Political Crisis in Nepal

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What’s in today’s article?

  • Why in news?
  • Political crisis in Nepal
  • India’s stand
  • Bilateral cooperation between India and Nepal
  • India Vs China in Nepal
  • Conclusion

Why in news?

Nepal’s Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda won a vote of confidence in the 275-member lower house of Parliament recently.

Prachanda won his third trust vote in a bit more than a year. It happened after the Prime Minister ended his party's partnership with Sher Bahadur Deuba's Nepali Congress and formed a new alliance with K P Sharma Oli's Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist).

Political crisis in Nepal

  • Floor test of January 2023
    • Prachanda took oath for the third time in December 2022 (he had been Prime Minister earlier in 2008-09 and 2016-17).
    • He won 268 votes in the floor test of January 2023 after receiving support from almost all parties, including both the Nepali Congress and the CPN-UML.
  • Second floor test in March 2023
    • Prachanda had to seek a second vote in March 2023 after CPN-UML and the monarchist Rashtriya Prajatantra Party withdrew support.
      • These parties withdrew support over Prachanda’s backing for Ramchandra Paudel of the Nepali Congress to be President.
    • Nepali Congress supported the Prachanda government during this floor test.
  • Third floor test in March 2024
    • On March 4 this year, Prachanda dumped Nepali Congress (led by Deuba) and went back to CPN-UML (led by K P Sharma Oli), which triggered the vote in Parliament.
  • Nepal had seen 13 governments since 2008
    • Nepal has had 13 governments since 2008, the year in which the country’s 239-year-old monarchy was abolished and a republic was proclaimed.
    • Over the years, Prachanda, Deuba, and Oli have been the leading political actors in Nepal.
  • Impact of political instability on Nepal
    • The political instability in Nepal has impacted the country’s economy.
    • Thousands of young Nepalis are heading abroad, mainly to the Middle East, South Korea, and Malaysia, in search of work.
    • In 2022-23, about 7.7 lakh people got permits to go to foreign job destinations.

India’s stand

  • Cause of concern for India
    • The extraordinary political instability in Nepal is of concern to India, where Prachanda’s moves are being watched with a mix of caution and admiration.
    • However, while Prachanda retains significant goodwill in New Delhi, his now partner in government, Oli, does not.
  • Oli and India
    • The actions and statements by Oli in 2015 had caused a fair bit of bitterness in India.
      • During his tenure the Nepalese constitution was drafted, which led to protests and the infamous border blockade.
    • Oli, who was Prime Minister then, portrayed India as the neighbourhood bully in his country.
  • Nepal being described as India-locked
    • Politicians in Nepal have often described the country as being India-locked, meaning it needs India for access to ports.

Bilateral cooperation between India and Nepal

  • Bilateral trade between India and Nepal
    • India is Nepal’s largest trade partner, with bilateral trade crossing $7 billion in FY 2019-20.
    • India provides transit for almost all of Nepal’s third country trade.
    • Indian exports to Nepal have grown more than eight times over the past decade, while exports from Nepal have almost doubled.
  • Cooperation during Covid Pandemic
    • During the Covid-19 pandemic, India provided assistance of more than $7 million to Nepal.
    • This included the supply of more than 23 tonnes of medicines and medical equipment, more than 9.5 million doses of vaccines, and a medical oxygen plant.
  • People to people contact and remittances
    • About 8 million Nepalese citizens live and work in India, and some 6 lakh Indians live in Nepal. Indians are about 30% of foreign tourists in Nepal.
    • The bilateral remittance flow is estimated at $3 billion from Nepal to India, and $1 billion in the opposite direction.

India Vs China in Nepal

  • Use of Chinese card by Nepal
    • Nepal is sandwiched between the two Asian giants.
    • The Nepalese political leadership, including the country’s former monarchs, has long sought to play the China card to manage the relationship with India.
  • China is pouring aids to wean Nepal away from India
    • China has been pouring aid and investment in infrastructure to wean Kathmandu away from New Delhi.
    • Nepalese imports from China almost tripled from (Indian) Rs 49.5 billion in 2013-14 to Rs 138.75 billion ($1.67 billion) in 2022-23.

Conclusion

New Delhi’s position on the politics and future of Nepal must remain nuanced and flexible, with the people of Nepal at its centre. It must ensure that China or its proxies do not get an opportunity to ride on suspicion or prejudice against India.

More than an elder brother, India must take steps to make Nepal an equal partner.

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India Canada RelationsIndia-Bangladesh Relations
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India-Brazil RelationsIndia - Southeast Asian Countries Relations

Q1) What is the geographical location of Nepal?

Nepal is a landlocked country in South Asia, between China in the north and India in the south, east, and west. It covers 147,516 square kilometers, and is located between approximately 28°N and 84°E. Nepal is slightly larger than Arkansas, and is known as the land of Mount Everest, the world's highest peak, and Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha.

Q2) What caused the COVID-19 pandemic?

COVID-19 is the first pandemic known to be caused by the emergence of a new coronavirus. Novel influenza viruses caused four pandemics in the last century, which is why some of the response to the new disease has been adapted from existing guidance developed in anticipation of an influenza pandemic.


Source: Amid Nepal’s continuing political turmoil, confidence vote win for PM Prachanda, the task for India