Nepal, Hotspot of Global Power Rivalry

Because of its location sandwiched between global players and probable threats to the regional powers, China and India, Nepal provides a suitable ground for overt as well as covert strategic activities.

By Deepak Gajurel

Deepak GajurelNepal’s political instability and uncertainty has become a matter of concerns for major powers of the world. Till some years back, Nepal had not been so prominently taken by leading global powers. As the political imbroglio goes on unabated here, involvement of external players is becoming more discernible.

Role of external forces in Nepal’s domestic politics could be analyzed in more than one perspective. Regional perspective is one of the aspects. The Himalayan Asia (South Asia plus China) has become the hotspot of international power struggle. This scenario became more visible after the collapse of the Soviet Union, as Super Power, and the end of the Cold War.

Nepal’s importance is amplified in terms of regional as well as international power struggle. Since the beginning of ‘peace process,’ in 2007, Nepal’s two giant neighbors – China and India – and the United States have been doing activities in Nepal unmatched in the past. The current political deadlock in Nepal is mere a reflection of the power rivalry among these major powers, that are competing for increased role in the world arena in general, and in this region of the Himalayan Asia, in particular.

‘Continued political instability in Nepal will have its grave negative impact not only in this part of Asia but also in the entire Asian continent.’ a high level Chinese official sometime back had correctly analyzed the ground reality.

Successive American Ambassadors to Nepal have time and again reaffirmed that United States has a firm and continued interest in Nepal. It’s obvious that the US has been working in Nepal with its national interests as the cornerstone.

Another key player, and perhaps, most effective and aggressive till recent past, India, has been vigorously attempting to maintain its influences in Nepal’s domestic affairs. India takes Nepal as a country under its sphere of influence. India visibly wants Nepal to remain under its sphere of influence, a continuation of Nehru dictum, who had asserted that Indian borders were up to the Himalayas in the North. With metamorphosed regional power equation, this Indian position has been seriously challenged, making New Delhi desperate.

Chinese understanding is that the United States, with assistance from including India, can play from a weakened Nepali soil and act against the Chinese security interest. Thus, Chinese interest in Nepal is to block the penetration of those forces which could pose a threat to its very survival, especially through Tibet, China’s weak belly.

With international politics going global, one or another region has been contested by the world powers for the expansion of their own interests. West Asia suffered a devastating blow during the Cold War. Struggle between the super powers was focused on getting hold over West Asia. During the Cold War, West Asia was a vital region for both the super powers because of its location.

First reason for its prominence is that West Asia is the place which harbors as much as 80 percent of known oil reserve. Second reason is Suez Canal. The third, and the most important of all, is the strategic location of this region. This is why, the United States and the Soviet Union both tried to get hold of this region. The result, continuous unrest in the region since the formation of the state of Israel in 1948.

The nature of the global power rivalry has changed with the demise of the Soviet Union. While there is no other power to challenge the lone Super Power, the world’s heartland has shifted from West Asia to the Himalayan Asia. Since the turn of the century, the United States has been strengthening its presence in the Middle East, Korean peninsula, Asia-Pacific, Africa, the Indian Ocean and South Asia. It is interesting to note that the increased US presence in the areas or territories are in the periphery of China.

Nepal is located in a strategically important position which is flanked by two emerging world powers – China and India. If China and India continue to grow in the way that they are doing today, they can be in a position to challenge the United States, not only economically, but probably militarily as well. It is this concern which has been prompting the Americans to avert the looming challenge from China, in the short term, and India, in the longer run.

Because of its location sandwiched between global players and probable threats to the regional powers, China and India, Nepal provides a suitable ground for overt as well as covert strategic activities.

The current power rivalry, among world powers, for the quest of taking hold of this region, results that external powers have been doing more in Nepali domestic politics, than Nepalis themselves do.

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One thought on “Nepal, Hotspot of Global Power Rivalry

  1. Speculation is there of meddling. It has been there since 1950.

    India cannot show the same exertion in South Asia the way the British did during the colonial rule. India and China and even the United States have entered into various aspects of social development of Nepal.

    This is where the political mafias themselves are kicking the country with no definite policy of national development and free style wrestling goes on for everyone to benefit while external funds enter without any public debate. Nepal is a free country and no powers have the power to restrict the motion that is on.

    To think about the UN as a mediator is to bring in the big powers to settle score with the mafias and there is no such possibility as the peace process is 95 percent finished and the 5 percent is focused on the modality or no modality to deal with the crime done during the 10 year conflict. India has much to bet but with whom? The riddle can be unraveled if the benefits are withdrawn. This is again not possible. So we go back to square one and try to clear the fog. The time gained through referendum is the time to make peace with ground reality of Nepali politics which has gone global for a long time and this fact must converge with policy intrusion by global powers.

    Su Pa

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