India-Nepal Relations: Security & Strategic Dimensions

Topics: Nepal, Gyanendra of Nepal, Kathmandu Pages: 9 (2895 words) Published: July 8, 2011

(Dr.R.M.L. Avadh University)

Sandwiched between two great cultures and empires, India and China, tucked away in the foothills of the great Himalaya, the mountain kingdom of Nepal is in turmoil today. Amidst the continuously expanding sphere of Maoist influence, political uncertainties making it easy for anti-Indian terrorists to operate from there and growing international interest, Nepal continues to remain one of the most volatile countries in the South Asia. Relations between India and Nepal date from antiquity. The similarity in culture, civilization, and religion in both countries have augmented and reinforced these ties. The relations between both countries are basically determined by their inevitable geographical and strategic compulsions. Both history and geography have conferred upon them a special obligation to cultivate and maintain friendly and stable relations to keep their core national interests intact. The bilateral relations have been going on in two currents- a visible and a basic or invisible current. Visible current some time may have ripple going up and down but the invisible current is guided by links of history, culture, community and family relationship. It only proceeds in one direction that is forward.1


Nepal is the only Hindu nation of the world. Due to its geographical location it remained safe from Islamic onslaught and free from British rule. Modern Nepal dates back to 18th century, it was a monarchy. The first King of Nepal was Prithvi Narayan Shah. He established the Shah dynasty in Nepal in 1769. Nepal’s internal politics during the 18th and 19th century were marked by violence, bloodshed, and struggle for power. From 1845 to 1950 actual power was exercised by the Rana family, which established a hereditary prime ministership and reduced the shah dynasty to mere titular finger heads. Although there was some progress and modernization during the Rana regime, it remained a feudal and elitist state.2

Nepal’s long period of seclusion and lack of contact with the outside world came to an end in 1950, when democracy was established in Nepal for the first time in its history. After that Nepal established relations with the rest of the world through Ruxaul in India. Democratic relations with many countries were established during 1950’s and Nepal became a member of the United Nations at India’s initiative. In 1955, the King Tribhuvan died, his son Mahendra became the new king of Nepal. During his regime, the democratic general election was held in February, 1959.3 But, in 1960, the King Mahendra dismissed the Prime Minister B.P.Koirala and re-established Monarchy-Panchayat Rajya. In December, 1960 a Royal decree was issued, banning political parties and there activities, and dismissing Parliament and also announcing that the King had taken over direct rule. A new constitution was promulgated in December, 1962, which established the partyless Panchayat system.4 The Panchayat system survived with amendments until 1990. On November 9, 1990 the King proclaimed a constitution by which he relinquished his absolute power.5 The first general elections, under the new constitution were held in May, 1991, which resulted in the formation of a Nepali Congress government headed by G.P.Koirala. Under the new dispensation King Birendra became a constitutional monarch and Head of state. But in March 1994, a political crisis began in Nepal. In July 1994, G.P.Koirala government was defeated on a vote of thanks for the King’s address to Parliament. Prime Minister G.P.koirala resigned. On...
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