It is difficult to objectively categorise the foreign policy of a country like Nepal but that makes it even more of a reason to categorically tell where their foreign policy is headed at. When talking about Nepal, it is either in the contest of India’s historic relationship with the country or China’s ground influence on the Nepalese. But there is more than ‘India-China’ talks to it.
Nepal stands between two of the most impactful nations of the continent and has managed it considerable relationships with both the countries. But COVID-19 in the view will change a lot in terms of the dynamics that Nepal shares with the two giants. Nepal will have to strike a balance in dealing with its two giant neighbors, India and China. At the same time, Nepal must work hard to maintain cordial relations with Western powers, including the United States. Major powers such as India, China, the United States, and Germany have announced cash and logistical assistance to help Nepal deal with COVID-19. Though Nepal’s relation might not change drastically, Nepal’s ties with China are seen to be further deepened.
During the pandemic, Nepal has been overly dependent on China to arrange necessary medical logistics. Nepal is purchasing a large amount of medical supplies from China and has also received a large amount of assistance. And even the developed countries cannot provide that kind of help to Nepal due to the economic crisis and the fact that they have their own people to look after. China, even after resource constraint, will be efficiently looking after Nepal due to diplomatic ties. It won’t be entirely wrong to say that relations that Nepal shares with the superpowers are majorly due to the geography it is stuck in, not of the foreign policy.
Nepal, to be frank, does not have a set foreign policy in place. This is because it does not have freedom to do so. It is in the state of need not demand. Nepal tilts towards who provides the best for it and probably that will count as its policy. The country is in no position to negotiate.
Where Nepal needs work is finding another home as a safe house. China and India are volatile and the United States will not emerge itself in Nepal’s matter to the extent of spoiling relations with other countries. After the economic crises in India, Gulf countries, and Malaysia — which combined host millions of Nepali migrant workers — thousands of Nepali workers have already lost their jobs. Nepal now will have to find out other countries where both skilled and unskilled manpower can get employment.
The structure of Nepal’s policy is dependency. Not in a position to demand but go with the stronger option. Nepal has been successfully doing so but has somewhere forgotten that too much dependency will only loosen the soil Nepal is standing on.