It’s being believed that the controversy displays Beijing’s increasing clout through its Belt & Road Initiative and diminishing US influence in Nepal.

A Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) grant agreed in 2017 has widened splits in the Nepal Communist Party. The party led by PM KP Sharma Oli is divided over a US promise of aid since it risks damaging ties with China.

The Opponents of the MCC argue that the aid from the United States is part of a US Indo-Pacific Strategy to limit Chinese influence in the region. They say accepting the MCC would undermine Nepalese sovereignty by drawing country into Washington’s orbit, and anger China.

And this comes in the aftermath of the country becoming involved with India over the disputed territory of Kalapani. Kathmandu had continued its cartographic aggression and currently shows areas of Lipulekh, Kalapani, and Limpiyadhura under Nepalese administration.

It’s being believed that the controversy displays Beijing’s increasing clout through its Belt and Road Initiative and diminishing US influence in Nepal.

The US committed to $500 million against a $130 million contribution from Nepal for a 400 kilovolt power transmission line and the upgrade of 300 km of roads in the Himalayan Country’s Southeast.

So the moral of the story is Nepal would have to sacrifice infrastructure to please China.

To counter the US aid, when China President Xi Jinping visited Nepal last year, he promised an aid of $50 million.

But can Nepal afford this? Nepal’s economy is already stressed. Remittances and tourist dollars have dried up because of the coronavirus pandemic.

In times like these, the last thing one would want to do is put all your eggs in one basket.

But Nepal is doing exactly that.

Consider this, before China President Xi Jinping’s visit to Nepal, its leaders attended a training programme on the former’s thinking.

It was an induction of sorts. But the issue here is the constitutions of the two countries do not match at all. Neither does their political orientation. Nepal is burning bridges with democratic nations to move into the orbit of an authoritarian regime. And Prime Minister Oli is mistaken if he thinks he can trust China.

Guess Nepal should just realise what’s right for it before it’s too late.

Author: Palki Sharma, Executive Editor, WION.
Editor’s Note: The article reflects the author’s opinion only, and not necessarily the views of the editorial opinion of Belt & Road News.