The message from the north

The HinduPublished online October 5, 2012 by The Hindu.
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After decades of dealing with the Indian hand in their country’s domestic affairs, Nepali politicians are now confronted with another assertive neighbour — China. Moving from a relatively detached approach to high-profile engagement, Beijing has now started making its views known about Nepal’s political transition.

In the past, efforts by sections of Nepali politicians to play the “China card” — by projecting China as a stakeholder to counter Indian influence and pressure New Delhi — usually failed. Both the former King, Gyanendra, and the Maoist chairman, Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda,” tried it — the former when he imposed an autocracy against Indian advice, and the latter while stoking an “ultra-nationalist” campaign.

China made it clear to both that it could not be a substitute for New Delhi. It did not show interest in getting enmeshed in the messy Kathmandu political theatre, was happy to work with any government in power, and stayed away from contentious political issues.

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