Nepal PM Pushpa Kamal Dahal has been performing a balancing act between India and China, but Kathmandu’s proposed first joint military exercise with Beijing early next year has triggered considerable unease in New Delhi.
The decision discomfits India as it seeks to put a rocky patch in relations with Nepal during the tenure of K P Oli behind it and look forward to a new chapter with Prachanda at the helm.
Nepal’s ambassador to India Deep Upadhyay sought to play down the significance of the exercise named ‘Pratikar’, and said the military engagement would be on a very “small scale” and that there was nothing for India to be worried about. “There’s really not much in it,” Upadhyay said.
We have done similar exercises with some other countries, too, in the past to be able to deal with the Maoists, Nepal’s ambassador to India Deep Upadhyay told TOI. Whichever way you look at it, Nepal has a special relationship with India and that’s not going to change because of any such exercise.
The exercise is meant to help Nepal with counter-terror operations. India, however, has been conducting such anti-terror joint exercises annually with Nepal for a decade. Nepal’s deciding to go ahead with a similar exercise with China is likely to add another layer of complexity to India’s ties with both Nepal and China, not discounting Prachanda’s efforts to restore Nepal’s ties with India after he took over from Oli. Read More…