What is happening in Nepal?

International Jan 04, 2021

When the world was counting the final days of 2020, our neighbour Nepal was going through a political crisis. This is not new in a political arena. But a high- level Chinese delegation’s visit to Nepal, especially consisting of Vice Minister of the International Department of the Communist Party of China Guo Yezhou caught the world's attention.

Why is Nepal going through a political crisis?

On 21st December Nepali  Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli dissolved the lower house of Parliament 2 years before the end of his term. He also declared that the elections will take place in April and May 2021. This move was criticised and termed as ‘Unconstitutional’. This was a pre-emptive strike by PM K P Sharma Oli because of Increasing divide between himself and dissident leader Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda who was going to put a no-trust motion against him in the Parliament.

Why did the Chinese delegation visit Nepal?

The Chinese delegation led by Guo Yezhou visited Nepal in the last week of December. It had talks with Nepal Communist Party leaders - Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli; and his two prime rivals within, former prime ministers Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Madhav Nepal. At a media briefing in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin when asked about the Chinese visit to Nepal at such a precarious time, he denied the reasons of the visit to have any relation with the ongoing political crisis in Nepal. He stated that the delegation met both the ruling and the oppositional parties and discussed practical Belt and Road Initiative cooperation and other matters. He further added, "The Nepalese side congratulated the CPC on the upcoming 100th anniversary of its founding and expressed willingness to deepen traditional friendship,".

What is this visit being deciphered as?

China has always attempted to have a strong hold over its neighbours. This visit is being considered as a mediation attempt by China to keep the Nepal communist party in power. Various diplomats are of the view that the Chinese are not happy with this action of the Nepali PM who is known to be China leaned. Protests against China are going on as this move is being seen by the Nepali citizens as a way for China to interfere in the democratic matters of Nepal and manipulate the political atmosphere there. The Print  reported the statement of a senior political leader in Nepal which said, “This is a classic case of kissa kursi ka, just that in Nepal it is being played out with the help of another foreign party and that is the Chinese Communist Party,”

In the article ’China holds sway in Nepal as rival communist factions create crisis’ by Gopal Sharma, Rupam Jain, the statement of a senior Western diplomat was reported as “Why would a country rush a delegation to a neighbouring nation amid a pandemic? It’s rather obvious they control the internal politics of Nepal as they want to expand investments in the near future,”

This Chinese move is being called brazen and an attempt to increase its influence over Nepal. Both the countries are denying any such allegations but this rather seems as the Communist Party of China is playing the role of a mother to the Nepal Communist Party leaders as a lot is at stake for China.

This article has been written by Manasi Barve for The Paradigm

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