The sudden dissolution of the House of Representatives (HoR) and ensuing split in the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) has astonished both domestic and external observers alike. There is no dearth of people, who see the current turmoil as the fallout of big powers’ rivalry on the Nepali soil. But this line of thought appears defective, and at the same time it also exposes the nation’s eroding sovereignty and ability to handle the tricky internal dynamics. But what is true is that the foreign players have come to the scene as the Himalayan nation again risks turning into the state of ‘controlled instability.’
Just recently, a delegation of Communist Party of China (CPC) made a whirlwind trip to Nepal and met the leaders of both factions of NCP as well as the opposition parties. Many interpreted China’s diplomatic activism as its desperate attempt to prevent the split of the NCP. The Indian and Western media outlets and experts tried to build a narrative of Chinese intervention in the internal affairs of Nepal but a spokesman of the Chinese foreign ministry refuted such accusation and stated that China had no policy of interfering in the domestic affairs of other nations. Nepali politics has already turned haywire before the Chinese delegation, led by Vice Minister of CPC’s International Department Guo Yezhou, arrived here. As the media reported, the Chinese team tried to navigate the shifting sands of Nepali politics and its geopolitical implications. They also enquired about the possibility of the unity within the fractured NCP. The Chinese leaders listened to the views of Nepali leaders more and put forth their own less before them.
But Chinese concerns are conspicuous in the wake of emerging political mess in Nepal. China has been repeatedly calling for stability, sovereignty and strong government in Nepal for two reasons. First, a predictable stability ensures the smooth functioning of large numbers China-aided projects in Nepal. Second, the anti-Chinese forces could abuse the Nepali territory to create ‘anarchy’ in Tibet, if Nepal is mired into another round of instability and loses capacity to handle the domestic challenges and foreign interference. A stable and prosperous Nepal is also equally in the interest of India because a weak Nepali state always poses a security threat to the former owing to their open, porous and unregulated border.
There are reasons why the CPC has shown its increasing interest in the NCP’s internal dispute. Both have comradely ties since Mao’s time. Nepali communist parties and CPC have developed their relations based on the principles of communist internationalism and shared their experiences and ideas to benefit the peoples of both nations.
Even if the CPC has maintained balanced ties with virtually all parties, the world’s largest communist party, under its charismatic general secretary and President Xi Jinping, has shown soft heart for the ruling communist and socialist parties across the world - from Laos to Nepal and Cuba to Venezuela. So it is no surprise to see China getting upset with the fall of NCP government that had mustered sweeping popular mandate in the 2017 federal elections.