Nepal PM visits China: India should worry less about zero-sum game, say Chinese experts
India should not worry about its influence on neighbour Nepal diminishing and instead focus on "benign trilateral interactions", analysts were cited as saying by China's Global Times ahead of Nepali Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Oli's five-day visit to China starting Tuesday, June 19.
According to the analysts, India's influence on Nepal's "inconsistent economic cooperation" with China couldn't be ignored and New Delhi, instead of feeling its interests getting threatened by China's growing influence in the Himalayan country, should part ways with its zero-sum game in the region, the Times report said.
Oli's visit to China, his second as the prime minister of the country and first in his current term which started in February, has caused concerns in the Indian circles for the premier is seen as more China-friendly in his approach and the two countries have given their bilateral relations a shot in the recent times.
Hu Zhiyong, a scholar at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences' Institute of International Relations told Global Times that Nepal depends heavily on India for its economic health while India feels concerned over the development of China's ties with Nepal and suspects that Beijing is challenging New Delhi's dominance in the region.
The Global Times also cited a report carried by the Times of India on June 14 saying the confirmation of plans for a CNEC (China Nepal Economic Corridor) as part of China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) "would further reduce Nepal's reliance on India and shift the balance of influence toward China in an area of military importance".
Oli, during his visit to China in 2016, signed a transit treaty with the host and sought an expansion of road links through Tibet besides extending China's railway network to Nepal through the Himalayas. India also vowed to improve all sorts of communication - road, railway, waterways - with Nepal during Oli's visit to New Delhi in April this year though observers felt India was running far too behind in the race with China.
But the Chinese analysts were in favour of India joining the party to allow the effects of the BRI to be felt across the region.
According to Hu: "China should also take India into consideration when developing ties with Nepal. Benign trilateral ties would benefit the implementation of the Belt and Road initiative in the region," the Global Times added.
Not everything smooth between China and Nepal
Although India is feeling worried with the growing ties between China and Nepal, the Global Times report cited analysts who said that not everything was going smooth in the two countries' relations and Oli's latest visit to China may see discussion on those distracting issues.
In 2015, Nepal cleared China's state-owned Three Gorges International Corp to build a hydropower project on the West Seti River which was scheduled to be completed by 2022 but last month, Kathmandu announced that the responsibility of building the plant would be taken up by Nepal herself and the $1.6 billion deal with China was scrapped.
It was a second such instance when China was denied an opportunity to build a plant in Nepal, the Global Times cited a Reuters report.