The primary reason behind the bombardment of objections to the Bilateral Investment Protection and Promotion Agreement (BIPPA) that Nepal's Prime Minister Dr. Baburam Bhattarai signed with India during his four-day visit to India ( 20 October 2011 to 23 October 2011) is Nepal's homeworklessness on the issue, which was pending for 10 years.
The mentality of the Nepali Congress (NC) and the Unified Marxist-Leninist (UML) that governed Nepal several years with similar ideological orientations and trends was extremely obfuscated over the issue of bilateral political and economic relations with India.
While the Seema Surakshya Bal (SSB) forces have been looting and removing Nepali settlements in the Indo-Nepal border territories, Prime Minister Dr. Bhattarai visited India, where he failed to raise this sensitive issue. Consequently, the majority of the Nepalis, who want an immediate end to the age-old border encroachments by the Indians accompanied by their armed security personnel, have apprehensively viewed the BIPPA.
Leaders within the Unified Communist Party of Nepal Maoist (UCPNM), the UML and other fringe parties have objected to the BIPPA, the reason being the prime minister's negligence of their advice not to sign any deal that affects Nepal in the long-term, at least until the full-fledged elected new constitution-backed government appears.
Currently, the Indian business community has occupied Nepal's almost 95 percent business space from entrepreneurial and investment perspectives. The Nepali business community, under the umbrella of the Federation of the Nepalese Chamber of Commerce and Industries (FNCCI) has a role of a go-between bridging the Nepali state mechanisms and the Indian investors.
It is extremely surprising that the Nepali business community members have not sought out any innovative and originally Nepali role in leading Nepal's trade and industry. They have apparently failed to take an initiative to gear the national economy towards national productivity. As a result, the initiative has always belonged to the Indian business community. However, the greatest blame goes to those who politically represented the Nepalis over the past and the most recent decades yet failed to become the leaders of Nepal, always confusing the public, unable to develop their own self-confidence and differentiating capacity. This inability has been reflected in the current bombardments of the objections to the latest deal between India and Nepal.
The BIPPA is not a big deal for India because of its geographical and demographic vastness marked by its enormous economic volumes. This is the main reason why it does not become an issue of debate of central importance in India.
Another vital reason for the opposition of the BIPPA is the lack of equidistant foreign policy in Nepal. The nation with only about 20.8 million people has to do a lot of research and homework before signing such a deal with the neighbor that has a population of far more than 1,000 million people. Small things that India does for or against Nepal affect the Nepalis to a considerable extent. Unless the Central rulers of India, definitely not excluding their provincial rulers, do understand this minutely, the bilateral harmony remains a usual ritual. For instance, the encroachment of more than 50,000 hectares of Nepali territory by India has not drawn the attention of the Central Indian politicians. Nor have Nepali leaders ever debated with their Indian counterparts on this serious and deep-rooted issue. As such age-old problems directly related to the Nepalis' national sovereignty and independence remain untouched during the bilateral talks and agreements, the Nepalis always doubt over their leaders' moral character and patriotic loyalty. This sounds natural because their very dignity has been hurt. The latest objections poured over the BIPPA should be viewed in this particular context.
First published in the Opednews