(31 Dec 2020) Question-2
Q-2) Is the policy of Panchasheel relevant in todays International politics? Analyse India's principle of mutual non-interference in the backdrop of China's meddling in the internal political affairs of Nepal.
Introduction: Panchsheel is the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence adopted as PanchsheelTreaty with China in 1954. It subsequently adopted in a number of resolutions and statements across the world as a model for lasting peace.
It included following five principles:
- Mutual respect for each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty,
- Non-aggression against each other,
- Non-interference in each other’s internal affairs,
- Equality and mutual benefit and
- Peaceful coexistence.
Relevance of Panchsheel in today's International politics:
- It provides sense of security, independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity to us as well as those whom we deal with.
- Stronger relationships: It gives our international partners more confidence to deal with us.
- Regional cooperation is possible with such principles.
- Mature politics: It gives a message to the world that we are a mature democracy.
- Lasting impression: One can never be wrong when principles of non-aggression and peace are followed. Such a cooperation never leaves a negative perceptions on the world.
- Soft power: Politics of principles enhances India's soft power.
Limitations of Pancsheel in the era of realism:
- Real Politic: In international arena, self-interest and economy of a nation yields greater and quicker results. For example, China has over the years accumulated greater power and influence in the region with real politic.
- Pessimism: Principle based approach hints towards pessimism. Often aggression is a potent instrument of power.
- Short term damage has a long term impact: For example China's investment in Sri Lanka has led it to gain control over Hambantota port till the next century. This has given greater leverage to China in the Indian Ocean.
Nonetheless, still Panchsheel stands as a pillar of Indian diplomacy as it is a belief that aggression always yields negative world view. And in the increasingly democratic world, public perception is an ever increasing driving force in international politics.
India's interference experiment with Nepal ended in failure, when India supported Madheshi Andolan, and put pressure on China to amend its constitution. However, even in the Terai region Communist party won. This has only created a negative perception about India in Nepal.
China has been meddling in the internal politics of Nepal recently:
- China has a great influence on the Nepali Communist Party due to ideological alignment. It is said that the Communist party of China had brokered the agreement between all factions of Nepali communist party which led to the formation of present government.
- There have been various corruption charges on the Nepali politicians getting bribes.
- Nepal making an issue of the Kalapani region came at the time when LAC was active. This can be no coincidence.
- Recently, Communist Party of China has sent a senior delegation to Kathmandu within days of Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli’s controversial decision to dissolve Parliament.
Chinese advantage through interference are many, such as:
- Economic: Inclusion of China into Belt and road initiative. This would open greater economic cooperation between Nepal and China.
- Rasuwagadhi on Nepal-Tibet border would be upgraded as rail-road hub b/w Nepal & China.
- Strategic: It has been able to open border issues between Nepal and India.
- Political: It has direct access to various political leaders in Nepal
However, recently it has been reported that China's interference in internal politics of Nepal and corruption charges have gained negative publicity in Nepal recently.
Conclusion: It is clear that interference in internal politics can give short term leverage. However in the long run the principles of Panchsheel can form the basis of a lasting relationships. These principles prevent us from being short-sighted