Friday, February 05, 2016

Nepal News (14)

India Steps Up Pressure on Nepal
The Nepali government’s conflicting signals regarding what would be Oli’s first overseas visit expresses a political crisis exacerbated by India’s intervention, which has been encouraged by the US...... One committee member told the Hindu: “Nepal was fast emerging as vehicle for China’s growing influence in south Asia and souring India’s ties with Nepal.” This “would send out a negative message to other members of the South Asian region.” ..... At issue is not just India’s drive to incorporate Nepal into its perceived South Asian sphere of influence. Washington, which has embarked on aggressive military encirclement of China, has a strategic partnership with India. Both India and the US consider Nepal to be a critically-situated underbelly of China, a base from which to undermine Beijing. ...... The Obama administration is seeking to entangle all the countries across the region in its “pivot to Asia” to confront China. Echoing India’s stance, US Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken telephoned Oli on January 22, urging him to “represent the interests of all Nepalis and take concrete steps to resolve the political impasse.” ...... In 2014, China overtook India as Nepal’s largest foreign investor. A report by Nepal’s Department of Industry said Chinese investments reached $174 million between July and December 2014, accounting for over 60 percent of the total foreign direct investment committed. This was a three-fold rise from the $55 million investment in the corresponding months of 2011, when India was the biggest source of investment in Nepal. ..... The Nepal crisis is another expression of the aggressive US moves against China, and the harnessing of India as Washington’s partner. This drive is deepening geo-political tensions and increasing political instability throughout South Asia, including in mountainous Nepal.

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