India responds quickly to Nepal king's actions; seeks coordinated line with Washington

India responds quickly to Nepal king's actions; seeks coordinated line with Washington
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 NEW DELHI 000792 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/31/2015 
Classified By: Ambassador David C. Mulford, for Reasons 1.4 (B, D) 
1. (S) Summary: Expressing "grave concern" over the King's 
decision to dissolve the multiparty government in Nepal, and 
calling the action "a serious setback to the cause of 
democracy," New Delhi responded swiftly and with unusual 
firmness to the February 1 developments in Kathmandu.  In a 
statement issued just hours after the King wrested power from 
Prime Minister Deuba, the MEA called for the safety and 
welfare of Nepalese political leaders who are now reportedly 
under house arrest, and stated that the King had violated the 
principles of multiparty democracy and constitutional 
monarchy as enshrined in Nepal's Constitution.  In a February 
1 phone call to the Ambassador, Foreign Secretary Saran urged 
that Washington reinforce the GOI line with its own strong 
statement.  Saran warned that if there is large scale 
agitation in Kathmandu, and if the RNA overreacts, India may 
have to "take some unpopular decisions."  In that 
eventuality, Saran added, he hopes Washington and New Delhi 
will be on the same page.  End Summary. 
Joint Message 
2. (C) In a sign of growing GOI commitment to the US-India 
security partnership, Foreign Secretary Saran called the 
Ambassador on the afternoon of February 1, just a few minutes 
after New Delhi had issued its statement on the situation in 
Nepal (full text para 6).  Saran described the MEA release as 
"unusually strong" and urged the Ambassador to work with 
Washington to generate a reinforcing message from Washington. 
 Invoking the RNA's record of poor human rights practices, 
Saran expressed concern about the likelihood of large scale 
agitation in Kathmandu.  If the RNA overreacts, India may 
have to "take some unpopular decisions" (no further 
information) and, Saran added, hopes Washington and New Delhi 
will be on the same page. 
3. (C) Speaking to Polcouns earlier on February 1, a Director 
in the Prime Minister's office indicated that New Delhi had 
warning that the King would act late on January 31. 
Underlining India's concern with the unfolding situation, 
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his foreign affairs team 
reportedly met early on February 1 to review the situation 
and craft a response.  MEA Director (Nepal and Bhutan) Achal 
Kumar Malhotra told Poloff that, given India's keen interest 
in the long-term stability of Nepal, the MEA would issue 
further statements if necessary and would continue to closely 
monitor the situation. 
4. (C) MEA Under Secretary (Nepal) Manu Mahawar emphasized 
that the GOI had not yet decided whether to suspend aid to 
Nepal, a decision that would come only after India had 
reviewed the situation in greater detail.  He noted that 
communication with the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu had been 
spotty since local land and cell phone service was 
unavailable following Gyanendra's announcement, a situation 
that contributed to the uncertainly surrounding the 
situation.  Predictably, the Indians have already started 
asking whether the developments in Nepal will trigger Section 
508 sanctions from the US. 
5. (C) The Indian government has repeatedly expressed an 
interest in continuing to coordinate with the US as the 
situation unfolds in Kathmandu.  Saran's call to the 
Ambassador suggests that New Delhi is gravely concerned about 
the situation in Nepal, and is likely to ramp up their 
signals of displeasure with the King's actions in both public 
and private.  Whether the GOI will suspend military aid 
remains to be seen.  As one of our contacts noted, 
Gyanendra's decision to sack the Deuba government was "a 
direct snub to New Delhi," especially in light of India's 
repeated requests that the King avoid such a course.  The 
same contact also speculated that Kathmandu's closure of the 
Dalai Lama's office in Nepal was intended as a sop to 
Beijing, aimed at lining up support from Beijing in the event 
that New Delhi took a hard line on the King's action. 
6. (U) Text of the MEA statement follows: 
Statement on Developments in Nepal 
The King of Nepal has dissolved the multiparty government led 
by Prime Minister Deuba, and has decided to constitute a 
Council of Ministers under his own Chairmanship. An emergency 
has been declared and fundamental rights have been suspended. 
These developments constitute a serious setback to the cause 
of democracy in Nepal and cannot but be a cause of grave 
concern to India. 
There are also reports that several political leaders have 
been confined to their residences. The safety and welfare of 
the political leaders must be ensured and political parties 
must be allowed to exercise all the rights enjoyed by them 
under the Constitution. 
India has consistently supported multiparty democracy and 
constitutional monarchy enshrined in Nepal's Constitution as 
the two pillars of political stability in Nepal. This 
principle has now been violated with the King forming a 
government under his Chairmanship. 
We have always considered that in Nepal, it is imperative to 
evolve a broad national consensus, particularly between the 
monarchy and political parties, to deal with the political 
and economic challenges facing the country. 
The latest developments in Nepal bring the monarchy and the 
mainstream political parties in direct confrontation with 
each other. This can only benefit the forces that not only 
wish to undermine democracy but the institution of monarchy 
as well. 
India has a longstanding and unique relationship with Nepal, 
with which it shares an open border, a history of strong 
cultural and spiritual values and wide-ranging economic and 
commercial links. We will continue to support the restoration 
of political stability and economic prosperity in Nepal, a 
process which requires reliance on the forces of democracy 
and the support of the people of Nepal. 
New Delhi 
February 1, 2005 
Ministry of External Affairs 

 (From Wikileaks, released on Aug 30, 2011)

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