Nepal in the Belt and Road: New Vista on Building a China-india-nepal Economic Corridor
As part of its endeavor to build closer politico-strategic ties and economic integration with countries across continents, in 2013 China put forward an ambitious plan to revive the ancient Silk Road. China termed this brainchild of Chinese President Xi Jinping the “Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI), which consists of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-century Maritime Silk Road. Geopolitically, the South Asian region can be seen as comprising important links between the parts of the project, a fact reflected in Beijing’s primary commitment to the China–pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) linking Xinjiang’s Kashgar with Pakistan’s deep-water port of Gwadar, and its renewed interest in the Bangladesh–china–india–myanmar (BCIM) Economic Corridor.1
For a long time, Nepal has been advocating for a trilateral cooperation between China, India and Nepal (CIN) as a means to enhance economic development and connectivity at the regional level. However, this idea gained momentum only after China put forward the idea of BRI. Since then, both Nepal and China have been vigorously pushing this idea of a trilateral economic corridor at various regional forums. On May 12, 2017, Nepal signed the framework agreement of the Belt and Road Initiative. This was an important development towards building a CIN economic corridor. Given this backdrop, it is predicable that Nepal and China together will increase Rupak Sapkota is a doctoral candidate and a researcher at the Research Center of Global Governance, Renmin University of China.
1 “Vision and Actions on Jointly Building Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st-century Maritime Silk Road”, National Development and Reform Commission, March 28, 2015, http://en.ndrc.gov.cn/ newsrelease/201503/t20150330_669367.html.