Nepal: The China Tilt
TOPIC: General Studies 2
- India and its neighbourhood- relations.
- Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests
The delicate balance in India’s relations is now under strain and is at a crucial juncture:
Analysts have observed that there seems to be a movement by Nepal to move towards China to find an alternative to their dependence over India. Nepal’s new prime minister KP Oli has said he wants to deepen ties with China to explore more options and get more leverage in his dealings with India “in keeping with the times”.
Deepening Ties with China means considering –
- China-backed $2.5 billion hydropower project
- Long-established practice of Nepalese soldiers serving in India’s armed forces
- Transit Treaty with Beijing to end dependence on India for his landlocked country to revive the Budhi Gandaki project
- Improving rail and road network between Nepal and China through Tibet
China’s strategic objectives – Blunt India’s Influence in China culturally as well
- Curbing the Tibetan refugee population
- China Study Centres (CSC): To popularise the Chinese language, disseminate anti-India propaganda and reinforce traditional Chinese diplomacy
- Establishing a presence in Buddha’s birthplace of Lumbini: Redevelopment of Lumbini
- Airport and seminary-cum-monastery
- To make Lumbini a China-dominated hub for the “Buddhist tourism circuit” of Lumbini, Bodh Gaya, Sarnath etc., will marginalise Indian businessmen and tour operators → Inevitable illegal migration to the North East
- Long-term presences of Chinese military personnel, who will construct, operate and maintain them.
The Way Forward:
As close neighbours, India and Nepal share a unique relationship of friendship and cooperation characterized by open borders and deep-rooted people-to-people contacts of kinship and culture. They are cultural partners with historic, spiritual and civilisational links between the people and both nations have a vital stake in each other’s well-being and security.
Therefore, India needs to up her game before it’s too late –
Increase People-to-People Engagement: Relationship with the people themselves is of prime importance. India needs to respect Nepal’s sovereignty and take the chance to gain political confidences as well deepen business ties with the community. Social and religious connect should be leveraged for infusing a sense of ‘oneness’.
Better Implementation and Delivery: Indian government should take into account all the projects that were promised to Nepal and should make sure that these projects are completed on time. This is crucial for being a part of Nepal’s growth story, not just by way of providing grants but by creating a number of livelihood opportunities and contributing to its overall development.
Must Refer: Link 1
Connecting the dots:
- Is the Nepal-India ‘special relationship’ undergoing a fundamental shift? Examine.
- India’s approach to its ties with Nepal needs recalibration keeping in mind the geostrategic significance of the landlocked nation. Examine.