If one read Jonathan Gregson's excellent book Massacre at the Palace: The Doomed Royal Dynasty of Nepal, one would learn that the present King has long been prophesized to be the last in the Shah dynasty.
Political events in contemporary Nepal are seemingly in conspiracy with ancient prophecy.
Having overturned democracy, the King has not only alienated his own people but also India, UK, and the US (the troika). Fighting for his survival, per Indian Express, he's now turned to China for arms.
There will be some Indians who'll see this as a threat to our influence in Kathmandu. Consequently, they might argue India dilute its adamant pro-democracy stance and re-engage militarily with the King.
In our judgment, this would be a myopic mistake. The King is increasingly irrelevant to Nepal's affairs. Betting on him, as China is, is betting against his people. Such a bet is not only bogus on principle, it lacks pragmatism too.
Our key focus ought to be on the attitude of Nepal's army to its King. Yes, the army -- long-time ally of India's own -- is waging a vicious war on the Maoists, and probably feels vulnerable without Indian and British support. On the other hand, their loyalty to the King over the people is not clear. If the King were to be somehow removed from the scene in favor of a troika-supported democratic order, we suspect the army would go along.
If we were the King, this would make us very nervous. His overtures to China should likely be seen in this context. It's hard for us to believe that China is ready to commit troops to Nepal (if it came to that) for propping up an unpopular King. Given its economic arc and the upcoming Olympics in Beijing, China surely does not need a bellicose confrontation with the leading democracies of the world.
If China were to be foolish enough to get involved here, it'll tie down a great many of its troops in a Hindu land that doesn't really like invaders too much. This ain't going to be Tibet, but more like Afghanistan was for USSR. We might even see Beijing boycotted in 2008 like Moscow was in 1980. Is the Shah dynasty really worth such a high price for China?
The King probably knows this too. All he's got left, therefore, are desperate threats that everyone knows are empty. Too bad he overplayed his cards against democracy, and by construction, India. Gorakhnath's 18th century prophesy might well come true now in very short order.
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