Well! It’s official, the democratically elected Maoists (what Irony!) have abolished the 240-year long monarchy, and Nepal is now a secular and democratic republic. The landmark step was taken barely 12 hours ago near the convention hall in Kathmandu; where the newly-elected constituent assembly met to ink the watershed moment in the history of the Everest Nation.
King Gyanendra is now a commoner and the dude (I can call him that now!) will be paying his own bills. The elected president will now be the supreme commander of the forces. The Nepalese people are rejoicing, Mr. Prachanda, the chairman of the Maoists in Nepal is ecstatic as a new dawn beckons Nepal. Okay, so much for the good news – but what does all this mean for India?
Mr. Prachanda has already stated explicitly that the whole foreign policy will be reviewed, especially with regard to China and more so for India. This includes Nepal’s role in Indo-China relations, the Indo-Nepal porous border issues, and more importantly – the Tibet issue and the hiring of Nepali Gurkhas by the Indian Armed forces (which personally makes Mr. Prachanda quite uneasy to say the least). This sudden development has surely made New Delhi raise an eyebrow. But Mr. Prachanda nips all doubts in the bud – as he was quoted saying to a leading TV network “The review will not be a rollback from current commitments but a constructive revamp in which both India and Nepal can look forward to new gains”.
In addition, Kathmandu and New Delhi find themselves in a give and take predicament with New Delhi “expecting”(not requesting) Prachanda to encourage (persuade) his ideological cousins in the Indian north-east to give up their weapons and follow his suit. Prachanda, on the other hand, expects (not requests) India to help him get rid of the “terrorists” tag from the FBI list of world organizations.
India and Nepal share a historical and spiritual bond (read Buddhism and Hinduism; secular republics – what irony!) and that should hold both countries in good stead in future relations. The two nations share a strong economic, social, political (yawwwn!!) connect. One interesting piece of trivia being, that the foreign minister of Nepal was a student of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at Delhi School of Economics (unconfirmed sources). On a serious note, one mustn’t forget that Nepal is the nation so strategically sandwiched (talk about precision) between the two developing powerhouses of the world, that it sustains itself on a stable Indo-China relation. Turning into a Republic, is the strongest favor, Nepal can do to all Republics of the world including “The Largest One”.
[Image Source: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/images/200804/20080406wap_nepalelection_500.jpg]