In Hi­malayan na­tion, Xi talks of deeper de­fence ties

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times City - Saibal Das­gupta

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.

AP

Nepalese gov­ern­ment officers hold Chi­nese and Nepalese flags as they wait to wel­come Xi Jin­ping in Kath­mandu

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