India Nepal Relations: Why Has Nepal Shifted Loyalty from India to China?

Are India Nepal Relations on a downswing? India and China frequent encounters have been taking front page news space for a long time now, be it the rising border tensions between or the relationship with neighbouring countries like Nepal. India and China are both superpowers but has India lost its credibility in Nepal how has this impacted India Nepal Relations?

The newly built and highly well equipped training academy of the Nepal Armed Forces is a valuable asset for the country. It has all the necessary facilities along with a swimming pool, sports arenas, helipad, an auditorium and everything that makes it self-sufficient and effective. It has become a pride for Nepal and this academy was a $350 US Million gift from China to Nepal. All the raw material and building material was brought from China to build the Nepal Armed Forces Training Academy.

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How does the training academy impact India and China relations with Nepal?

The current Deputy Inspector General of Nepal, Mandip Shrestha, is a former part of Nepal’s civilian police force in 1995. He shifted to Nepal’s armed police force in 2001 after it was set up. Back in 1995, Shrestha recalls a visit to the capital city of India as a member of a police contingent, where India first promised to build a new police training academy for Nepal. But the promise was never executed and soon became a ‘joke’ in Nepal.

In 2014, PM Modi made a visit to Nepal and spoke critically about the undelivered promise. He and his counterpart in Nepal also went on to unveil the sign that signified the start of the police academy project. Unfortunately, the project still did not move further.

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The training academy is just one of the many unfulfilled promised made by India to Nepal. If we compare India and China, India’s record of incomplete, false and broken promises to Nepal have given it an unreliable track record. The road project in South of Nepal and the hydro-power project on the river Mahakali are few of the other examples. These unfulfilled projects have led to India losing its credibility in Nepal. These issues have also impacted the India and China relations as Nepal is retaliating becoming the ‘middleman’.

New Government, New India and China Geopolitical Differences?

As a new government comes into power in Nepal, a shift in geopolitical relations for Nepal, with India and China, are expected. Nepal is working towards establishing relations with Nepal, as India continues to disappoint the nation. The ties between India and China are continually shaking, thus a hold on Nepal is extremely beneficial for China to increase hold on the Tibetan border.

China has made several investments in Nepal, including cement and hydropower. Additionally, internet services, tourism, education and learning, and every other field in Nepal is seeing a flourish from China. Approximately 60% of FDI commitments in Nepal are made by China, whereas India comes second with a huge gap. These new ties between China and Nepal are definitely directly impacting the ties between India and China too.

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