Nepal as the Alternative Asian Power

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The optimal exploitation of mineral resources is not an only option Nepal possesses. Fueled by the unique circumstances engendered by  the forces of excessively interdependent modern global society, the world politics is gradually acquiring the momentum of a new narrative i.e. the narrative of geo-strategies of a nation.

Nepal, wedged between China and India, undeniably holds the power of manipulating regional geo-politics if the Nepalese leaders act timely, not just as the ordinary politicians but as the geo-politicians. This approach can be seen applied aptly during the time of the first Prime Minister of Nepal, Bhimsen Thapa in early nineteenth century.  He had, with great effort, tried to forge an alliance with the Maratha  and other states across the Indian Sub-continent.

No sooner did Bhimsen Thapa sense that the war against the British was inevitable than he began feel the strong  urgency of a regional alliance that could be comprised of the Sub-continental states which were largely made dependent in every  dimension, particularly on the economic  as  well  as military strength, by the British empire.  The   Punjab and the  Maratha  principalities were in his eyes.

They could, at least, be part of the pact. However, he had already irked them including rest of the regional princely states due to his ambitious westward expansionist expedition for greater Nepal.

In the first place, as historians highlight, he got to reach out to the possible allies. Thapa, with the proposal of  building a league, sent an epistle to the Scindia of  Maratha in Gwalior who out rightly put forward the condition  that if Ranjit Singh of Punjab, the so-called “Lion of Lahore” agreed to the proposal. But the Punjab principality was badly insulted by the Gorkhas  during the annexation of Kumao and Garhwal. So, Ranjit Singh did not ally with the Gorkhas.

As the British confirmed that neither the French power without Napoleon nor the regional states were inclined to come in support of Nepal under Bhimsen Thapa, the British, unleashing its worst, opened five fronts against barely-built country Nepal.

Then, at the strategic point, apparently for the survival purpose, Gorkhas resorted to agree with whatever conditions the British put forward before them in 1816 and the infamous Sugauley Treaty took place between the warring parties.   
  
Having said that, it can be presumed that Nepal in today’s world can still  be  a regional power if the plausible proposal put forward before the rest of the Asian states on  behalf of the prosperity, regional security  and maintaining South Asia-Pacific  regional balance. 

So, more than 1500 km of the border with India and around the same length of the Sino-Nepal border, Nepal can be a game changer in the furnace of Asia Pacific Theater of global politics. Energy hungry India and market hungry China is the permanent launching pad for hurling Nepalese economy to the higher level.

Nepal’s agonizingly slower revenue increments and sluggish economic growth is the outcome of the poor quality leadership the politicians exert in regard with its geo-strategic location and the resultant worst infrastructure developments.

So, it’s no amazement to put that its geo-strategic importance for external powers and cooperation on infrastructure development with other countries will be key sources of revenue for Nepal.

As a result, Nepal will register more than 8% GDP growth on average for the next thirty years. Nonetheless, at the present scenario, Nepal’s economy lacks diversification as the agricultural and industrial sectors are marginal. Economic growth has yet to result in the reduction of poverty and job creation.

Equally important is cooperation between Nepal and other countries on infrastructural projects such as railways, roads, power supply, trade and enhancing the capacity of the existing export-import facilities in Nepal--dry port services for the import and export for the Sino-South Asian trade can offer Nepal the lucrative lump of foreign currencies for its forex reserve.

Nepal might face some minor geo-political risks related to its national sovereignty.  But even that looks a rarest incident in the remote future because neither China nor India is ready to wage wars against each other on settling their disputed issues, especially their border disputes.

Neither of these Asian giants can generate their strategic vulnerability by waging war against Nepal in  the invasion for annexation. India needs Nepal more than any other country in the region for balancing myriads of unsettled ethno-political and historical disputes rampant across Indian political territory. cont.