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*Why India is worrying ?*
Nepal has already signed up for China’s Belt and Road Initiative. In January, China ended India’s internet services monopoly in Nepal . And there is increasing talk of China constructing railway lines all the way to the Nepal border which could end landlocked Nepal’s dependence on India for land routes for trade.
Besides, In a recent interview to the South China Morning Post, Oli was clear that he would broaden his options by deepening ties with China to get more leverage in his dealings with Delhi.
“We have great connectivity with India and an open border. All that’s fine and we’ll increase connectivity even further, but we can’t forget that we have two neighbours,” Oli was quoted as saying in the interview. “We don’t want to depend on one country or have one option,” he said.
Indian circles also believe that Pakistan could be looking for a bit of support for itself from Nepal—to host the stalled Saarc (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) summit in Islamabad.
The summit was to be held in 2016 but India refused to attend and countries like Bangladesh and Afghanistan also, though indirectly, sided with India on its stance. With many of the countries in the eight-nation grouping joining the India-led initiative, Pakistan was forced to postpone the summit.
Many South Asian countries in the past have backed bringing China into Saarc—Nepal and Pakistan included. Ahead of the 2014 Saarc summit, India had successfully pushed back against this move.
PM Abbasi’s visit will provide an opportunity to further expand and strengthen bilateral relations across all areas of mutual interest including trade, education, tourism, defence and people to people contacts, according to the Foreign Office.
It said ways of invigorating the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) as an important regional organisation will also be discussed.
The Ambassador of Nepal , Sewa Lamsal Adhikari, called on the prime minister on Friday and conveyed the message of welcome from the Nepalese leadership to him.
She also discussed how to further strengthen bilateral relations.
“Nepal is an important regional country and a close friend. Our ties with Nepal are characterised by cordiality, mutual respect and commonality of interests. Our support to each other at bilateral and multilateral fora has remained indispensable for both the sides,” the Foreign Office said.
Beautiful view of Mountains from Chandrakot, Syangja
Photo credit: Prashant Gutung