In Himalayan nation, Xi talks of deeper defence ties
Beijing: Even before he reached Kathmandu on Saturday, Chinese President Xi Jinping spelt out what he intended to do during his Nepal visit. Some of what he said has implications for India’s influence in Nepal.
China’s expectations of Nepal go beyond infrastructure construction and cover areas like military exchanges, border protection and training of government personnel. “We need to scale up border defence contacts to fight transnational crimes more effectively and ensure the safety of our nationals and smooth flow of trade,” Xi said in a signed article published in Nepalese media.
Xi said Nepal and China are working to build or upgrade highways, airports and power plants.
While China might seek to enhance its influence with Nepal, the moves would mean a reduction in Indian influence in the Himalayan kingdom. China’s push into Nepal would also mean a sharp reduction in business opportunities for Indian construction companies and exporters.
Xi made a pointed reference to the fact that Nepal makes efforts to maintain the “one-China policy and prohibits any force from using its territory for antiChina activities”.
Nepal keeps a close watch on its Tibetan population and tries to detain political dissenters and supporters of the Dalai Lama who have fled from China and taken refuge in the Himalayan republic. Beijing is now trying to get Kathmandu to sign an extradition treaty that would allow Nepali authorities to hand over such dissenters to China.
Nepalese government officers hold Chinese and Nepalese flags as they wait to welcome Xi Jinping in Kathmandu