With the ballots cast and the year winding down, we recognize Nepal as Oxford’s Place of the Year 2015. The country came into the global spotlight back in April, when a devastating earthquake took over 9,000 lives and left hundreds of thousands of people homeless. Months later, critics point at the slow-moving recovery process that has still a far way to go before Nepal can resume normal operations.
Diplomatic ties strained when fuel supplies began to dwindle in Nepal, causing food shortages. The Nepali government blamed India for placing an unofficial trade blockade after it passed a new constitution that would result in the underrepresentation of certain groups in governing bodies. With this now-strained relationship, China is taking the opportunity to provide fuel to Nepal instead, a gesture which will inevitably build China-Nepal relations.
It has not been an easy year for Nepal, and it’s unlikely that things will ease up in 2016; because a fault line sits in Nepal between Katmandu and India, the risk of earthquakes always looms large. In terms of the foreign policy issues that Nepal faces, it’s hard to say what will come of it. Building diplomatic ties with any country takes considerable effort, and considerably less to destroy it. Only time will tell what will come of this.
Read up on our Place of the Year archive, and remember to check back for more posts about Nepal and the other contenders. Let us know what you think of this year’s Place of the Year in the comments below, or use #PotY2015 on social media.
Headline Image Credit: Kathmandu from Nagarjuna. Photo by Sharada Prasad CS. CC BY 2.0 via Flickr.