Nepal is a Hindu state, which lie along the southern slopes of the Himalayan Mountain Range. The Kingdom of Nepal is a landlocked country, with India on its southern, eastern and western borders and the Tibetan autonomous region of the Peoples Republic of China to the north. Its territory extends roughly 500 miles (800 kms) from east to west and 90 to 150 miles from north to south. While Nepal’s border with China comprises of rough mountainous terrain, its border region with India is suitable for transportation and trade since the region is a low, flat plain Tarai region, with a 10-mile wide and 500 miles long stretch of fertile agricultural land.The rest of the country comprises of the rugged and mountainous terrain with varying height ranging from 4000 feet to the Great Himalaya Range, which rises to more than 29,000 feet, with the Mount Everest peak being the highest in the world. In 1991 the kingdom established a multiparty parliamentary system. In 2008, however, after a decade-long period of violence and a long series of desultory peace talks with the Maoist insurgency, the monarchy was dissolved, and Nepal was declared a democratic republic.Nepal’s economy is mainly dependent on foreign economic aid. Nepal receives substantial amounts of economic assistance from India, China, the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, and other smaller rich Western countries. Mainly, Nepal’s neighbouring states have remained interested in offering the country a helping hand in terms of economic assistance due to its strategic position between India and China. Due to Nepal’s geographically landlocked position, the country depends on India for trade with the outside world. However, due to India’s hegemonic policies in South Asia, Nepal remains subject to New Delhi’s predatory conduct. In order to keep its political influence in Nepal intact, India’s uses various covert and overt means. Whenever Nepal has failed to conform to India’s assertive policies on trade and has endeavoured to improve its bilateral relations with China as a potential counterweight to New Delhi, India has closed Nepal’s trade routes, forcing the country to fall in line to survive economically.Due to India’s hegemonic policies in South Asia, Nepal remains subject to New Dehli’s predatory conductFor, example, in March 1989, when two major trade treaties between India and Nepal concluded, instead of renewing the treaties, India closed 15 of the 17 major land trade routes to Nepal for more than three weeks, thus putting Nepal’s fragile economy under pressure since the country relies on India for all of its petroleum and 35 percent of its other major imports. In 1988 Nepal made plans to purchase military equipment from China. During that period, the Nepalese government also announced that it was imposing restrictions on Indian residents and business people present in Nepal to limit New Delhi’s interference in the country. However, India on its part considered Nepal’s efforts to limit its influence and clout over the country a betrayal. In retaliation, India blocked all trade routes of Nepal using the pretext that all bilateral trade treaties had expired. Since then Nepal’s sovereignty and trade links remain under Indian threat, for any effort on the former’s part to limit the latter’s political clout in the country could have repercussions for its economy.It’s a known fact that India uses its widely present intelligence resources in Nepal to engineer political and social unrest in a bid to destabilise the country to keep its government under pressure. For instance, in 2015 India made concerted efforts to incite the Nepalese people of the border region. This was largely done on the pretext that it was Nepal’s government which was following predatory policies that directly and indirectly were undermining the interest of Nepal’s people. In consequence Nepalese population suffered a lot economy. This happened at a time when money was particularly scarce and the country was facing economic hardships due to the devastating effects of an earthquake. Hence, Nepal remains at the receiving end of India’s political interference and coercive policies which continue to ensure that Nepal’s image of a client state remains intact.However, Nepal has sought to ensure that the country maintains its sovereignty. To this end, Nepal has made strides to diversify its foreign policy to avoid overdependence on India. Strategically, this is a good policy to follow considering India’s history of interference in the internal affairs of its neighbouring states.This fact is evident from New Delhi’s militaristic policies and interventions in Sri Lanka and the Maldives. The Nepalese people are proud of their history and it’s a country that has never compromised its sovereignty. Nepal continues to defy India’s hegemonic policies and other outside pressures. Recently, a huge crowd of protesters marched in Kathmandu to protest against India’s interventionist policies.Although the Nepalese people are bravely struggling to get rid of Indian imperialism, to effectively withstand India’s hegemonic pressures, it is important that all other South Asian countries should also support Nepal’s sovereignty. This can be done by strengthening the role of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and by allowing China to become a regular member of the forum as a counterbalance to India.The writer is an ex-army officer and a former Research Fellow of Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI), IslamabadPublished in Daily Times, April 10th 2018.