How China’s Increasing Influence Over Nepal is Sidelining India?

China’s increasing influence in Nepal seems to be eroding India-Nepal Relations. While India has traditionally enjoyed the allegiance of Nepal, in the changing era of foreign relations, Nepal seems to be taking a higher ground in Kathmandu’s foreign policy than New Delhi. The upcoming China-Nepal joint military exercise will leave India irked for sure. 

India would have an eye of the China-Nepal joint military exercise scheduled for September 15. India and China both claim to be regional superpowers but China seems to be winning Nepal’s allegiance which has rested with India for long. China is hitting the chords between India and Nepal hard to replace India as a strategic alliance of Nepal and the government too is leaning towards Beijing.

Last year in 2017, Nepal and China conducted their first joint military exercise program which was a 10-day affair. During this training, counter-terrorism and disaster-management drills were carried out between the two armies.

This year’s joint military exercise will be held at Chengdu in the Southwestern Sichuan province of China. The timing of this joint military exercise is in line with Nepal’s foreign policy expansion towards China. Nepal is expanding relations with China across various dimensions and India is losing its grip on Kathmandu gradually.

In May 2017, Nepal signed a memorandum of understanding with China worth USD 1 trillion under the Belt and Road Initiative of China. Then in June China and Nepal signed another accord for the constitution of a railroad connecting Tibet with Kathmandu. Nepal also plans to start oil imports from China and all these developments will leave India’s Nepal policy paralysed. China as an alternative to India for Nepal is being seen as a scenario wherein Nepal’s dependence on India is vanishing.

Nepal’s dependence on India is directly proportional to India’s influence over Nepal and India must look to repair damaged ties with Nepal before its too late for New Delhi to have any control over the landlocked neighbour.

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