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The country struggles with the transition from a monarchy to a republic.
It also suffers from high levels of hunger and poverty.
Friendship treaties were signed with the Dominion of India in 1950 and the People's Republic of China in 1960.
Nepal hosts the permanent secretariat of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), of which it is a founding member.
Local legends have it that a Hindu sage named "Ne" established himself in the valley of Kathmandu in prehistoric times, and that the word "Nepal" came into existence as the place was protected ("pala" in Pali) by the sage "Nemi".
It is mentioned in Vedic texts that this region was called Nepal centuries ago.
Despite these challenges, Nepal is making steady progress, with the government declaring its commitment to elevate the nation from least developed country status by 2022.
It was the seat of the prosperous Newar confederacy known as Nepal Mandala.The Nepalese Civil War resulted in the proclamation of a republic in 2008, ending the reign of the world's last Hindu monarchy.Modern Nepal is a federal secular parliamentary republic. Nepal is a developing nation, ranking 144th on the Human Development Index (HDI) in 2016.Kathmandu is the nation's capital and largest city.Nepal is a multiethnic nation with Nepali as the official language.
The cosmopolitan region developed distinct traditional art and architecture.