Why didn’t Nepal Join the Indo-Pacific Strategy (IPS)? A Critical Assessment of Nepal’s Foreign Policy Response to IPS

Author: Gaurav Bhattarai
Institution: Department of International Relations and Diplomacy (DIRD), Tribhuvan University, Katmandu, Nepal.
ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1471-5763
Author: Prakash Bista
Institution: Department of International Relations and Diplomacy (DIRD), Tribhuvan University, Katmandu, Nepal.
Author: Sudip Adhikari
Institution: Department of International Relations and Diplomacy (DIRD), Tribhuvan University, Katmandu, Nepal.
Year of publication: 2022
Source: Show
Pages: 27-43
DOI Address: https://doi.org/10.15804/ap2022.2.02
PDF: ap/26/ap2602.pdf

The significance of maritime interactions has impacted coastal and landlocked countries. Nepal’s response to the US-led Indo-Pacific Strategy (IPS) signifies the same. For Nepal, crossing seas was culturally associated with sin as an objective to fulfill the isolationist policy adopted until the political change of 1950. As such, Nepal’s interaction with the sea was not so friendly in the past. However, these historical shreds of evidence cannot suffice as the reason behind her denial of joining the IPS. Most of the available literature divulges the sensitive geographical position of Nepal in the context of the rise of China and the projection of a ‘new Cold War’ for its reluctance to join the Indo-Pacific strategy. However, they fail to probe into the domestic intricacies contributing to the hesitation. In this context, this paper primarily tries to dwell upon the actors and factors that have influenced Nepal’s dubiety in joining the Indo-Pacific Strategy. Thus, this paper aims to fulfill two objectives. First, to analyze the role of geographical sensitivity, and second, to scrutinize the domestic interplay of things. As exploratory qualitative research, this study reviews the official documents, agreements, statements, speeches, and reports from think tanks and newspapers to hypothesize that besides external factors there are integral internal elements that have played a part in Nepal’s denial to join the strategic partnership.

Nepal Indo-Pacific Strategy United States geopolitics China

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