Q) Continued political unrest in Nepal has a proportionate impact on India as well. In this context, examine the approach that India should adopt to secure its interests in the future.
Why this Question?
Issue of current importance
Key demand of the Question
Determine how political situations in Nepal have an adverse impact on India and the approach that should be adopted by India.
Examine – When asked to ‘Examine’, we must look into the topic (content words) in detail, inspect it, investigate it and establish the key facts and issues related to the topic in question. While doing so we should explain why these facts and issues are important and their implications.
Start with giving a context about the recent political turmoil in Nepal.
In the first part, examine the impact of the crisis on India.
In the next part, highlight the approach that is needed in order to overcome these impacts.
Conclude with a way forward.
For Model Answer
Nepal has been caught in political turmoil for the last couple of years, even as it battles the Covid pandemic. With no party or coalition having a majority, the parliament has been dissolved twice since December and the country now faces fresh elections later this year the latest crisis began after its Prime Minister (PM) KP Sharma Oli’s decision to dissolve Parliament, a move promptly approved by President Bidhya Devi Bhandari.
Impact on India
- PM Oli’s cartographic expansion of Nepal’s territory last year with a new map that included disputed territory with India symbolises a tendency among Nepalese politicians to use anti-India rhetoric as also push their two powerful neighbours in covert manoeuvres for domestic political gains.
- A clear instance of this trend is Oli’s conversion of a challenge to his leadership into a larger ploy involving India and China.
- Nepal’s internal political processes are, therefore, significant to India’s strategic interests.
- Moreover, Sino-Nepali economic ties began to grow in 2015, but in 2018, China’s influence in Nepal started to gather momentum.
- More importantly, Nepal’s foreign policy under the NCP government became strongly pro-China.
- Moreover, this influence can be evidenced by the fact that China has now stepped up its self-assumed role as mediator in the ongoing crisis.
- India is apprehensive that the political crisis will once again expand space for China to intervene in Nepali politics and shape a government that is favourable to China.
India’s stance in this regard
- As things continue to deteriorate in Nepal, with Prime Minister K.P. Oli being accused of bending constitutional provisions to form a government, India believes it is best to “step back” a bit and wait for the situation to unfold.
- India said the recent political developments in Nepal are its internal matters and it is for the country to deal with them under its own domestic framework and democratic processes.
- As a neighbour and friend, India remains unwavering in its support for Nepal and its people on their journey toward progress, peace, stability and development
As no significant development in bilateral relations appears likely during the prevailing uncertainty, India must encourage consolidation of a people-driven polity, and improve its popular profile. India can improve ties with Nepal by picking up pending controversial issues such as the 1950 treaty, the Kalapani border dispute, and trade and investment matters. This will only help India reclaim its contested strategic space.