China's mission Pokhara sets alarm bells ringing - The New Indian Express

China's mission Pokhara sets alarm bells ringing

Published: 15th Sep 2013 08:11:55 AM

Nepal is India’s national security bull in the China shop. China has asked permission from Nepal to set up a consulate in critically situated Pokhara, alarming New Delhi. The dragon has been slowly making the Himalayan kingdom its lair, and its presence in southern Nepal has serious strategic implications for India. The Pokhara consulate is ostensibly reciprocal to a proposed Nepali consulate in Guangzhou.

The proposal worries Indian security agencies. In recent months, the Pokhara region has been an important theatre of Indian counter-terrorism operations, scoring significant successes such as the arrest of terrorist bomb-maker Abdul Karim Tunda and Indian Mujahidden co-founder Yasin Bhatkal. Agencies feel that Chinese consolidation would provide protective cover for Pakistani terror groups targeting India.

China has also escalated its presence in the region. Confucius institutes, the official vehicles to promote Chinese language and culture are scattered all around Nepal. At all district headquarters, there are friendship societies and associations, which are manned by local businessmen with trade links to China. Meanwhile, India has also proposed new consulates in the Madhesh region in Nepalganj and Biratganj, but Nepal’s delicate current political situation has kept them on hold for the time being.

China’s primary concern in Nepal is to monitor suppress activities of Tibetan refugees. Pokhara is a major transit hub for Tibetans to reach India; four Tibetan refugee camps are located around the city. China is vying with India at the PR level, too. After initially nurturing close ties with the Nepalese monarchy and home ministry, Nepali politicians of all hues are invited to Beijing, much like invitations to New Delhi in recent years.

However, diplomatic sources say China is careful to calibrate its public statements, aware of Indian discomfort at their growing presence. Indian observers also believe that China is increasing its tentacles in Nepal to mainly counter the United States, which is active in the region. Recently, the US military and Nepalese army chartered an understanding on disaster response, which would increase the presence of US army personnel and aid officials in the country—a sore point in Beijing, nervous about US military personnel with their heavy-lifting equipment, operating close to their restive province.

Sources said the concerns of the central intelligence agencies about the spreading presence of China in Pokhara and its surrounding environs, close to the Indo-Nepal border, have been transmitted to the higher echelons of the government, including the prime minister’s office.

It will be difficult for Nepal to fob off Beijing for too long once a new government is in place after Constituent Assembly elections take place in November —especially since Nepal already has two consulates in Hong Kong and Lhasa.

A Chinese engineering firm had won the tender for an international airport in Pokhara last year. But, despite having a deadline for completing an agreement by August this year, it seems to have run into rough weather over increasing cost revisions.

-The Sunday Standard

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Comments(5)

The author has written this article without doing any research: First, Nepal and China has a friendly relation since long time and they have non-Interference policy unlike India in recent times. Major political problem in Nepal since the establishment of democracy is due to direct or indirect interference from Indian Government. As Nepalese Citizens, we do want good relation between two neighbors. However, even though we have similar culture share with India; we have been humiliated by Indian Foreign policy, whether it is in terms of supporting rebel groups of the Madhes (Terai Region) or supporting Communist Insurgency indirectly by providing sanctuary to their leaders. Hope Modi as PM will bring good relation with Nepal as well. Majority of Nepalese do not like Chinese Ideology of Communist rule; at the same time we cannot accept India's Hegemony and deliberate Interference in Nepal's affair. As long as India maintains positive attitude towards Nepal; she will remain an ally.

This is stupid journalism. Indian Mujahiddins were happen to be found here. We are not responsible for this and we don't want any terrorism act in our soil which will harm our neighbours. If you (India) blame for us and act to hinder our relationship with China by linking its interests to affect China-India relationship in Pokhara, that day would not be so far away where you see us changing our anti terrorist behaviour. We want to remain fren as long as India will treat us in friendly manner.

It will be in the best interest of Nepal to be more friendly with INDIA rather than with China. China is a communist ruled country and is very powerful . It will not be a surprise if after few years China will claim Nepal as its territory. Nepal should not allow to use its territory to be used by China for anti India operations.

How come Nepal became kingdom. Its already Republic. I think indian media is very narrowminded. They dont know what is the reality. They know too much about salman khan and shahrukh war or asharam case but they dont know simple thing about their neighbouring countries. If you people want to be super power in world scenario please change your attitude and work like BBC or CNN. Look how they report. If you dont know about nepal please ask us we will provide you the resource. Thanks

Nepal is a land of poor and simple people. We come to India for our bread and for this we do not require any Passport or Visa unlike China or other countries. India is our elder brother and harmoney should always be there as we have similar culture. I think Nepal should be treated as youger brother of India and not like as a neighbour. In India Nepali people are known as "Bahadur", however, they have contributed a lot in the economic upliftment of their big brother apart from strong defence force. Hence, bad elements should always be discouraged from both sides. Thanks.

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