Nepal’s growing proximity with China may have had India feeling a ‘bit worried’. India and Nepal have shared a cordial and friendly relationship for decades. Over the years, Nepal has depended on India for trade routes and ports, and it is not surprising for India to feel dumbfounded after China allowing Nepal access to all its ports.
The Himalayan nation is broadening its trade and connectivity. Last Thursday, officials of the two countries – China and Nepal signed a protocol, formalizing the agreement. According to an official release, “the agreement allows the transit of goods from other countries to Nepal via all of China’s ports.”
With both, China and India keeping Nepal’s interests at heart, the old feud is likely to come up. According to an article, ‘New Outlook in Nepal’s Relations with India and China’, in the AsiaTimes, “while Nepal has agreed to become part of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), India is opposed to China’s project. Unless India decides to join the China-led BRI, talks of a possible new world order will be premature.”
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It is important for India, China and Nepal to find a common ground to initiate trilateralism. According to the Global Village Space article, ‘China’s Growing Footprint in Nepal Alarms India’, “India aims for more dominant control on the Rivers of Terai for which the leverage it traditionally had, facilitating Nepal for its trade routes, is continuously diminishing with Chinese coming into the equation.”
Furthermore, India is wary of China’s excessive penetration into India because of the open border it shares with Nepal. And China definitely is increasing its presence and influence, be it in Nepal or the Asia-Pacific. China is one nation, that every country is keeping a watch on.