As speculation rages on about how Nepal’s PM K P Oli-led government survived a political scare last week, the country’s foreign minister, Kamal Thapa, admitted that ‘circumstantial evidence’ possibly suggests a Chinese role. He did not however comment on whether India had any role in trying to topple the government - a charge earlier levelled by Oli’s aides.
In an interview with BBC Nepali service, Thapa was asked about reports that China played a role in saving the K P Oli government and about meetings Chinese officials reportedly had with Maoist leaders. Thapa first made light of the speculation, “It is said that leaves don’t turn if there is no wind. But Nepal is a country where leaves turn on their own even when there is no wind. I am seeing that tendency here.”
But he then added, “There is no authoritative basis. There is a lot of noise about this outside. I spoke to concerned leaders about this. They don’t share the proof which would substantiate this, but circumstantial evidence provides room for some suspicion that this may have happened.”
On Tuesday, HT had first reported how Chinese ‘advice’, according to Nepali leaders, was a factor in tilting the balance. Maoist chairman Prachanda first declared he would withdraw from the government and then changed his mind overnight. Multiple sources confirmed to HT that Chinese wanted Oli’s ‘left alliance’ to stay on in power. Prachanda, however, denied to HT that Chinese influence had any role in his decision - though he did not deny that China wanted the current government to stay.
When Thapa was asked whether India was involved in efforts to topple the government, he said, “There is a lot of discussion about this outside. But as the foreign minister of the country, it will not be appropriate for me to comment on the noise outside. I have no information about this.”