Nepal, officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is a landlocked country in South Asia. It is located mainly in the Himalayas, but also includes parts of the Indo-Gangetic plain, the Tibetan border of China to the north, and India to the south, east and west, while it runs through the Siliguri Corridor to Bangladesh. Briefly separated from, and from Bhutan via the Indian state of Sikkim. Nepal has a diverse geography, with fertile plains, sub-pine forests, and eight of the world’s ten highest mountains, including Mount Everest, which is the highest point on Earth. Nepal is a multi-ethnic, multi-lingual, multi-religious and multi-cultural state, with Nepali as its official language. Kathmandu is the capital and largest city of the country.
The country was never colonial but served as a buffer state between imperial China and British India. Parliamentary democracy was introduced in 1951 but was suspended twice by Nepalese kings in 1960 and 2005. The Nepalese civil war in the 1990s and early 2000s led to the formation of a secular republic in 2008, ending the world’s last Hindu monarchy.
Nepal joined the United Nations in 1955, and signed friendship agreements with India in 1950 and China in 1960. Nepal hosts the Permanent Secretariat of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), of which it is a founding member. Nepal is also a member of the Non-Aligned Movement and the Bay of Bengal Initiative. The Nepal Armed Forces is the fifth largest force in South Asia. And their Gurkhas are notable for their history, especially during the world wars, and have been a major partner in UN peacekeeping missions.