Even as the relationship between Nepal and India is going through a rough patch about disputed border territory, bilateral ties received a new jerk when Nepal Prime Minister KP Oli dissolved parliament on December 20, setting elections for April and May.
Inadvertently, Nepal’s political instability and internal power games have brought attention to the strained state of the country’s crucial relationship with India.
Oli’s decision led to disconcertion in some quarters in India. For instance, in an article in the Tribune, Shyam Saran, India’s former ambassador to Nepal, fretted about what this would mean for New Delhi’s interests. “Far from maintaining Indian influence in Nepal, we shall end up marginalised,” he warned.
Even China – Nepal’s giant northern neighbour – is concerned by the developments in Kathmandu. Newspapers have reported that Chinese ambassador Hou Yanqi has held several meetings with Nepali political leaders.
India is wary of this. In his article, Saran described Yanqi as an “activist-ambassador” and claimed that the Chinese were “playing referee” in an attempt to resolve the dispute between factions of the ruling Nepal Communst Party that led to Oli’s decision.