Beijing: The new Prime Minister of Nepal K P Sharma Oli is “pro-China” and is “expected to keep closer ties” with the Communist nation despite Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s efforts to boost ties with it, according to the Chinese official media.
“(Prime Minister Narendra) Modi has made efforts to develop friendly relations with neighbouring countries since he came to office (in May last year). This has contributed to the change of diplomatic landscape of South Asian nations,” an said an article in the State-run Global Times. “Instead of keeping a distance from India, they (South Asian nations) are gradually moving to strike a balance between India and China. This is the broad regional
environment Nepal is facing. Despite this, Kathmandu under Oli’s governance is expected to keep closer ties with Beijing,” added the article titled ‘Nepal warms toward China as new Beijing-friendly coalition takes power’.
The article, written just five days after the new government took over in Nepal, said the previous coalition government headed by Nepali Congress Party was “customarily perceived as pro-India” while Oli is “pro-China”. “Many Nepalese are very friendly and willing to cooperate with Beijing. Kathmandu, under Oli governance is expected to have close ties with Beijing which is to the benefits of both the nations,” it said. Until CPN came to power, Nepal, mostly ruled by the NCP, was a “fervent follower of New Delhi while remaining tepid towards Beijing. However, CPN despite its short term in office, transformed the nation’s attitude towards India and China,” said the article written by Xu Liang, Executive Director at the India Studies Centre of the State-run Beijing International Studies University.
While referring to the “pro-India” tilt of the previous Nepal government, the article said, “New Delhi taking advantage of such intimacy therefore has some control over Kathmandu’s economy. Oli’s CPN (Communist Party of Nepal-UML) is characterised by its pro-China stance. This means Kathmandu is very likely to cooperate more with Beijing.” It said that, “Unlike the Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (UCPN-M), which is characterised by relatively radical policies, CPN strives of stability and aims to develop Nepal-China friendship step by step.”
The article said that in order to minimise Nepal’s economic dependence on India, Nepalese political parties have been included as dialogue partner in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), a China-led regional security organisation comprising most of Russia and Central Asian states. India and Pakistan are set to become SCO members in 2016. The article referred to the changed diplomatic landscape in South Asia in terms of departure from a “pro-China policy” the previous Sri Lankan government followed under Mahinda Rajapaksa as well as “a balanced approach” followed by the government of Maldives, which earlier was seen as heavily tilted towards China.