Most importantly, prior to the war in 1962, the CIA feared that India could attack Nepal and occupy the plain region, including, the capital Kathmandu.
In a recent article published by The Hindustan Times titled ‘After 1962 war, CIA feared China could attack India through Nepal and Myanmar’ it argues that China would have attacked India but, unfortunately, the article is actually imbalanced. There’s the other side of the story about the statement that the article doesn’t reveal.
The 1962 Sino-Indian war had pushed the region in turmoil and Nepal had the decision to make whether it would fight for either country or remain neutral. Since Nepal is lynched between the two nations, it couldn’t afford to take sides hence the Indian counterpart were enraged by the indifference.
Most importantly, prior to the war in 1962, the CIA feared that India would attack Nepal and occupy the plain region, including, the capital Kathmandu.
The declassified CIA document states: “Nevertheless, we believe that India will pursue a cautious course, lest it jeopardizes its other activities in Nepal. These include the manning of border posts along the Nepalese-Tibetan border and the right to recruit Gurkha troops. There are 29 battalions of Gurkhas totaling about 27, 000 men in the Indian Army. Such rights are dependent upon the King’s pleasure. More important, however, is India’s fear that Mahendra, if pushed too hard, might carry out his threat to seek Communist military support, which would force India to intervene militarily in Nepal. While India could secure the southern lowlands and probably the Kathmandu Valley and other points in Central Nepal, the Chinese—who control two key passes of north Kathmandu—could take over much of northern Nepal and thus greatly increase Indian difficulty in securing its Himalayan frontier.”
The document also reveals that India has always considered Nepal as a part of its security regime. It is no secret that India has been hatching plots to annex Nepal in its territory since the British left them.
It can be understood clearly from further lines about India’s true intentions: “India’s major interest in Nepal is to preserve its integrity as a key element in the Indian security position. Indeed, Nehru has publicly stated that India’s Himalayan defense perimeter runs along Nepal’s northern border. India’s policy in Nepal has long been designed to encourage the emergence of a stable and progressive—as well as pro-Indian government as providing the best insurance against Communist influence.”
India’s paranoid behavior continues to this day and still considers China as its enemy. There are few Nepali experts who argue that India has been punishing Nepal due to its stand during the 1962 war.
The declassified document clearly warns Nepal that India’s interest might not have changed and shouldn’t trust wholeheartedly since it continues to fear and loathe China. India’s policy on Nepal remains unchanged to this day and can be understood from the 2015 economic blockade and interference in the newly promulgated constitution.
You can read the full file here.