Flashback 2016: How Nepal fared politically, its relationship with neighbours and much more...

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Kathmandu, Dec 27: Politically unstable Nepal saw a change in guard in 2016 with 'Prachanda' becoming the Prime Minister of the Himalayan nation, but the crisis persists over the new Constitution that sparked violence in Terai region bordering India with which Kathmandu's ties improved steadily paving way for President Pranab Mukherjee's maiden visit.

[Also Read: Nepali President urges parties to back constitutional amendment]

The year began on a turbulent note as the unrest spilled over from the previous year over the Madhesi demands for greater political control following promulgation of the new Constitution in September last year.

Nepal

Over 50 people were killed during the months long violent agitation by Madhesis who blocked a key border trade points with India, resulting in shortage of essential supplies in Nepal and causing hardships to its people.

The unofficial border blockade was finally lifted on the southern frontier with India on January 5 with a brief clash between Indian traders and agitating Madhesis. On January 23, the Nepalese Parliament endorsed bills for amending three clauses of the Constitution to incorporate the demands of the disgruntled Madhesi groups.

The amendment included provisions such as proportionate and inclusive representation of all marginalised communities including the Madhesis in all state mechanisms and allocation of seats in the Parliament on the basis of population.

Prime Minister KP Oli visited India in February. Prior to the visit the pro-China premier had said that he would only visit India if the unofficial blockade was lifted. During Oli's six-day India visit, he met President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and other important leaders.

Two MoUs each worth USD 1 billion were signed between Nepal and India. The first USD 1 billion line of credit assistance was announced during Modi's visit to Nepal and the second USD 1 billion assistance was announced during Swaraj's visit to Nepal for rebuilding after the quake.

Oli paid an official visit to China in third week of March, during which Nepal and China signed 10 agreements to boost economic cooperation that includes, an agreement to facilitate trade and transit between the two neighbours, concessional loan for constructing Pokhara Regional Airport and an economic and technical cooperation agreement.

President Vidya Bhandari's proposed visit to India was cancelled in May as the cabinet did not endorse her travel plans and the government recalled its envoy to India Deep Kumar Upadhyaya, escalating tensions in bilateral ties.

India had witnessed a strain in bilateral ties after the adoption of a new Constitution by Nepal that divided the tiny nation into seven provincial units and marginalised Madhesis, who are largely of Indian-origin and inhabitants of the Terai.

PTI 

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