Welcome to WARN, Todays News is.
Chinese projects stuck in Nepal due to Prachanda’s Pro-India Policies : Chinese Media Ahead of Nepal Premier Prachanda’s fence-mending
visit to China this week, state-run media here has slammed him saying that ties have
fallen to a “low ebb” with most of the Chinese projects stuck due to his “pro-India” policies.
An article in the state-run Global Times said for quite some time Prachanda, the Prime Minister
and the chairman of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), had been friendly toward China. The article recalled his past close association
with China as well as his anti-India rhetoric. However, since assuming office for the second
time as Prime Minister in August last year he has visited India twice and warmly welcomed
President Pranab Mukherjee in Kathmandu last November, the article noted. “Given Prachanda’s pro-India foreign policy,
the Sino- Nepalese relationship has fallen into low ebb,” it said.
Prachanda, who succeeded ‘pro-China’ Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli, will embark on a
five-day visit to China from March 23 during which he will attend the Boao Forum for Asia
Annual Conference. He is also expected to meet Chinese President
Xi Jinping, who last year skipped Nepal during his South Asia tour, apparently upset over
lack of progress over much-advertised projects like China-Nepal rail linkages and instead
met Prachanda in Goa on the sidelines of the BRICS summit. For China, the fall of the Oli regime was
a big disappointment and a setback to its planned big push into Nepal through Tibet
with rail and highway linkages to expand its influence in the landlocked country which
was dependent on India for all its supplies, according to analysts. Today’s article was critical of Prachanda
for the fall of the Oli government and for failing to push projects.
“It is widely believed in Nepal that Prachanda has toppled the pro-China government led by
Oli under New Delhi’s manipulation and paved the way for the Nepali Congress to build a
pro-India government in the future,” the article said. Prachanda and Sher Bahadur Deuba of the Nepali
Congress “both vowed that they would carry out the deals signed with Beijing during Oli’s
China visit last March, but actions speak louder than words”, the article said.
“Until today, no substantial progress has yet been made,” it said. “Prachanda will transfer his power to Deuba
soon after May 14, when the local-level elections will be held. Even if Prachanda would ink
some vital deals with Beijing, they will most likely face the same fate of those signed
during Oli’s China visit — being suspended by Deuba,” the article stated. However, although the tour takes place towards
the end of his second term as Nepal’s Prime Minister, it is undoubtedly good news for
ties between Beijing and Kathmandu, the article said.
“Nevertheless, in order to win more support for his party in the upcoming local elections
and dispel the accusation of being pro-India, Prachanda might sign some critical agreements
with Beijing this time,” it noted. Among the pacts that he may sign are the construction
of Sino-Nepal railway, upgrading the China-Nepal Araniko Highway and the road linking the Gyirong
Port in China’s Tibet Autonomous Region and Kathmandu as well as a Sino-Nepalese free
trade deal, the article said. “Yet when examining whether a foreign government
or party is friendly to China, implementation of the agreements is more important than signing
the deals,” it said. “Several projects in Nepal involving Chinese
companies, such as Upgrade Kathmandu Ring Road Second Phase Project, the Pokhara International
Airport, the Gautam Buddha International Airport in Lumbini and the West Seti Hydropower Project
have been consistently blocked for various reasons,” it noted. China has every reason to require the Nepalese
government to safeguard the interests of Chinese investors and contractors, the article contended.
The article also said “Beijing, New Delhi and Kathmandu ought to abandon the outdated
zero-sum mindset, set aside their disputes, agree to disagree, start to seek common interests
and strive for prosperity.” “Prachanda’s term is about to come to an end.
A China tour at this point and possible deals with the Chinese side can be a significant
sign of improvement in the bilateral relationship,” it said.
No matter which political party comes to power, China would like to advocate cooperation.
China is always ready to help Nepal to develop its economy and achieve prosperity, the article
said. “Nepal can become another ‘iron friend’ of
China in South Asia,” it said.