FOREIGN POLICY, NEPAL
A landlocked country, Nepal was sandwiched between two
neighbors--China and India
, ch. 2).
north, the Himalayas constituted a natural and mostly
frontier, and beyond that was the border with China. To
east, and west, Nepal was hemmed in by India. Without an
the sea, Nepal was dependent on India for international
During the British Raj (1858-1947), Nepal sought
isolation. This traditional isolationism partially was the
of the relative freedom the country enjoyed from external
intervention and domination. From the mid-nineteenth
Britain emerged as the unchallenged power in India and the
Dynasty (1644-1911) in China was in decline, Nepal made
accommodations with Britain on the best possible terms.
surrendering autonomy on internal matters, Nepal received
guarantees of protection from Britain against external
(see Rana Rule
, ch. 1). London also
steady flow of Gurkha recruits from Nepal as vital to
Britain's security in India and its other colonial
In the 1950s, Nepal began a gradual opening up and a
to a policy of neutrality and nonalignment. At the 1973
the Nonaligned Movement in Algiers, King Birendra proposed
"Nepal, situated between two of the most populous
countries of the
world, wishes her frontiers to be declared a zone of
Birendra's 1975 coronation address, he formally asked
countries to endorse his proposal. Since then, the concept
as a zone of peace has become a main theme of Kathmandu's
As of mid-1991, Nepal had been endorsed as a zone of
more than 110 nations. Many of these countries also
regional approach to peace as the goal. Without the
India and the former Soviet Union, however, the prospect
international acceptance was dim.
At the beginning of the 1990s, Nepal had established
relations with approximately 100 countries. Nepal was an
member of the United Nations (UN) and participated in a
its specialized agencies. Nepal also was a founding member
South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC)
successfully negotiated several bilateral and multilateral
economic, cultural, and technical assistance programs.
its geographical proximity to and historical links with
India, Nepal's foreign policy was focused mainly on
close and friendly relations with these two countries and
safeguarding its national security and independence.
relations with the United States, Europe, and the Soviet
showed new signs of vitality in 1991.
Data as of September 1991