India prevented food-fuel-medicines to Nepal in 2015 – Sri Lanka doesn’t learn lessons


How many are aware of the 2015 economic embargo imposed by India on Nepal simply because Nepal was including clauses in its new constitution in September 2015 that India did not like! It was the very year that US-India orchestrated a regime change to depose Mahinda Rajapakse & place on the throne a maithri yugaya headed by Maithripala Sirisena & Ranil Wickremasinghe. That yahapalana governance was designed to roll out geopolitical changes and trap Sri Lanka to the anti-China QUAD agenda. It is unfortunate that not too many are able to connect the dots & understand that the 2022 aragalaya was part of the agenda and using the “bankruptcy” theme, Sri Lanka has been trapped to the US-IMF and India-Credit Lines resulting in wholesale sale of Sri Lanka’s resources, assets shrinking Sri Lanka’s sovereignty and placing it under complete control of the very nation that stopped food-fuel-medicines to Nepal & the other nation that has a serial habit of interfering and imposing its will to advance its strategic imperial goals in Asia. This is not the first time India imposed a blockade. In 1989 India did the same after Nepal bought Chinese weapons! Nepal also suffered a devastating earthquake in April 2015.

Let’s look at what India did to Nepal in September 2015.

70% of supplies to Nepal come via India’s border with Nepal. Many Nepalese travel through the border to buy fuel & supplies. Indian Oil Corp (IOC) had not allowed majority of trucks to enter Nepal for 10 days (CNN report) Nepal was left with just 2-3 weeks supply. The repercussions of India given monopoly control over essential items. Making matters worse was the cancellation of international flights.

UNICEF claimed more than 3million Nepalese children under age of 5 years were at risk of death & disease because of the shortage of fuel, food, medicines & vaccines.

The unofficial blockade had internal support in Nepal (the ethnic Madhesis). The scenario is no different to how India has harnessed politicians, businessmen, media, academics to openly promote India’s interventions in Sri Lanka. Like TNA, the Madhesi’s are demanding a federal redistricting to enable a bigger stake for them.

The patriotic Nepali’s even began a hashtag #backoffindia on social media against India’s interference in Nepal’s internal affairs. Protestors shouted “down with Indian expansionism!” Nepal’s cable federation suspended 42 Indian TV channels, while cinemas stopped showing Indian films.

A Nepalese school teacher protesting outside the Indian embassy in Nepal capital Kathmandu asked “why is India imposing a blockade against us? Don’t we have the right to draft our constitution”.

One of the primary reasons for India’s covert/overt operations against Nepal, is its closeness to China, a facet Sri Lanka is also facing. India is the overly-jealous groom of its neighboring nations. However, unlike Sri Lanka, Nepal was nonplussed by India’s displeasure with its new constitution. Some Sri Lanka’s MPs have even claimed Sri Lanka to be part of India.

The US-India led regime change in Sri Lanka is no different to the manner Nepal’s PM Pushpa Kamal Dahal (the only Nepali PM who dared to go against India) had to resign after 9 months in office, as the army chief he fired for insubordination was restored with India’s DIRECT intervention.

As Sri Lanka is happily doling away its airports, harbor, ports, energy security etc to India, has parliamentarians, their advisors or even senior public servants looked at the repercussions that Sri Lanka may experience, no different to what Nepalese experienced twice? All of Sri Lanka’s sovereignty points are being placed under the control of India (either government or Indian private sector in cahoots with Sri Lanka’s anti-national elements) All of the agreements being signed are in secret and most likely ignoring clauses that protect Sri Lanka’s state sovereignty.

When India imposed the unofficial economic blockade, Nepal had to come to terms with its own vulnerabilities due to the lack of alternatives and poor management. These issues are never addressed by any government in Sri Lanka. Nepal is now attempting to focus on energy security as a national priority while Sri Lanka’s government is happy to hand over all to India.

A Nepalese committee appointed to look into alternatives recommended that Nepal should decrease its dependency on India for petroleum products to 60%. Nepal should expedite development of hydropower projects as hydroelectricity meets just 2% of energy needs, replace use of LPG with solar & hydropower. All these key areas are falling under Indian control in Sri Lanka.

With Sri Lanka planning to merge SL rupee with Indian rupee – Sri Lanka must look at the manner Nepal had to deal with the Indian currency when it reached problematic levels. Do we need to invite trouble?

Hospitals had run out of medicines. Half of Nepal’s medical supplies come from India

Ventilators and dialysis machines could not operate due to lack of diesel.

Vehicles came to a halt – almost all of Nepal’s gas comes from India.

Power cuts lasted from 58hour per week

Lack of cooking gas resulted in cutting of trees causing new environmental issues.

Schools were closed – there were shortage of ink, books and stationary.

A coalition of Nepali citizens (diplomats, journalists, women leaders, medical doctors, former UN officials) called for the international community & UN to remove the blockade by India as a result of the humanitarian crisis. Thankfully there is a special rapporteur appointed for such a situation – U.N.’s ‘Special Rapporteur on Unilateral Coercive Measures with Serious Negative Impact on the Enjoyment of Human Rights’.

Sri Lanka is well advised to keep this contact. We are likely to need it sooner than later!

Not surprisingly Alaina B. Teplitz was serving as US ambassador to Nepal during the 2015 economic blockade before arriving in Sri Lanka to become ambassador & left months before the aragalaya handing reigns to the current envoy Julie Chung. What US-India are upto is what neighboring South Asian nations need to without delay realize before their nations become hotbed of geopolitical wars to serve the strategic interests of QUAD who are also engaged in undercutting each other in the process of feigned ‘unity’ & ‘strategic partnership’.


Shenali D Waduge

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