Having previously been almost entirely dependent on India for its trade, Nepal is slowly, but surely, coming out of decades of economic isolation. Like other regional countries, it is reaching out to China, another immediate neighbour, to strengthen economic relations, and is keen to tap into the latter’s New Silk Road initiative.
Nepal’s Prime Minister, Pushpa Kamal Dahal, who just attended the Boao Forum for Asia’s annual conference in China, is reported to have expressed his country’s full support for Beijing’s ‘One China’ policy and eagerness to receive Chinese investment under ‘One Belt, One Road.’
While no new agreements were signed during the visit, Nepal’s foreign minister did apprise the media of the PM’s intention to convey to China’s Xi Jinping Nepal’s desire to be involved with OBOR.
China has been involved in building important infrastructure in Nepal, notably to establish a new trade route from Tibet to Kathmandu, via Mustang, for some time.
Its presence in the region has been seen by other countries, particularly India, as a move towards undermining support for the Tibetans: Nepal houses numerous Tibetan refugees and it is from there, China believes, that separatists continue to operate and receive succour.
One of the projects, signed in 2016, envisages the construction of a 450-kilometer railroad connecting the town of Xigaze, in the Tibet Autonomous Region, to the town of Gyirong, near the Sino-Nepalese border by 2020.
This project, when completed, would not only enable Nepal to send its goods to Chinese ports – and from there connect with the outside world – but also allow it to reduce its dependence on the Indian port of Calcutta, which it has been using in accordance with the Nepal-India transit treaty.
For Nepal, therefore, China offers an opportunity to build an alternative geography of trade, with the Silk Road representing a means to widen its exports and imports.
For China, Nepal’s relations with India will have an impact on the trajectory of its own bi-lateral relations with the former
From China’s perspective, there has to be more. It hopes to neutralize the “Tibetan threat” on its way to dominating South Asia. Bi-lateral co-operation, therefore, has to go beyond mere economic relations and Nepal’s participation in OBOR. Co-operation in military matters is crucial and, so far, it has not been up to the point where China can use Nepal to effectively deal with the issues it faces in Tibet.
Military co-operation is still being discussed. It would certainly irk India, which surrounds Nepal on three sides. The challenge for Nepal, therefore, is to walk a cautious path between China and India and try use its geographical location to its advantage.
The gravity of the situation is evident from the fact that Indian Army chief General Bipin Rawat arrived on a four-day official visit to Nepal on March 28. His visit comes just after the country hosted China’s Defence Minister, Chang Wanquan – the first such visit in 16 years – and is preparing to participate in a joint military exercise with the PLA later this year.
For China, Nepal’s relations with India will have an impact on the trajectory of its own bi-lateral relations with the former.
This was pretty evident from the way China reacted to the Nepali PM’s visit to India in September 2016. Global Times, a newspaper under the auspices of the Chinese state-run People’s Daily, ran a provocative story warning Nepal over its growing ties with India and describing Nepal-China relations as “fragile and sensitive.”
The Nepali PM’s visit to China, in this context, seems to have been greatly colored by a desire to of re-gain China’s confidence, or what Xi has called the imperative of building “political trust” and enhancing co-operation “on issues concerning core interests and major concerns.”
The message to Nepal is clear. Meanwhile, the emphasis the country has put on joining OBOR signifies its willingness to re-align itself in the India-China power equation.
India should ask Nepal if it is ready to receive over 4-5 million Nepalies working without a need for work permits in India? Is it ready to have sealed borders and no trade across India? Sure they can enjoy Chinese OROB, if it helps them.
Such a friendly neighbor India is!
Nepal should expel all namakharam indian immigrants. Nepal is feeding a snake in them. They will surely bite Nepal in future..
There are also over two millions Indians working in Nepal without Visa and they mainly in Trading sector.
We Nepali agree whatever cost to seal border between Nepal and India. Believe me most of Nepalese r even willing to pay for construction of border seal from their own pockets. We are done with India’s foreign policy and hagemony. Bye bye good luck with Sri Lanka, pakistan, bangladesh and bhutan.
What a great move !
It’s too risky to just depends on one source or party. Resulting in India dares to interfere Nepal’s Constitution.
( Google Search " India interfered Nepal’s constitution ")
Future is a wonderfull thing….i hope nepalis learn from whats happening in africa
Raj Shrestha a figure that is not accounted by anyone…phew..i can just imagine what the crooked chinese will do with them….china will have 3 gr8 allies in dprk pak n nepal…hehehe
Wow…a country that has not even spent 1 billion aid we gave them…its our namak ur wating n shitting….let the chinese lick u up …dont come back crying
Ya by a chinese who lives in a country that respects no human rights….ill call it shit direction china….dont worry about us ….we know when n where to pull the plugs in ur butthole…i.e tibet arunachal pr south china sea…phew there are just so many
Shivam Singh Bisht Nepal need OBOR to limit indian hegemony and stop indians using blockade as a tool.
Shivam Singh Bisht Many thanks for your irrationally emotional comments on each post.
it would be better for nepal, iff they can choose where from the imports come. the past has shown that india is abusing his position as the absolutly dominant trade partner. but will china do it better? at the moments yes, they build roads, hydropower, health posts and many mor. but they wouldn’t do it iff they wouldn’t profit in the future! its important for nepal to held god relations to both neighbours, what isn’t easy for a country with a inconsistent goverment.
Sure, Nepal wants to be sealed the borders rather geting FIji , covered by Indian migrants . We want to be kicked out Indians form Nepal…India is big sorrow for Nepal and South Asia too
Shivam Singh Bisht Do India really respect human rights? Think over it.
Just think of this human right in India. 950 million Indins live in households that have less than 10,000 rulees in monthly income. So, you could probably say that these Indian enyou the right to be hungry and homelees through eternnity. After all, India has been independent fro 70 years, and this is the human rights they enjoy. Congrats. China must certainly be dwarfed by your distinction in human rights.
The Indian leadership, no matter which political hue, has assured that most of its people remain hungry and homeless through eternity. If nothing else, their own Cenus of 2011 says as much. Out of 24.39 crore households 73% remain rural, and, 56% landless. According to another source, 900 million Indians have a per capital annual income of less than 10,000. The implication is that India remains a democracy only at the surface. Through all the last seven decades of independence, it has been a government of the elites by the elites and for the elites. By all accounts, India remains an impovrished country and it would be directly against the interest of the vast majority of its own impoverished people to be expending scarce resources in the seemingly impossible bid to compete againt China in other countries in the neighbourhood, be it Nepal or Bangladesh. With the Indians sidelined in that country, the Sri Lankans are much more happy today, and that is what matters, the happiness of the people.
Bro we are brothers nepal india share distinct relations
We share the same culture.
We fight each other, but still united like brothers
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