Current news about Russian President Putin’s impending visit to Nepal appears to have been held in abeyance. Perhaps, for a good reason.
I have written more than once about the desirability and wisdom of USA getting involved in the affairs of Nepal and its surroundings. That China has been playing a major role there should surprise none because it was the Chinese who had been culturally and politically engaged in the region long before the world ever heard of Nepal as the home of the Buddha and of the Abominable snowman.
In 630 A.D., the famous Chinese philosopher monk named Hiuen Tsang (now more correctly Xuan Zang) of China had come to Kathmandu and recorded in his journal that there is a lake upon which if one throws a burning stick, the whole surface catches fire. Fifteen centuries were to elapse before it is rediscovered by the Chinese who are right now busy harvesting the methane gas for domestic consumers. Curiously enough, Nepalese Govt had earlier requested the British and the Indian experts to carry out geological survey of the land to determine if any natural resources could be found and they had found nothing.
The Chinese have besides methane gas found petroleum wells, iron ore, coal and more importantly, uranium ore deposits in Nepal.
It stands for good reason that the Chinese may eventually claim a lion’s share of these bountiful finds, but so far they have persistently stated that these natural resources belong to Nepal and Nepal alone.
Unwilling to accept a loss of face India has entered the field, claiming a large chunk of land of Nepal as their own and even mobilized its army to take possession of it. Militarily, they may be unevenly matched but diplomatically Nepal has scored a resounding victory over the piece of real estate, Chinese have supported Nepalese claim and so have all the neighbouring countries, making India appear as the blatant aggressor.
What can USA do? I have a very simple plan; let several battalions of US Corps of Engineers go to Nepal with a mandate to build roads, bridges and ropeways; they may work alongside Nepalese Army Engineers and build roads and ropeways in remote areas eventually to handover completed work with road building equipment to the Nepalese. They may also build heliports at nodal points all as a service rendered and as a token of goodwill. Their presence alone will be sufficient guarantee and deterrent to any would be trouble makers.
A major assignment to the Corps of Engineers would be the construction of a major navigable canal system connecting East-West riparian region as a gift expressing American goodwill and generosity towards the people of Nepal.