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Loss of friend Nepal & restive Kashmir, Modi’s plate is full as he meets China’s Xi Jinping

China’s economic rise is in stark contradiction to India's slowing growth as the Chinese President gets ready to visit India and Nepal.

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Chinese President Xi Jinping won’t have time to travel to Pakistan during his visit to India and Nepal this weekend, so Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan decided to go to Beijing.

Worse, Pakistan army chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa, clearly couldn’t trust his PM to talk to the Chinese leadership alone – so he flew into Beijing one day before. The spokesperson of the armed forces, DG ISPR Gen. Asif Ghafoor tweeted:

If the mountain won’t come to Muhammad, as goes the well-known saying, then Muhammad must go to the mountain.

PM Imran Khan has said that he will raise the Kashmir situation as well as the $60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which is said to be losing steam because of Pakistan’s rising international debt.

Certainly, China has demonstrated considerable allegiance to its key client partner in South Asia, by informally pushing the P5 countries at the UN Security Council in mid-August to discuss Kashmir.

Also read: 5 key highlights of India’s foreign policy that Jaishankar amplified in the US

Kashmir issue, beneficiary Beijing

But a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, aware that President Xi is travelling to Mamallapuram, Tamil Nadu, for a second informal summit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi this week, recently said that Kashmir won’t be a “major issue” between the two sides.

China realises better than anyone else that India may be caught in double jeopardy of its own making if New Delhi doesn’t fix the Kashmir lockdown issue soon. Hobbled by low economic growth is one thing, but how do you tell the rest of South Asia that you are its natural leader by virtue of your size, population and natural resources if you can’t control your restive regions?

Note that China, satisfied with Pakistan’s de facto clientitis, is now turning serious attention to other parts of South Asia. As Mohamed Nasheed, Maldives former President and current speaker of People’s Majlis (Parliament), said in an interview with ThePrint, the Chinese are worse than the East India Company because they end up owning land by offering huge loans, then exchange the failure to pay with equity.

Also read: Before Xi Jinping meets Modi, Indian Army raises the cost with Him Vijay exercise

Nepal’s slide towards China

So, in mid-September in Kathmandu, ‘Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism With Chinese Characteristics for a New Era’ arrived in the form of a two-day symposium, attended by none other than Nepalese prime minister K.P. Oli.

The symposium was jointly organised by Oli’s Nepal Communist Party (NCP) and the Communist Party of China (CPC)’s Central Party School, Organisation Department and International Liaison Department – the same people that a delegation of BJP leaders met when they visited China in August and told them that the BJP’s membership had overtaken CPC rolls.

The NCP’s School Department deputy chief Beduram Bhusal told the ‘Himalayan Times’ that the “Chinese side has proposed to share its experience in running the party and the government,” and that the Nepalese would also be doing the same.

In the wake of Nepal’s 2015 economic blockade by Madhesi political parties in the Terai region, which was informally supported by Delhi, Kathmandu’s upper caste elite struck back. Nepal’s Communist parties came together under the leadership of Oli, won the elections and proceeded to tilt towards Beijing.

During a visit to Beijing last year, Oli told The Kathmandu Post that “there was a lot to learn from China’s controlled and favourable society.”

China’s successful development path, Oli was quoted by South China Morning Post as saying, provides a “new choice” for developing countries like Nepal.

Oli, clearly, seems pleased that he is being courted so strenuously by Beijing. After all, the cold shoulder he has received in Delhi, where he is perceived as pro-Chinese – which seems to have become a self-fulfilling prophecy – the wining and dining by the Chinese is decidedly more attractive.

That’s why Xi Jinping’s visit to Nepal, the first by a Chinese head of state since Deng Xiaoping in 1978, indicates just how much the Chinese are setting store by its Himalayan neighbour. Kathmandu hopes for a large aid package, especially in the development of hydropower as well as infrastructure connectivity over the Himalayas, such as the $2.8 billion trans-Himalayan railway project between Kathmandu and Kyirong in Tibet.

Also read: Modi will always have Houston & India, a changed relationship with the US

Delhi losing Kathmandu

Is Delhi fuming? Has India lost Nepal? Asking the old questions will, inevitably, yield the same old answers. Yes. And, yes.

But if the question is asked differently, as to why India “loses” Nepal so often, and repeatedly, then Delhi may come up with some new answers. First of all, the India-Nepal relationship misses the warmth of former External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, whose invocation of the “roti-beti rishta” between the two countries never failed to guarantee a dose of extra warmth despite the chill in the relationship.

Modi, too, has won hearts and minds in Nepal, even after the blockade. But the PM’s warmth hasn’t percolated down to the capital’s bureaucratic classes which insist on doing business with its neighbours dominated by official talking points, power-point presentations and memory cards.

Meanwhile, the Chinese are flush with cash and Delhi’s demonetisation woes haven’t subsided. Modi’s big feather in his cap, as he meets Xi this weekend, is that US President Donald Trump is, at least for the moment, letting him have his say on Kashmir.

With the US backing him, PM Modi can afford to play the perfect, cool host. What happens after Mamallapuram will be the real story.

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  1. New Delhi ;long lost Kathmandu, and Sri Lanka. The Chinese were throwing money bones to these chota wallas and its easy to trap them and later confiscate their land and economy. So Delhi cannot do much here, however during the we can educate them before falling prey to these Chinese dogs. Which many African countries have heeded to India and US advice on China, And the latest victim is Mauritius, But China’s debt trap game cannot last long and will have its fierce effect ver y soon. And EU and US have already working on it, The Chinese only know to rob, steal and own you at the end of the day, Goto to play smart to win them in the long run,

  2. Jyoti’s analysis is at most confusing. Nepal is going away because previous Govt. led by MMS did not take into account of interests of the communist party of Nepal and even communists leaders from India couldn’t accomplish much. So why blame Modi for this??? And if China isn’t raising the Kashmir issue with India then it’s a victory of India. Remember in UPA time when China started giving stapled visas to Kashmiris. But again Modi haters will blame him for everything including the death of their own cats. Besides Chinese economy is growing at much slower pace than India and China could grow because people like Jyoti and communists will not let India become a free market economy. Now shedding crocodile tears….

    • Who stop Modi to make economy a free market. He modified 370 inspite of opposition of all opposition parties. So no excuse. The problem with Modi is he dislike honest and intelligent person who give correct but unpleasant answer. First Raghuraj Rajan left, then patel then lahariya phir subramaniam. He appoint history scholar as RBI governor.

      • Do you know who is the RBI Governor? Das has been economic affairs secretary and revenue secretary. He is no history scholar. get your facts right! And yes, Modi did right in removing 370!

        • No, you certainly don’t know who is the RBI governor Das. First and foremost he is a Modi man from Gujarat. Modi brought him to Delhi, and made him the economic affairs secretary and revenue secretary, etc. After reputed economists Raghuram Rajan and Patel left as RBI governors, because they couldn’t stnd undue interference from Modi, and left in disgust, Modi brought in his man Das as the governor of the RBI, EVEN THOUGH DAS HAD A DEGREE IN HISTORY! Why do you think some one with a history degree can’t be an economic affairs secretary, or a revenue secretary? Modi is only a 10th grader, and he is the PM! At least Das has some kind of a degree!!

    • Unfortunately current PM of India is even more extreme left wing Marxist/Communist. Soon Karats, Yechury, Raja etc will be learning Communism at Modi’s feet.

      • It’s partly true. I’m expecting him to unleash more economic reform else he looses my trust. But one has to also take into account the fact he is inheriting lots of problems that have built up since 1990s and also to the irrationality of Indian people who want everything but never pay taxes and indulge in corruption whenever they have opportunity. If demonitisation can fail and people manage to deposite money the banks again then I fear that there is very little hope for finishing corruption.

  3. After Vij, this columnist is another farce.
    Yes regarding Nepal, yes communist party coming there is dangerous for us. But who allowed it in 2006, it was our own Congress party. The King there was very friendly to us, also we both are similar religious society, so they are always our brothers. But who spoiled it in 2000s and allowed commies to gain there.

  4. An active leader’s plate is always full. 18 hours daily non stop working is not enough for Modi to deliver all that India needs. I wish ThePrint journalists also come out of their lazy thinking and help Modi to develop India faster.

  5. Since I am a true Patriot, I put to you.
    Some disgraceful facts.
    Half out children suffer from malnutrition and are stunted according to the UN health index.
    Half our women suffer from anaemia.
    China has pulled a billion people out of poverty and has the world healthiest population.
    We cannot even say that INDIA is a democracy any more with equal rights for all.
    How are we better than China?
    Why should our neighbours follow our example and not China’s

    • – Its true that China ranks better than India in terms of statistics related to malnutrition etc.
      – Repercussions of chinese one-child policy is just coming to the surface, and god knows what other unforeseen
      effects will come out of their social experiment and bulldozing effect of their cultural revolution.
      – And don’t even get me started on the conditions of Uighurs and other minorities over there, I read that they still
      track them with mobile phone bugs long after they leave chinese mainland. And bringing down any symbols or
      scripts associated with muslim or arabic culture, not just religious but in restaurants etc. too.
      – Nonetheless, I agree that Indians are way behind chinese and would remain so for years to come, so better that India and
      other asian countries must take inspiration from chinese model of development and social harmony.

    • abdul bhai go and see what china is doing to muslims in china. Uigur muslims. What has communist russia done to muslims? conquered and changed their roots.
      And what has pakistan done to muslims. Shias are not safe, ahmedias are not safe, pathans is are treated badly, balochs, people from gilgit and baltistan, sindhare not safe, Mohajirs( from india) openly support india today. just listen to Altaf hussains tapes.

      India is the only countries where muslims have more rights than any other country. Only in INDIA MUSLIMS CAN SIT ON TV SHOWS AND DEBATE. THEY DONT HAVE THAT FREEDOM IN ANY OTHER COUNTRY( IF YOU KNOW PLEASE EDUCATE ME BY NAMING IT)

  6. See how elegantly President Trump threw the Kurds under the bus. As he gets sucked deeper into the impeachment process, it would be prudent not to expect too much from him. The House Foreign Relations Committee has urged a return to normalcy, noting the “ devastating impact on the lives and welfare of ordinary Kashmiris”. The state of our economy is known to all South – and south east – Asian neighbours.

    • (1) he, he, once again ashok JI is trembling at the prospect of Trump throwing India under the bus. Shri ashok JI thinks India’s foreign policy makers are dumb and naive. Bhaiya, please bring good arguments instead of repeating comments.

    • Kurds themselves are no saints, having treated their own brethren Yazidis pretty badly. In any case the Middle East is a holy mess. Somebody or the other keeps getting thrown under the bus, either by America or worse their own compatriots. So best not to compare regions and situations.

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