January 2023 Analysis: National Security & Climate Change

Posted by : Prabisha Basnet


Date : 2023-01-30

On 15th January, 2023; Yeti airlines carrying 68 passengers along with the 4 crew members got crashed. The further investigation regarding the crash of the airplane is on the process after the discovery of the black box. The halted feasibility study of Kerung- Kathmandu railway, one of the project of the BRI has started after the visit of the Chinese team in the late December. This year, Nepal experienced less snowfall as the result of the climate change.

Timeline of Major Events 

Date Events
15 January Yeti Airlines Plane boarding with 68 passengers along with 4 crew members got crashed
16 January Black box ofcrashed Yeti Airlines discovered
19 January Feasibility study of Kerung- Kathmandu has began
27 January Less snow in Mountains of Nepal this year

Railways, the Connecting dots of Nepal with the two Powerful States

With the visit of the Chinese team on the late December, the halted feasibility study for the proposed Kerung- Kathmandu cross border railway has begun. The construction of Kerung- Kathmandu cross border railway was planned in the March 2016 when the then Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli visited China and signed the Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation with China. This proposed railway line is expected to be connected with 550KM railroad from the Tibetan city of Shigatse to Kerung near the Nepal- China border. The two countries had agreed to conduct feasibility study on October, 2019 when the Chinese President Xi Jinping visited to Nepal. But due to the Covid, the feasibility study and further work on the implementation of the project was halted. The ongoing feasibility study is expected to be completed within 42 months.
Likewise, India has also been conducting the detailed feasibility study on the proposed Raxaul- Kathmandu railway. This proposed Raxaul-Kathmandu railway is expected to be 114KM long and has been planned to pass through Jitpur, Nijgadh, Sikharpur, Sisneri and Sathikhel and then connect to Chobhar in Kathmandu. The reports on the detailed study along with the final location survey of this railway project is planned to be submitted in April or May of this year. Hence, the work has been going rapidly as compared to the Kerung- Kathmandu cross border railway.
The two proposed railway from the powerful neighboring countries at the almost same time showcases the competition to win the influence over Nepal. Nepal is geopolitically situated in such a way that it has been attracting the two powerful states towards it. If only Nepal could maintain the balance relationship with these two states then it might result into advantageous situation for Nepal. If the given railway line is constructed in these areas, Nepal could expand its trade with more cities of these countries and improve the economic status of the country. Moreover, China has also planned to construct Nepal- China cross border transmission line in the proposed Kerung- Kathmandu railway line. This development plan is also expected to create an opportunity for Nepal to establish power trade with China. Hence, it is yet to see how Nepal expands its relationship with India and China along with the further development of the proposed project.

Is the Airways safe in Nepal?

On 15th January 2023, Yeti airline’s ATR-72 from Kathmandu to Pokhara carrying 68 passengers along with 4 crew members got crashed between the old airport and Pokhara International airport. No survival were reported on the crash. The further investigation related to the crash is going on as the black box of the crashed airplane was found on the next day of the crash. The black box is planned to be sent to the France for further investigations. The team of experts of the ATR manufacturer has reached Nepal on 17th January to investigate upon the cause of the crash.
This is not the first airplane crash that has been reported on Nepal. According to the news published by Republica, ‘since 2006, 16 plane and helicopter has crashed in Nepal killing the number of passengers.’ Nepal’s poor and unpredictable weather, human errors and the aircrafts technical glitches as well as the poor aviation safety measures has been found as the factor for the recurring crashes in Nepal. With such glitches and defaults of the aviation company, the people from the foreign countries will fear to travel to Nepal. This factor is highly expected to impact on the tourism industry of Nepal. It is no doubt that due to the negligence of the aviation industries, the European Union had imposed ban on Nepali airlines flying in the European airspace.
The Pokhara International airport was inaugurated on 1st January, 2023. It was just the 15days after the inauguration that the airplane got crashed. So, this has brought up the discussions on whether the Nepal’s airport are safe to travel on. Likewise, the crash has also highlighted the need of the detailed feasibility study before the beginning of any development projects. The latest crash is expected to affect the arrival of the people in Nepal from the foreign land and this is where Nepal should learn to properly plan its development work before implementing it.

Climate change challenges the Nepal’s beauty

On 24th January 2023, Nepal experienced first snowfall of this year. The snow fall is expected in Nepal within the months of December -February. But this year, it snowed only at the end of the January. According to the reports of the study conducted by International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) since 1970’s, the average snow covered in the Northern Hemisphere has decreased by 1.5 percent per decade. And hence, in coming years it is expected to decrease by more percentage.
The factors like no winter rainfall, climate change and rise in the temperature are some of the main factors for causing less snow in the Himalayan region. The pre and the peak of the winter this year, didn’t experience any drops of rainfall which ultimately resulted in limited snowfall in the mountainous region of Nepal. Likewise, the rise in everyday temperature is gradually melting the snow of the snow covered mountains. Hence, the mountains are slowly becoming barren.
Not only in Nepal but overall in the world, the rate of snowfall has been decreasing. The climate change not only hampers the beauty of the country but also it affects the survival of the people, animals and vegetation of that particular region. As snow acts as a natural reservoir, the less snowfall will bring the problems like limited water for irrigation, less drinking water and also problems in hydroelectricity generation. Fast melting of snow will also result into other natural calamities like flood and landslides. Snow is also regarded as the best for the winter crops like wheat, barley and also the apple plants. Hence, limited snow will result in the limited productions.
Nepal being the country who is highly dependent on the snow fall to flourish its agriculture and tourism industry needs to address the causes of less snow fall. The reduction of the greenhouse gas emissions, plantation of trees and plants and implementation of sustainable development practices can be some of the steps Nepal can take to address the climate change issues.