Countering China In Nepal And The Neighbourhood
India Today|June 29, 2020
On May 15, India’s army chief suggested what many were afraid to say—bringing up the border dispute in the Kalapani region with India, he noted that Nepal “might have raised the issues at the behest of someone else”, obviously referring to China. This was swiftly followed by a flurry of paranoid China analysis. On television, talking heads bellowed about a Chinese “puppet government” in Kathmandu, even asking India to use its “assets” to topple it.

We don’t know what hard intelligence General M.M. Naravane and the government may have to prove that Beijing really instigated Nepal against India. But we do know that China has been giving India a tough time in Nepal and across the neighbourhood.

From infrastructure investments to political influence and military exercises, Beijing’s expanding presence in the region is slowly but surely eroding India’s traditional influence in Kathmandu, Dhaka, and Colombo. No longer the predominantly South Asian power, India has been forced into a strategic rethink. Blaming China may be an easy and quick way out, but it will not solve the problem.

Indeed, the dispute with Nepal over the recent weeks shows that India will have to up its game and make tough choices on multiple fronts to remain an influential regional power. The crisis shows that India’s past proclivity to micromanage Nepal’s internal politics is useless and even counterproductive. Delhi was in for a rude shock when Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli’s constitutional amendment was approved unanimously, including by the Nepal Congress, as well as by the Madhesi and other opposition parties that are traditionally more sensitive to India’s concerns than the Communists.

Different political parties in Nepal will continue to play off each other, all professing to be India’s best friends while in opposition. But as soon as they get power, they will naturally turn around to play the balancing game with China or spur anti-India sentiments to consolidate their support. The same happens in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and the Maldives, where India can no longer afford to have permanent friends, but only permanent interests.

The Nepal crisis also shows that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s extraordinary political and personal outreach to neighbouring leaders is useless if not followed up by the speedy implementation of the many bold promises made. One cannot run a ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy-focused just on high-level summitry. Since 2017, Modi and Oli have met five times in person and spoken many times over the phone.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM INDIA TODAYView All

WOMEN LIKE US

Kajol grew up surrounded by strongwilled women. In Tribhanga, a film now playing on Netflix, the actor finds herself back in a familiar milieu

1 min read
India Today
January 25, 2021

IN FULL GEAR

Race driver Jehan Daruvala is helping India get a foot in the F1 door

2 mins read
India Today
January 25, 2021

TROUBLE IN THE ALLIANCE

The Janata Dal (United) office in Patna had an important visitor on January 7.

4 mins read
India Today
January 25, 2021

LAW AND DISORDER

The courts step in to end the impasse between farmers and the government, but the farmers want nothing less than a repeal of the farm laws

9 mins read
India Today
January 25, 2021

MAMATA'S MUSLIM GAMEPLAN

The rise of new political contenders threatens Mamata Banerjee’s once assured vote bank. How does the West Bengal chief minister propose to retain it?

9 mins read
India Today
January 25, 2021

A TOUGH ROAD AHEAD

ELECTION RESULTS SINCE 2019 SEEM TO SUGGEST THE DMK HAS AN EDGE. BUT PARTY CHIEF M.K. STALIN IS YET TO CONSOLIDATE THE GAINS

6 mins read
India Today
January 25, 2021

A SHADE OF SAFFRON

The Telugu Desam Party’s (TDP) official colour, sunshine yellow, is getting a saffron tinge.

3 mins read
India Today
January 25, 2021

Trump's New Year Gift To China

The violent assault on the iconic American Capitol building by a marauding pro-Trump mob extinguished whatever little glow was left of the shining City on the Hill.

3 mins read
India Today
January 25, 2021

Covid Vaccine - A Shot Of Hope

Officials exude confidence ahead of India’s mammoth Covid vaccination programme, but challenges remain on the ground

10+ mins read
India Today
January 25, 2021

Budget 2021 - Time For Big Spending

Budget 2021 carries major expectations—the government needs to rescue the economy from a morass of falling growth, demand and investment

10+ mins read
India Today
January 25, 2021
RELATED STORIES

Region To Region

Region To Region

10+ mins read
Musky Hunter
February/March 2021

YOGA & PEACE

DEEPAK CHOPRA speaks with DAAJI about the role Yoga has to play in bringing about world peace. This is an excerpt from their conversation broadcast on International Day of Peace, September 21, 2020. That documentary is available at https://heartfulness.org/en/international-day-of-peace/.

6 mins read
Heartfulness eMagazine
January 2021

Create the habit of meditation

CHIRAG KULKARNI, Co-Founder and CMO of Medly Pharmacies in the USA, speaks with RISHIKA SHARMA about creating a regular meditation practice, so as to make it a habit. He also shares how meditation has benefited both his personal and professional life.

7 mins read
Heartfulness eMagazine
January 2021

SHIA'S PRIVATE TEMPLE OF DOOM!

Indiana Jones gig derailed by abuse scandal

2 mins read
Globe
January 11, 2021

Let's Dish

"Food Raconteur” Ashok Nageshwaran wants to tell you a story.

2 mins read
DesignSTL
January/February 2021

THE MAKING OF A MODEL MINORITY

Indian Americans rarely stop to ask why our entrance into American society has been so rapid—or to consider what we have in common with other nonwhite Americans.

10+ mins read
The Atlantic
January - February 2021

Interconnectedness

In 2017, DR. VANDANA SHIVA spoke with KIM HUGHES about the sacredness of the Earth, the work she has been doing to bring awareness and change in the field of sustainable agriculture, and the importance of understanding our interconnectedness with Nature, and how we can change the way we eat.

8 mins read
Heartfulness eMagazine
December 2020

DIAMONDS - A Luxury Gem Steeped in Fact & Fable

The diamond is one fabled gemstone! For example, google “Hope Diamond” to see all the legends associated with just this one stone said to bring misfortune to its owners.

2 mins read
Rock&Gem Magazine
January 2021

Women's World

Brown Sugaa and Medusa

2 mins read
Born To Ride Southeast Magazine
December 2020

Women's World

Brown Sugaa and Medusa

2 mins read
Born To Ride Florida
December 2020