- Many schools across Nepal have made it mandatory for students to learn Mandarin. The decision came after Chinese government had offered to cover salaries of teachers who teach the language.
- However, as per the guidelines laid down by the Curriculum Development Centre (CDC) of Nepal, schools are allowed to teach foreign languages, but they cannot make those subjects mandatory for students.
- The move to make learning Mandarin compulsory comes amidst growing concerns over Chinese involvement in Nepal largely in the backdrop of China’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
- Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is an ambitious programme to connect Asia with Africa and Europe via land and maritime networks along six corridors. It aims at improving (a) regional integration, (b) increasing trade and (c) stimulating economic growth.
- India has repeatedly opposed the BRI. The main reason for India’s opposition to the BRI is the (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor) CPEC which is a flagship programme of the BRI.
- The CPEC passes through Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (Gilgit-Baltistan). As both India and Pakistan claim all of Kashmir, the area is considered a disputed territory by India. According to India, it undermines India’s strategic interests and territorial integrity.
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