08 January 2018
Much to the annoyance of New Delhi, Beijing has poured huge sums of money into infrastructure projects in Nepal – a landlocked nation with China to its north and India to its south – under its trade and infrastructure development plan known as the “Belt and Road Initiative”.
China is Nepal’s largest foreign investor, and in the past financial year alone has invested 8.36 billion Nepalese rupees (US$81.89 million) in the country, an increase of almost 35 per cent from the year before, according to Nepal’s Department of Industry.
While China’s cultural clout in the country still lags far behind that of India – with which Nepal shares a 1,700km open border – opportunities for Beijing to shift that balance were given a huge boost when Nepal’s Communist alliance, which is seen as friendlier to China, secured a landslide election victory.
The win was good news for China, given Nepal’s strategic location as a buffer with India and proximity to Tibet, an autonomous region of China with lingering tensions over its sovereignty.
“Right now, the most significant impression of China is the rise of China,” said Li Mingjiang, China programme coordinator at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore. “That automatically generates a positive perception of China, and motivates … a lot of [Nepalese] people to intentionally understand China, study China, and even go to China.”
IDSS / Online
Last updated on 24/01/2018