News:Chinese President is on a visit to Nepal.
Key takeaways from the visit:
- India and China have decided to construct a 70-km (42-mile) rail link which will connect the Gyiron in Tibet with Nepal’s capital city of Kathmandu.
- A 28-km Kerung-Kathmandu road tunnel is also proposed to halve the distance between Kathmandu and Chinese border.
- Chinese President has also promised to replenish the Arniko highway that links Kathmandu with Tatopani transit point.The highway was badly damaged in 2015 earthquake.
- Nepal and China has also signed around 20 deals covering water supply, trade, traditional medicines.
Why is Nepal increasing its interests in China?
- Nepal is wedged between China and India.So being a landlocked nation, Nepal is trying to diversify its relations.
- For Nepal,China serves as a potential supplier of goods and assistance that it badly needs in order to recover its economy.
- The Madhesi agitation in 2015 had forced Nepal to explore trade links with China and reduce its long term dependence on India.
- Lastly,another factor to increase the interest is China card which most of the south Asian countries are playing with India to gain the mileage in negotiations & counter India’s Big Brother approach.
Why China cannot replace India vis-à-vis Nepal?
- India has an advantage of geography on its side. Chinese rail and port connectivity projects are not very feasible owing to the difficult terrain.
- The nearest Chinese ports will be over 3000 km away while Kolkata and Visakhapatnam ports which Nepal currently uses are relatively closer.
- India and Nepal has deep linguistic & cultural and religious affinity, whose trade or economic ties with China alone cannot entirely takeover.