Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Dissonance Of A ‘Dependent’ Media

When Nepalese media organizations start throwing around words like “China Card” with abandon, you get a feeling that something’s not right.
Coined by the Indian media to display the New Delhi establishment’s traditional dislike for Kathmandu’s effort to exercise its full sovereignty, the term’s deep local penetration has serious implications.
For one thing, the sustained use of the term suggests the non-state “free” Nepalese media’s acquiescence in India’s prejudiced interpretation of Nepal’s foreign policy.
Worse, it sets out to convey the fallacious impression that Nepal’s “independent” media are merely conveying a growing public dislike for the government’s exercise of its sovereign options.
Last month, Nepal took a bold step toward correcting a palpably growing imbalance in South Asia. Although geographically distant, China has come to play an increasing role in the region. That consists of much more than an improvement in political and economic ties with India and a consolidation of the traditional security partnership with Pakistan.
China has steadily built robust multidimensional partnerships with Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal, which India condescendingly considers its backyard.
Our homegrown critics of Nepal’s “China Card” fail to acknowledge that Kathmandu’s initiative at the SAARC summit to have Beijing associated with the regional organization as an observer had the full backing of Islamabad, Dhaka and Colombo.
On the issue of Chinese arms supplies to the Nepalese army, why have the “independent” media conveniently ignored the fact that Kathmandu turned to Beijing only after New Delhi, along with London and Washington, stopped crucial supplies at a critical moment?
Nepalese publications populated with Nepali-speaking migrants from the northeastern Indian states of Assam and Meghalaya are throwing around such terms most consistently. Maila Baje doesn’t believe this is only coincidental.