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Political Changes in Nepal and Bhutan: Emerging Trends in Foreign Policy in Post 2008 Period

Nihar R Nayak is Research Fellow at Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi. Click here for detailed profile.
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  • Monograph No. 72

    The two Himalayan states—Nepal and Bhutan—adopted a new political system in 2008. Nepal upgraded the existing multiparty system by excluding the monarchy. Therefore, Nepal had Constituent Assembly elections in May 2008. Similarly, keeping pace with the geopolitical changes in the Himalayas, Bhutan adopted democracy with constitutional monarchy under the new Constitution. These changes had an impact on their approach to diplomatic relations. In Nepal, there was a strong domestic demand to adopt a new set of foreign policies to negotiate bilateral issues with other countries as an equal partner, diversify investment market for rapid economic growth, and re-negotiate the existing treaties.
    Bhutan wanted to build a new image at the global level by ending the traditional approach of depending on others. In this regard, the key foreign policy drivers of Bhutan have been: (I) diversifying investment sources by reducing dependence on foreign aid, and (II) adopting a proactive role in climate change negotiation, and popularising the concept of Gross National Happiness. In this context, the Monograph analyses new trends in the foreign policy approach of elected governments of these Himalayan countries under the new political arrangement.

    About the Author

    Dr Nihar R. Nayak is Research Fellow with MP-IDSA, New Delhi. His area of expertise is climate change impact in the Himalayas, Maoist conflict, political violence, and cooperative security in South Asia. Dr Nayak has completed Ph.D. in International Politics from Jawaharlal Nehru University. He was Visiting Fellow to PRIO, Oslo, in 2006 and 2007. He did a special course on Peace Research in International Summer School from the University of Oslo in 2007. He was Visiting Faculty at the Center for the Study of Nepal, Faculty of Social Science, Banaras Hindu University in 2011. He was also Guest Faculty at LBSNAA, Mussoorie from 2006 to 2011. Dr Nayak has both national and international publications including the book Strategic Himalayas: Republican Nepal and External Powers.

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