Country of the World Nepal

About the country Nepal, its location, size, population, leaders and rulers.

NATIONS AND THEIR RULERS

NEPAL

NITTY-GRITTY

Lay of the Land: Like a craggy stone wedged tight between two enormous boulders, the landlocked kingdom of Nepal is situated precariously between India to the east, west, and south and Chinese-occupied Tibet to the north. The region is literally the top of the world, the Himalayas being the highest of all mountain ranges, and Nepal's Mt. Everest towers above all others at 29,028 ft.

Size: 54,362 sq. mi. (140,798 sq. km.), a little larger than Arkansas.

Population: 13 million.

Who Rules: The king, currently Birendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev, rules with a degree of power exercised by few of the world's remaining kings. Political parties have been outlawed since 1960, the country's Parliament is virtually powerless, and the king can amend the constitution almost at will.

Who REALLY Rules: The king, but under extraordinary outside pressure. As one of its prime ministers used to say, Nepal is more than landlocked-it is "India-locked." The kingdom's cultural and political ties with India go back more than a millennium, to the days when Nepal served as asylum for many Indian Buddhists who fled there in the wake of Muslim invaders. Today Nepal depends on India for 90% of its foreign trade and the bulk of its foreign aid. The Indians are also planning to take part financially in the building of two huge electrical power projects in northwestern Nepal; since the projects will generate far more energy than the Nepalese could ever use, most of it will go to northern India. The 1975 annexation by India of Sikkim, which shares a portion of Nepal's eastern border, has caused considerable consternation among the Nepalese.

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