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Editorial: Tread with caution

Editorial: Tread with caution
A close neighbor and a very good friend of Nepal, India is currently holding the G20 Summit featuring global and regional powers like the US, China, India, the United Kingdom, South Africa and France. This event points at the emergence of India as a force to reckon with in a comity of nations, though the presidency of G20, representing around 85 percent of the global GDP, over 75 percent of the global trade, and about two-thirds of the world population, is part of a rotating arrangement. Remarkably, the summit comes at a time of heightened international tensions, marked by the Russia-Ukraine war, worsening relations between the US and China, India and China, among others.

In such a forum, war of words between the countries that otherwise do not see eye to eye is but natural. Such exchanges surely have much more than entertainment value, though.

The exchanges happening just across the border offer us a golden opportunity to observe a fast-changing world and its evolving power equations from a vantage point, and ask ourselves as to what threats and opportunities await us when the world seems to be at the cusp of a Cold War 2.0. Amid signs of winds of change sweeping the world yet again, it will also be worthwhile to have a brief look into Nepal’s contemporary history marked by some epoch-making changes. Political transformations in Nepal have always coincided with important changes in the international order, whether it’s in the 1950s, the 1990s or the early-to-mid-2000s. But let’s not see these events just as tornados sweeping the world making a landfall in Nepal. Successive generations of Nepalis have aspired for ideals like democracy, human rights and dignity, rule of law, a better future and a prosperous Nepal. These changes are reflections of Nepali aspirations, though it will be naive to separate Nepali consciousness from global consciousness and undermine the power of global waves of change. As the world is no longer a collection of isolated isles, geopolitics and geostrategy will surely have a more profound bearing, especially on small, medium-sized and instability-plagued countries like Nepal. What should worry our rulers, though, is that Nepal and the Nepalis have not arrived, as yet, despite political movements. Worryingly, recent years have seen the global push and pull factors in full play, threatening to dislodge Nepal, a country located between two emerging giants, from its coveted position of avowed neutrality. If the past is any guide, rulers’ tilt toward one or the other camp has ended up further weakening national sovereignty. Events like the G20 should inspire our rulers to negotiate turbulent waters of international diplomacy with extreme caution.