Tuesday, April 18, 2006


Via Stratfor:

In an attempt to split the SPA (seven party alliance) and Maoists, the king announced in a Hindu New Year address April 13 that he would call national elections and consult with the country's political parties. The promise of elections was viewed as a complete farce, and the opposition's calls to replace the monarchy with a constitutional assembly only grew louder.

Politically, however, India has no easy options. Supporting King Gyanendra -- an autocratic monarch who has lost practically all standing with his people -- would be futile, but New Delhi also cannot afford to sit by and allow the monarchy to be overthrown, since that would provide an opening for the Maoists to take power. Since the king disbanded parliament, India has been taking its time to formulate a strategy on Nepal, but it's now clear the clock is ticking and spillover is possible. Recognizing that Nepal's fate depends primarily on the mindset of its generals, India's attention likely is fixated now on the Royal Nepalese Army (RNA). Senior army officials feel that New Delhi, formerly one of its chief suppliers, ditched the army when it cut off military aid to Nepal following the royal takeover. If New Delhi and the RNA can make peace, India might begin to draw the SPA away from the Maoists with the promise of RNA backing to topple the monarchy.

Though a military coup is likely in the cards for Nepal, such political maneuverings by the SPA and India would need time to develop. Meanwhile, the dark cloud of emergency rule hovers.

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