The underlying Nepali perception of how we view our neighbors and other power-players will be challenged by this book.


Any reader who goes through the first page of the book will find themselves more enthusiastic and remain fixed in attention throughout the entire seven chapters, titles and pages of 'Nepal's Instability Conundrum- Navigating Political, Military, Economic and Diplomatic landscape' written by retired Major General Purna B Silwal of Nepali Army, who has adequately diagnosed the subject and recommends antidotes for overarching national interest challenges within our international and regional strategic environment.

Though the aforementioned challenge is more or less known to every Nepali, Silwal has illustrated with clarity through his in-depth research work which would assist the reader to recalculate the past and predict the future.

Silwal has further captured entire linkages that Nepal has suffered at the hands of 'instability' and has unfolded major powers' strategic interests intertwined that are likely to grow further with time. The book is a 'must read' also because it is an updated unbiased comprehensive analysis by one of the most professional military writers of this time.

The author exhibits astounding success in digging up diverse issues as laid out in the book title that encompass elements concerning both the neighbors. He outlines core national interests and adds that these specific areas of concern cannot be compromised at any cost. He rather has advised political leaders to rise above petty party interest or regime interest, and defines with clarity by indicating as to how our rulers and the political leaders drew foreign interference and meddling for their political advantage that ultimately resulted in the current quagmire.

The book illustrates ideas which have so far been left out during discourses concerning development of our country. It is, thus, a must read for all officers and especially for the political leaders.

As the chapters progress, the readers can sense how the writer theorizes that the 'interest of the neighbors will be achieved in the security and the promotion of Nepal's interest'. He has introduced a new concept of 'Prithivian Trinity' which had emerged much earlier in our history – that is comparable to a German strategic thinker Clausewitzian's Trinity of Government, People and Army – which has been given a special place in his book till the end, which he argues is the panacea of all existing troubles and country's exasperating destiny.

What one can also draw from the book is the worrying situation emerging out because of the probability of Nepal sacrificing its own interest while serving the interest of powerful countries. The fluid socio-political situation that prevailed during the decade long transition failed to establish new acceptable national values. The writer accolades Prithivi' Narayan Shah's 'royal teaching', and presents it with greater clarity on national interest, unity, patriotism, social harmony, export-based industries, corruption control among others.

Recurring Indian interest in Nepal has roots in the colonial legacy and Delhi had proposed several hidden proposals to each of our multiple regimes. BP Koirala had warned the neighbours on one such occasion. Later on, another such occurance was noted during King Birendra's regime when Indian foreign secretary delegation had presented an eighty page long proposal.

The writer warns of, and highlights the lessons that can be learnt from the past.

I would strongly recommend the readers to read and understand the conspiracies against our sovereignty as the book works toward revealing truths on how the national political elements were serving foreign interests at various points in history. The official quotes of many personalities in the book provide adequate evidences to back the same.

The writer's objectivity qualifies factual substantiation of 'no hope for stability in immediate future due to open border situation with India, foreign interference and direct meddling in Nepal's internal affairs; and the economic and political dependency'. It can be noted that King Gyanendra's failure to secure twin pillar system against combined internal and external challenges had become new departure line of current conundrum. Hence, Silwal warns of, and highlights the lessons that can be learnt from the past.

The book typifies different epochs of time of instability and relates the behaviours of both the neighbors – India and China. The maximisation of Indian political interest in Nepal due to latter's inter agency – inter party (including King) feuds had further aggravated the problem after 1990. Even after issuance of the new Constitution in 2015, the book warns of a potential 'instability' within the federal structure on several issues, mainly the political system, secularism, ethnicity, caste and citizenship related issues, along with the intent of making Nepal a pro-India country and distancing it from China. Readers can understand and compare the relationship of Nepal's political instability with China and India and their interests.

Now, the water flows further downstream.

India's meddling in Nepal's internal affairs and the contentious issues such as water sharing, border encroachments, citizenship issue in Madhes, open border situation, the Treaty of Peace and Friendship of 1950, EPG report, among others -- for instance India's supposed security concern or interest in Nepal -- remain as long standing complex issues, no political party in power has proved effective in resolving which.

The writer comes into sight for a great journey to make his readers realise his worth in navigating four dimensions of Nepal's instability, and to understand why and how India has burned the bridge of 'Nepal India special relationship'. He derisively questions the premises of the said special relations, while relating harsh Indian blockades that brought about wretchedness to Nepalis where the latter enjoys a secure border by employing many of our brave sons and the country is top on the list of remittance sending countries to India due to their migrant workers in Nepal.

The foreign policy prescription on a Tripod (balancing relations with US, China and India) is a central message fundamental for Nepal's survivability in geostrategic milieu where many of the interests between India and the US converge. With every bit of government strategy, the support from domestic stakeholders will be needed. The interpretations on civil military relations in the book give us enough lessons of history to institutionalise democracy.

The book confers a certain intuition that 'Nepal's Instability Conundrum' is, and will remain, critical. To address diverse socio-political, economic and security issues of times of yore, a charismatic visionary leadership and democratic culture with 'interest-based foreign policy' are needed. The writer is hopeful of a sacrifice of political leaders to make this country great again emboldened with national unity and economic nationalism.

I have not yet read any updated books written by a Nepali writer candidly speaking on country's strategic issues. This book should be widely read by national and international readers to give a thought on what the author projects as the 'ways and means' to achieve the 'ends' through his writing for Nepal's wellness and survivability.

Furthermore, this books also illustrates ideas which have so far been left out during discourses concerning development of our country. It is, thus, a must read for all officers and especially for the political leaders.

The underlying Nepali perception of how we view our neighbors and other power-players will be challenged by this book while it also serves as a timeline which could be beneficial for our policy makers.

The author is a retired Brigadier General of the Nepali Army