As Nepal Goes For China, Big Concern For India

Concerns about the lack of openness and feasibility of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) projects in Nepal were expressed by experts, who advised Nepal to exercise caution when accepting support.China Is Trying To Push India Out Of Nepal

Nepal has eagerly embraced China’s massive Belt and Road Initiative for connectivity and development (BRI). Nepal was the only country that shares a border with Pakistan that sent a high-level delegation to the recent Belt and Road Forum (BRF), which was held in Beijing to promote the concept, except from Pakistan.

The agreement would allow Nepal to use at least seven Chinese ports — seaports in Shenzhen, Tianjin, Lianyungang, and Zhanjiang and land ports in Shigatse, Lhasa, and Lanzhou — for third-country trade. Until now, Nepal could use only Indian ports. China Is Trying To Push India Out Of Nepal

Second, BRI officially has a program for Nepal now, similar to China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CEPC).

Trading through Chinese ports is neither physically feasible nor economically feasible due to the great distance from China’s coasts, the hostile topographical topography, and the high expenses of rail-freight transit. There is only one all-weather road in Nepal that leads to the Chinese border, and it has been closed since the 2015 earthquake.

The strategic advantage of concentrating on relations with Nepal, however, outweighs the costs associated with that country’s links with China for India.

India should first show that it is just as capable of keeping its commitments as China is. One after another, reports of infrastructure projects backed by China finishing earlier than expected should serve as a wake-up call for India. If India wants to improve its reputation as a trustworthy development partner, this must alter.

Second, India ought to have its own take on China’s idea of a “community of shared destiny” in international relations. Neighboring nations like Nepal anticipate economic benefits from India’s growth as well. Nepal struggles to maintain macroeconomic stability due to a significant trade deficit with India. India slapped a trade embargo on Nepal in 2015, suffocating the survivors of the disaster.

Third, India needs to change the way it currently judges whether a government is pro-China or pro-India. Therefore, welcoming investment under BRI is not a zero-sum competition between China and India. Even if the opposition wins the election, it won’t be able to completely change the existing course of pursuing improved ties with China.

Forgoing the “either you are with us or not” strategy in favour of collaborating with Nepal’s administration to further its own connectivity initiatives would be a preferable course of action for India.

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