The foreign policy of Nepal is getting embroiled into the complex web of geopolitical rivalry between India and China. “We have witnessed this earlier in the case of the Maldives and Sri Lanka. Domestic elites are divided in their loyalties to external powers,” experts opine.
Says Prof Rajan Kumar, School of International Studies, JNU, Delhi, “India used to be the hegemonic player in South Asia two decades ago. But politics has become bi-polar with the increasing role of China in the region. China has invested heavily in ramping up the infrastructure of these countries, and a section of its political and academic elite has turned favourable to such projects. In India, this is often interpreted as an attempt of encirclement by China.”
“In Nepal, the situation is worse because the ruling party has an ideological affinity with the Chinese Communist Party. The redrawing of the map which includes Kalapani, Lipulekh and Limpiyadhura could not have come at a worse possible time. Indian soldiers were in a standoff with the Chinese soldiers in Ladakh. Nepal could have shown some sensitivity given the deadly confrontations taking place between the two countries.
Instead, it tried to humiliate India further by passing a unilateral resolution on the border. This was a premature and a miscalculated move by the incumbent regime.