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KP Oli dethroned and returns as Nepal's PM after 3 days

  K P Sharma Oli recently lost a vote of confidence in Parliament, leaving the country's politics under uncertainty. However, the tables were turnaround when his party returned to power just after three days. He has become Prime Minister for the third time and the 43rd Prime Minister of Nepal. The Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist-Leninist (CPN-UML), formed a minority government under the leadership of Mr. Oli after the opposition parties failed to form a coalition.
This return of Oli to the centre stage will influence the country's future political course. This continuity in the Government will significantly impact the geo-political power balance in Indo- China relationship.
The Kathmandu Valley is now witnessing several diplomatic possibilities of Himalayan proportion. The world has been keenly observing the high-profile ambassadorial visits from India and China, the neighbouring countries.
A couple of months before Chinese Defence Minister and State Councillor, Wei Fenghe and Indian Foreign Secretary, Harsh Vardhan Shringla were present in Nepal within a gap of two days.
There is ripening speculation of a significant geo-political stance in South Asia and beyond. Interestingly, they have aimed to strengthen the bilateral cooperation with the landlocked Himalayan nation. Both have chosen a time of visit when the country was very sensitive and longstanding internal intra-party dispute was threatening its peace.
During Oli's two tenures, there was a strain in Nepal-India relations. Firstly, it was the blockade at a crucial crossing on the border with India, which had halted oil and other essential supplies blocked-in Nepal obtained from its neighbour, India. This year, ties between Nepal and India hits irregular waters unprecedentedly over the Kalapani border, which Kathmandu now claims to be under its territory. It had also released a new political map showing the disputed regions of Kalapani, Lipulekh and Limpiyadhura as their own, which India rejected.
China is already taking advantage of the antagonistic relationship between Nepal and India. China has enhanced its presence in Nepal, increasing its investment and grants, especially after 2006. It is in revenge with India and western countries (including the US) aligning Nepal's pro-democracy parties to bring about radical changes. Several countries have widely criticized India's interest in Nepal's internal politics.
Nepal and China have vowed to progress on the trans-Himalayan connectivity projects under Beijing's mega Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Both the countries have announced a new height for Mount Everest, the tallest peak in the world.
At a virtual event, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his Nepalese counterpart Pradeep Kumar Gyawali announced the new height of Mount Everest at 8,848.86 meters. Kathmandu said it is an "age-old symbol" of their ties. This announcement does not surprise India since the talks regarding Mt Everest's height were going on for a while between Nepal and China. Instead India feels that the move is an "assertion by the Chinese" in India's immediate neighbourhood and their growing ties with Kathmandu. This move is yet another indication by China that it is willing to engage more deeply with Nepal and befriend the Himalayan nation while lessening New Delhi's influence in that country.
Nepal's unique position as a geo-political balancer between India and China will make it an essential ally for both India and China in the future. Whether Nepal leans towards one country or chooses to remain non-aligned will affect the future of its political and socio-economic growth trajectory.



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