further said, “Leadership is needed today to be able to anticipate potential challenges to the security of the nation and its citizens and to keep Nepal safe from complex security threats by accurately assessing the challenges ahead.” This speech by the Chief of the Nepal Army, who has been playing a neutral role till now, is no less than that of a political leader. In other words, it is possible to assess whether Chief Sharma has forgotten his status, through this speech.
On the other hand, it seems that Chief Sharma is trying to give a hint about the current destination of Nepal. That is, in the name of international security challenges, the Nepal Army is trying to change its neutral role since its inception. In other words, this speech seems to indicate that the Nepalese army is increasingly likely to side with the Americans via Ukraine.
At present, there is no basis to say that the security challenge in Nepal has increased due to the Europeans. Without this basis, a person like the Chief of Army Staff seems to have dared to say that Nepal is in a serious state of security challenge. Behind his courage, it is clear that Nepal is leaning towards the American pole in the name of security challenges. In other words, Chief of Army Staff Sharma is trying to get support of the Americans in managing the growing security challenge in Nepal. Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba has been helping him to walk in this path.
Charles A. Flynn’s visit to Nepal:
After completing his visit to India, Commanding General Charles A. Flynn of the US Army’s Indo-Pacific Command arrived in Nepal on 26 Jeshth. After a four-day visit to India, he came to Kathmandu for a four-day visit to Nepal. By spending as much time in Nepal as he did in India, General Flynn tried to send a message to India that, strategically, Nepal is no less important than India.
Flynn, who has led the Indo-Pacific Command since July 4, 2021, has close ties to high-ranking US government officials. Flynn is the younger brother of Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, the national security adviser to the then-US President Donald Trump. Prior to that, he was the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, Planning and Training of American Army. Flynn, who has worked closely with the U.S. military, wants to strengthen the Indo-Pacific Command’s presence in the Indo-Pacific region in his time.
During his visit to India, Flynn described China’s infrastructure in the Himalayas as “unstable and corrosive”. During his visit to India, Flynn, who was in the Indian media for his anti-China rhetoric, seems to have taken full advantage of the anti-China sentiment in India. Therefore, during his visit, the Indian media was interested in the Chinese-built structure on Chinese soil in the Ladakh region.
One month ago, the Times of India reported that the Chinese military was gradually adding artillery guns, infantry combat vehicles and heavy military equipment as part of its military strategy near the Line of Control (LoC) in eastern Ladakh. The Times of India’s correspondent Vishnu Som had asked Flynn about this at a press conference. In 2017, military tensions between the two countries lasted for 73 days in Doklam.
During his visit to India, he had bilateral meetings with Indian Chief of Army Staff Manoj Pandey. After meeting with the Chief of Army Staff, Flynn had a separate meeting with Indian Army Deputy Chief of Staff Lieutenant General BS Raju. Generally, the practice of holding talks with the Deputy Chief after holding talks with the Chief is not considered good in the diplomatic arena. This type of meeting is usually held to convey the special message that there is a deputy chief in the alternative to the chief.
During his visit to Nepal, Flynn will discuss agreements with Nepalese officials on the US military’s State Partnership Program (SPP). The United States has been urging Nepal to sign the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for long-term cooperation with the Nepal Army.
Recent visits of high-ranking US officials have been urging Nepal to reach a speedy decision on the issue. After the SPP agreement, which has been included in the Indo-Pacific Strategy by the US Department of Defense, Nepal will officially become a partner in that strategy. The US had offered Nepal to sign the MoU in 2015 and the then Chief of Army Staff Rajendra Chhetri was in favor of signing the MoU. However, due to internal pressure, the agreement could not move forward. The proposal is currently pending in the Ministry of Defense.
Following the agreement, the Nepal Army and the US Army’s Utah National Guard will exchange regular visits and conduct military exercises. There will also be cooperation between the two armies on issues including fighting against disasters. When the Nepal Army participates in the State Partnership Program, the message that Nepal has participated under the US security umbrella goes to the international level. It seems that the US is trying to convey the message that Nepal is under its umbrella to India and other countries. For which this agreement is a powerful weapon.
Apart from that, the United States has been influencing the Nepal Army for a long time. The Americans have been pressuring the Nepalese government to use the Nepalese army against China. It is understood that after the formation of the Deuba-led government, in the Nepal-US diplomatic discussions and meetings, Washington has repeatedly sought commitment to the participation of the Nepal Army in the State Partnership Program. Nepal is currently in the process of signing the State Partnership Program.
The final discussion will be held during the visit of Nepal Army Chief Sharma to the United States. He is leaving for the United States on 13th Ashadh. Before that, Flynn had come to Nepal to have a decisive discussion on how to move the State Partnership Program forward. The subject of his visit to Nepal has been kept secret from the United States until flying to Delhi. On the eve of Flynn’s visit to Nepal, another US Army team is in Nepal. The government has remained silent on the team’s visit.
Prime Minister Deuba’s wife Arzu is on a visit to New Delhi, the capital of India, to brief on that Nepal enters into the phase of State Partnership Program and SOFA Agreement with US. As these two types of agreements that Nepal has started with the United States are of strategic importance, Arzu’s activism has increased in order to get India’s support on that issue. Lately, Americans have come to trust Arzu more than Prime Minister Deuba. Therefore, they only discuss some important issues with Prime Minister Deuba through Arzu.
It is understood that Arzu went to Delhi thinking that Nepal would be in trouble due to both of these non-cooperative strategies of India. In Delhi, Arzu will brief Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the issues through Bharatiya Janata Party leaders. In addition, Vinay Mohan Kwatra, who recently returned from Nepal, has been appointed as the Secretary of the Ministry of External Affairs of India. Arzu will meet Kwatra and seek India’s help in this matter. For that, Nepal has already decided to hand over the West Seti Hydropower Project to India.
A Tara Air flight bound for Jomsom from Pokhara crashed in Thasang Village Municipality-2 of Mustang. All 22 people aboard the plane died in the accident on 15 Jeshth. Two German nationals were also among the dead. Mustang, which borders China, is now the off-season for tourists. However, this season, the German citizens were not going to Mustang just to go around.
There was another Nepali including two Germans who went on Tara Air, Ganesh Narayan Shresth, a permanent resident of Martyr Lakhan Village Municipality-5 of Gorkha. Shreshth, who has been living on Putali Sadak in Kathmandu, is a software engineer by profession. His two daughters and one son all study higher education on scholarships in the United States. Two daughters Ravina, 20, and Rojina Shrestha, 23, were on a trip to Nepal with Ganesh Narayan and his wife. All four of them died in the plane crash. The news end naturally. However, if we look at Ganesh Narayan’s support to the Gorkha’s school, many may wonder how he could earn money. While following this mystery, one can find the real work of Ganesh Narayan. From time to time his visit to the northern region including Gorkha was on his calendar. This visit is also due to this calendar. That is, German citizens have long been active in archeological studies centered on the Northern Mustang. The team flew from Pokhara to Jomsom to study the feasibility of connecting communication equipment with the historic Lo Gekar Gumba in Upper Mustang being revived by the US.
Apart from Shresth, there were two German nationals on board and five others who had flown to Jomsom earlier on a Summit Air flight. The Shresth family headed for Jomsom, thinking that the family members would be able to visit the upper Mustang and also does the office work. The renovated of the monastery, which was to be completed in 2023, was undertaken by German technicians, including a communication set and a spy set. The Germans have already studied archeology in the Upper Mustang area, so they seem to be more knowledgeable in that area than the Americans. The monastery, which has been renovated through the Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation, has been visited several times by US Ambassador Randy Berry.
The Americans are now working in the area with the idea of conducting anti-China activities centered on the Upper Mustang. They seem to be focused on development and renovated of archeological structures. Totally different from outside, they are more focused on studying how to influence China from that area. They seem to have been assisted in this task by various Western countries, including Germany.
Now look at why Nepal is becoming strategically insecure. In other words, the Americans are working to make Nepal strategically insecure. Nepalese have been supporting their plan. Due to the activities of SOFA, SPP and independent Tibetans, Nepal seems to be facing security threat. On the issue of SOFA and SPP agreement, MP Dr. Bhim Rawal has warned the government in the parliament on 26th Jeshth. It seems that the top military officials are now working to strengthen the American presence by spreading propaganda that Nepal is under security threat.
On the other hand, if the American thinking surrounding China does not work in Nepal, then there is no question of security threat. Now the security threat to Nepal has increased because of this thinking, not because of the problems in Europe. Nepal’s economic system seems to have been affected by the problems in Europe. In such a situation, how did the Nepalese government come to the need to move forward on the path of agreement that even India was trying to skip? It is the subject of the question.
Prime Minister Deuba’s visit to the United States in the next few weeks is expected to help move the American plan forward in a concrete way. The date of Prime Minister Deuba’s visit has been postponed several times and has not been made public to avoid any danger. Therefore, it seems that the parties have to look for an alternative to Deuba before Nepal falls into the whirlpool of a possible Tsunami.
At the time of the parliamentary approval of the MCC agreement, the parties seem to be silent and want the government to open the door to an agreement with the Americans. The time has come for not only Nepal’s political parties but also China to be vigilant and take effective steps immediately. It cannot be said that such activities will not only endanger Nepal’s security but also turn it into a battle ground. China does not seem to be untouched by this.