Nepal’s monarchy, a 250-year-old institution that came to an end in 2008 when the king was finally reduced to civilian status, had been China’s trustworthy ally. But the June 2001 massacre of Nepal’s royal family served as a blow to Beijing’s ruling elites. Gyanendra, after seizing power in 2005, tried to play the so-called ‘China card’ by recommending China as a member of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation during the organisation’s 13th summit in Dhaka in 2005, but the move backfired. It angered India, who in turn engineered a deal between then underground Maoists and the parliamentary parties, heralding the end of the monarchy.
After joining the peace process in 2006, Nepal’s Maoists, who draw their ideology from the Great Helmsman, began to cosy up to China. Several senior Maoist leaders visited China and the Chinese, in turn, sent delegates to Kathmandu, causing jitters in New Delhi, which maintained that such exchanges were under its exclusive domain. Nepal’s Drift