In 1934, Nepal experienced one of its worst earthquakes in its modern history leaving behind large-scale damages in urban and rural areas and killing more than 4500 people in the Kathmandu valley. Since this event, the Nepalese people are aware of the tremendous risks of natural catastrophes. Today, Nepal is ranked as one of the most disaster-prone countries worldwide. Nevertheless, 81 years later it seems that the Himalayan nation was once again caught by absolute surprise. On Saturday, 25 April 2015, being obviously insufficiently prepared, the country suffered from an earthquake of enormous magnitude, leaving behind in destroyed infrastructures in several parts of the country, homes and historic buildings and many thousands of dead people. To make things worse, a series of heavy aftershocks have continued to shake Nepal, causing even more damage and havoc to the remote and increasingly isolated mountainous country. This is raises some serious questions. Continue reading “2015 Earthquake in Nepal: Mapping the Political Aftermath”
As a small, land-locked country positioned between two large and powerful neighbours, China and India, Nepal’s foreign policy has centred on the not always reconcilable task of maintaining friendly relations with both and safeguarding its national security and independence. The long, permeable border (around 1,800 km) with India has upheld a close yet sometimes acrimonious relationship between the two countries, with Nepal’s economy functioning as an appendage to that of India. Subsequently, relations between India and Nepal have not only been influenced by cultural and historical links but also by suspicion and resentment. Continue reading “India-Nepal relations and the Impact of Hindu-Nationalism”
Source: South Asia Democratic Forum (SADF), Brussels, Belgium.
Having witnessed decades of political imbroglio, Nepal is once again set to go to the polls on November 19. After 2008, it will be the second time that the electorate has to cast their ballots for a Constitutional Assembly (CA) – the country’s national parliament. However, instead of gleefully looking forward to what is meant to be a ‘feast of democracy’, sentiments of concern prevail among Nepalese and international observers. On the face of it this might seem odd because the call for an election is the logical next step now that a new constitution has been drafted. What is more, this constitution provides for higher empowerment of the people and a more stringent observance of the rule of law, which is a crucial prerequisite for national stability. However, as the polling day approaches the political situation in the country is turning increasingly murky.
Regional integration in South Asia has reached a pivotal point in time. There is no doubt, that the states and societies of the respective region have made only little progress towards cohesive, purposeful action directed towards regional cooperation. Having the reputation of being a part of the worldwide ‘Arc of Crisis’, there was a general tendency among political analysts to attest only dramatic, grim prospects to the South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC), the regional pendant to the European Union (EU). Continue reading “Regional cooperation – a view from Nepal”