Thursday, August 25, 2011

China's shadow over Nepal

My article China's shadow over Nepal was published in today's Edit Page of The Pioneer.

Beijing is strengthening its grip over Kathmandu as in the long run it wants to control Nepal for political and strategic reasons.
The situation in Nepal is rapidly spinning out of control, though the recent resignation of Prime Minister Jhalanath Khanal had some unexpected effects. Even if Maoist deputy chief Baburam Bhattarai does not become the 35th Prime Minister of Nepal, dark clouds are gathering over the erstwhile Himalayan kingdom.
Mr Zhou Yongkang, a member of the all-powerful Politburo Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China, one of the nine bosses of the Middle Kingdom, arrived in Kathmandu on August 16. The ‘unexpected’ outcome of the Prime Minister’s resignation was that the visit had to be postponed by a day: China’s security chief was supposed to land on India’s Independence Day.
With the increasingly all-pervasive Chinese presence in Nepal, resentment against India is growing deeper, mainly fuelled by pro-China elements. The popular news portal, Telegraph Nepal suggested that instead of “making fresh commitments for physical packages, India needs to change its behaviour towards its smaller neighbour. Nepal just needs the good will”. Before his arrival, reports mentioned that Mr Zhou Yongkang had a “secret gift package” in his luggage; a Nepali daily reported: “The contents of the package have been kept a guarded secret.”
The visit of the former Minister of Public Security and presently Chairman of the Central Political and Legislative Committee was anyway significant because Mr Zhou Yongkang is responsible for law and order and intelligence in the Politburo. The importance of the visit was visible by the size of the 60-member delegation accompanying Mr Zhou Yongkang, who is the senior-most Chinese official to visit Nepal after the end of the monarchy.

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