Nepal has often been described as a poor landlocked country and in essence Nepal has been an India-locked country; Indian leaders have always believed they controlled Nepal’s destiny. Nepal was virtually at India’s mercy and oftentimes Indian truck-drivers would declare road block cutting off all supplies on way to Nepal. Nepal saw it as a political strong arm twisting just disguised as truck drivers’ strike.
That is where President Xi Jinping stepped in; he accompanied by a team of high-ranking officials visited Kathmandu on October 12 and 13 and signed multiple agreements along with multi-billion dollars of assistance, no string attached. Actually hundreds of Chinese engineers are already busy digging tunnels through ‘inaccessible’ Himalayas at several places linking Nepal with China through railways and roads that are already in fine shape transporting Chinese merchandise into Nepal. The two airports of Kathmandu and Pokhara have been modernized to international standards and as he famously declared that Nepal is no longer a land-locked country, he is making his promise good.
President Xi did not mince his words addressing Nepalese politicians that the Chinese bore only goodwill towards Nepal and its people but anyone attempting to cause harm to Chinese sovereignty we will see his bones will be crushed. He was obviously referring to India where the Dalai Lama has been enjoying political asylum.
Laying railway lines across the Himalayas is no mean feat of engineering and we can safely grant the Chinese engineers at least five to six years. But when the train does actually arrive, it will be in stark contrast to Indian railways which have barely changed since the British left in 1947.
Thus far India has been acting ipso facto spoke person on behalf of Nepal and I would encourage anyone seeking information on Nepal need to ask the Chinese from now on. Xuan Zang, the famous Chinese pilgrim had visited Kathmandu in 636 A.D. and had recorded in his journal that there is a pond of water in Kathmandu where if you throw a burning wood, the lake itself gets ignited. We had to wait these fourteen centuries for some Chinese engineers to investigate and begin harnessing the natural gas for domestic consumption.
There is yet time for the US to act as I wrote in my previous blog, US can meet China in Nepal.