Without Beijing’s encouragement, PM Oli would not think of antagonising India.

 The top priority on the international agenda at the moment must be to combat the coronavirus and find a cure for it. Regrettably, this is not happening. Regional disputes continue to simmer.
Take for example the current cartographic differences between Nepal and India. I have in the past been intimately associated with Indo-Nepal relations. I have no hesitation in emphasising the fact that, with one or two exceptions the Prime Ministers of Nepal have not been up to the job.
The Nepalese government has taken objection to a map India issued in 2019 to emphasise the changed status of Jammu & Kashmir into a Union Territory. Nepal asserted that the 330 square kilometres of Kalapani area near the Indo-Nepal border should not have been shown as a part of India.
We have assured our closest and largest landlocked neighbour that we would be willing to discuss the matter through diplomatic channels after the coronavirus pandemic is over, even though the territory has been a part of India for centuries. Not only that, Nepal endorsed India’s claim for 150 years.
A word or two about Prime Minister K.P. Oli. He is a crypto communist, not on good terms with the Nepal Communist Party, which is at present in power. By all accounts, he is an indifferent administrator. Unfortunately, we played into his hands by the manner in which we intervened when a new Constitution of Nepal was under discussion in 2015. We sent to Kathmandu the then foreign secretary with a list of amendments. This was an unnecessary interference in the internal affairs of Nepal, which was deeply resented.
China’s diplomatic, territorial and political ambitions in Nepal are all too well known. Without Beijing’s encouragement, Prime Minister Oli would not even think of antagonising India.
The so called “dispute” will eventually be resolved through deft diplomacy. The sooner that happens the better it would be. A prolonged estrangement is not in the interest of either country.
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For the first time since the death of Deng Xiaoping China is on the defensive. Its mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic has been widely condemned. It’s not coming clean and is damaging its image. The economy, for the first time since 1992, has taken a beating.
President Donald Trump is leading the charge against the People’s Republic. That is, quite obviously, not having the desired results. President Trump’s goofs on the coronavirus have brought down his rating to 70% negative. On the political field he is running 11 points behind Joe Biden. President Trump calling former President Barak Obama names is a perilous exercise. It only enhances President Obama’s stature.
If elections were held today in the US, President Trump could find himself in serious electoral trouble. If the pandemic continues till November, and the President does not mend his ways, he would find himself back in Trump Towers in New York.
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Friends ask me how I spend my days in what they call unwanted solitary confinement. My answer is, “I am discovering the virtues of solitude”. As we all know, the world is a noisy place. India is among the noisiest places on earth. No wonder Mahatma Gandhi observed a day of silence.
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The Gymkhana Club has been in the news for all the wrong reasons. I became a member in 1955. I was elected president in 1984, unopposed. The 15 members of the General Committee were on my list of candidates. All were elected. This was unprecedented.
The Imperial Gymkhana Club was founded in 1913. The word Imperial was dropped in 1947. From 1913 to 1947 only Britishers became president of the club. Sir Harcourt Butler, ICS, was the first president.
The first Indian to be elected president was Sir Usha Nath Sen, CBE, i.e., Commander of the British Empire. Between 1952 to 1970, seven Indian I.C.S officers were elected presidents.
According to the Oxford Dictionary a club “is an association dedicated to a particular interest or activity, an organization constituted to play matches… An organization offering members social amenities, meals and residence.”
The club has over a dozen tennis grass courts, eight hard courts, a squash and badminton court, a swimming pool, a billiards room. A room is used for bridge players.
The cottages are well furnished, with a spacious bed room, sitting room, a bathroom and a small store room. I lived in cottage number 22 from 1958 to 1961 and 1966 to 1967.
Few, if any members would know that Lord Irwin, the Viceroy and Mahatma Gandhi had a meeting in the club in 1931.
A farewell party was held for Lord and Lady Mountbatten on 21 June 1948. Jawaharlal Nehru was among the guests.
A handful of members have gone to court against the president and the committees for actions not in keeping in mind the traditions of the club.
The Central Government wants to take over the running of the club. That would be unfortunate. Governments must govern, not run clubs.
A five-member committee should be formed to sort out the differences between the two opposing groups. Otherwise, Government will intervene. In that event the Gymkhana Club will become a sub-section of one of the ministries of the Central Government. What a melancholy prospect.

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