Officially KINGDOM OF NEPAL, Nepali NEPAL ADHIRAJYA country of Asia,
lying along the southern slopes of the Himalayan mountain ranges. It is
a landlocked country located between India to the east, south, and west
and the Tibet Autonomous Region of China to the north. Its territory,
which has an area of 56,827 square miles (147,181 square kilometres),
extends roughly 500 miles (800 kilometres) from east to west and 90 to
150 miles from north to south. The capital is Kathmandu.
Nepal, long under the rule of hereditary prime ministers favouring a
policy of isolation, remained closed to the outside world until a palace
revolt in 1950 restored the crown's authority in 1951; the country
gained admission to the United Nations in 1955. In 1991 the kingdom
established a multiparty parliamentary system.
Wedged between two giants, India and China, Nepal seeks to keep a
balance between the two countries in its foreign policy--and thus to
remain independent. A factor that contributes immensely to the
geopolitical importance of the country is the fact that a strong Nepal
can deny China access to the rich Gangetic Plain; Nepal thus marks the
southern boundary of the Chinese sphere north of the Himalayas in Asia.
As a result of its years of geographic and self-imposed isolation,
Nepal is one of the least developed nations of the world. In recent
years many countries, including India, China, the United States, the
United Kingdom, Japan, Denmark, Germany, Canada, and Switzerland, have
provided economic assistance to Nepal. The extent of foreign aid to
Nepal has been influenced to a considerable degree by the strategic
position of the country between India and China.
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