Saturday, December 10, 2022

India, Nepal pledge to deepen ties as China gains power

NEW DELHI ( Associated Press) – Nepal’s Prime Minister met his Indian counterpart on Saturday during a three-day trip to New Delhi and signed a series of agreements to strengthen their ties, as the Himalayan nation also maintains relations with India’s rival China deepen.

Sher Bahadur Deuba met Narendra Modi on his first foreign trip since becoming Nepal’s prime minister last year following the fall of a Communist government in Kathmandu.

The leaders discussed bilateral relations and later virtually waved flags during the opening of passenger train services between the neighbors. They said at a joint news conference that they plan to deepen their cross-border involvement.

The visit comes amid growing concerns among India’s strategic experts that New Delhi is losing influence over the Himalayan country to compete with China, which overloaded Nepal with investments in infrastructure development and helped with millions of doses of COVID-19 vaccines during the pandemic.

It is tradition that Nepalese prime ministers visit India’s southern neighbor shortly after taking office, which has always had great political and economic influence over Nepal.

The visit is seen as an opportunity for Deuba to renew relations with Indian leaders and also for Indian leadership to try to regain their onslaught.

Deuba’s trip comes on the heels of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s visit to Kathmandu and Nepal’s approval of a controversial half-billion-dollar US aid grantapparently to counter Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative.

Nepal is surrounded on three sides by India with open borders that allow traffic in each other’s territories without passports or visas. Surrounding Nepal imports most of its food, supplies and oil from India.

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