China-Nepal cooperation should not be victim of China-India rivalry

21-1458552003-nepal-china-flagBy Hu Weijia—

China has taken note of the changes in Nepal, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Tuesday.

Nepal’s Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli recently announced his resignation, causing uncertainty in the South Asian nation, as well as for Chinese investment in the country.

The memory of Oli’s March visit to China is still fresh, when 10 cooperation agreements were signed between the two countries. A plan for a cross-border railway attracted considerable attention during the trip. Considering 98 percent of Nepal’s third-country trade currently runs through India, a railway that connects the South Asian nation with China’s key production centers will help open up new trade routes for the country.

It seems Oli’s relationship with Beijing may have aroused suspicion in India. Some analysts believe India may have played a role in Oli’s resignation, despite no supporting evidence. But after the government steps down India is likely to try to increase its influence in Nepal.

China has always adhered to the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries, but the authorities have a responsibility to maintain Chinese investment security and the stable implementation of the agreements signed between China and Nepal.

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Tuesday that the countries’ friendship and their mutually beneficial cooperation would not change, regardless of how the domestic situation evolves.

Such statements show Beijing’s confidence in the smooth development of economic ties with Nepal.

In the wake of the prime minister’s resignation, New Delhi should refrain from imposing pressure on Nepal. Most of the agreed-upon projects will boost Nepal’s local economy and improve livelihood, and India should not impede the implementation of the projects based on its own geopolitical interest.

According to media reports, China and Nepal agreed to develop the Pokhara Regional International Airport Project. Pokhara is a major destination in the Himalayan country and the airport is expected to boost tourism once completed.

Such mutually beneficial cooperation should not be a victim to Sino-Indian competition. New Delhi should not force ties with Nepal by hindering exports through border inspection. Faced with pressure to revive its economy amid political uncertainty, we believe Nepal’s new government will be prudent in dealing with India and China.

The author is a reporter with the Global Times. [email protected]

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