India should be more open for Sino-Nepalese cooperation

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Indian media reported recently that Nepal would hold its first ever joint military exercise with China on February 10, 2017. Indian media said the joint military exercise appeared unconventional. But so far the news has not been officially confirmed by China and Nepal.

Indian media hyping up China-Nepal joint military exercise is to partly put pressure on Nepal. India views South Asian countries as its backyard. So it pays a lot of attention to these countries’ cooperation with those outside the region, especially in security.

India’s concern for Sino-Nepalese cooperation is largely due to its worry about China’s influence in Nepal, which boasts a very important geographical position. China and Nepal share a border – the Himalayas. India believes that if China were to break through the Himalayas and have presence in Nepal, China can exert direct influence on the South Asian subcontinent. This will pose a huge threat to India and its South Asian strategy. However, the bilateral cooperation between China and Nepal is for protecting national interests and is not directed against any third party. Indian officials, media and academic circles should not read too much into the two countries’ security cooperation.

Owing to historic reasons, India and Nepal are highly interdependent in economic, culture, security and politics. It cannot be ignored that India’s influences on Nepal is profound.

However, it is neither realistic nor possible for India to always regard Nepal as its backyard and put pressure on Sino-Nepalese cooperation. First, the regional situation in South Asia has changed with the development of regional integration. Southeast Asian integration has advanced steadily while the integration of South Asia is lagging behind. South Asia has high demands for integration, but India alone is unable to promote integration. In this context, it is inevitable for countries outside the region to aid the integration in the area. Read More…

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