The ruling Maoist party of Nepal has warned that the Mumbai terror attacks would escalate greater tensions in South Asia pitting a strengthening India-US alliance against Pakistan, the alleged home of the terrorists, and its ally China.”After the Mumbai attack and tensions escalating between India and Pakistan, the South Asian region is again becoming a hotspot in world politics,” warned the Maoist-affiliated Red Star fortnightly that hit the stands this week.
The Maoist paper says that the visit of US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to India soon after the attacks in Mumbai that killed 172 people “is likely to widen the rift between India and Pakistan”.
According to the Maoist perspective, China, Nepal’s northern neighbour that has stepped up overtures to the Maoist-led government with several high-level visits, is on the way to becoming a super economic power with two digit economic growth while the US is passing through its worth economic meltdown since the 1930s.
“China has good relations with Pakistan and is helping Pakistan in many aspects,” the fortnightly said. “Slowly the US-India and China-Pakistan alliance is becoming more visible.”
Blaming “serious negligence and incompetence of the Indian security sector” for the three-day attack that brought Mumbai to a standstill, the Maoist mouthpiece indicates it will give the US an excuse to consolidate its presence in South Asia.
According to the report, US president-elect Barack Obama has pledged that he would concentrate on Afghanistan and that Washington “may attack the Al-Qaeda and Taliban who are hiding in Pakistan without the consent of the Pakistani government”.
The US, the paper says, has also created a “heavy presence” in Nepal and has the “long-term plan to encircle China”. It predicts that as soon as Obama assumes office, the US will focus on South Asia as part of its plan to check the growth of China.
“The US presence in South Asia means a worsening India-Pakistan relation,” the paper says.
“The US plays one against the other for its interest, just as the British did in the past. China and Russia will obviously feel a security threat with the US presence in South Asia. Rice’s hasty visit to India shows that US want to ‘fish in the troubled waters’ after the Mumbai attack.
“Will South Asia be a playground of superpowers in the near future? Can the leaders of South Asia do nothing more than act as good servants of the Western powers?”
Though Maoist Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda has pledged to foster friendly relations with all foreign governments, the party however is rankled by the fact that Washington has yet not lifted the terror tag it slapped on them following the start of the guerrilla ‘People’s War’ in 1996.
The Maoists had fought a 10-year underground battle against the state inspired by Chinese revolutionary leader Mao Zedong but laid down arms two years ago to sweep the last election.
US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Richard Boucher was scheduled to visit Kathmandu this week, which would have been the first-ever visit by an American official to Nepal following the Maoists coming to power. However, the visit was postponed at the last moment.
China, on the other hand, has stepped up overtures to the Prachanda government, sending its foriegn minister and two high-level military delegations in quick succession.