Nepal is celebrating the end of a 240-year-old monarchy and the beginning of a republic. While this transition is a welcome one, India should also get moving on the strategic front.
The repeated assertions by Maoist leader Prachanda about the world’s youngest republic maintaining “equidistance” between India and China has rung alarm bells in New Delhi. If not in its sphere of influence, most of India’s neighbours enjoy warm relations with its great rival, China. Perhaps that warmth is too great for New Delhi’s liking.
There is, however, nothing that prevents India from gaining the confidence and friendship of these countries. Its economic strength should enable it to wage in serious economic diplomacy to match China’s success.
In Nepal, India should not make the mistakes it has made in places such as Myanmar and Africa.
The decision earlier this month to allow cement to be exported to Nepal suggests that India has started taking this route. It should follow up with many more such steps to increase goodwill.