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Xi Jinping attempts to make China net security provider of Nepal

China will always support Nepal in safeguarding its sovereignty, territorial integrity: Xi Jinping

, ET Bureau|
Oct 14, 2019, 11.23 PM IST
Chinese President Xi Jinping with Nepalese President Bidhya Devi Bhandari.
NEW DELHI: During President Xi Jinping’s weekend visit, China attempted to emerge as a net security provider of Nepal by assuring to protect its sovereignty. This is the first such occasion when China has publicly made an assurance to protect another nation’s sovereignty.

Xi in Kathmandu said: “China will always support Nepal in safeguarding its national independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

This can be viewed as an attempt by China to replace India as the net security provider of Nepal despite the Himalayan state not agreeing to sign the extradition and defence treaties during Xi’s visit.

A ‘serious’ attempt by China to strengthen security partnership did not yield any result at this stage even as Xi made his intentions clear, according to persons familiar with the development. Most of the 18 agreements signed during the visit were either in the form of expression of interest or feasibility study, one of the persons said. The Chinese President also used the opportunity to send a strong message to both the Tibetans and Hong Kong protesters.

Despite growing dependence on China for financial support, the Nepalese security establishment, that has maintained closer links with Indian Army for decades, is not yet ready for deeper ties with China, ET has learnt.

Irrespective of the support and boost that China has extended to Nepal in certain critical areas, Nepal remains cautious of Chinese involvement such as the construction or setting up of the National Defence University, according to one of the persons quoted above. Nepal Army feels that an institution of this stature is a matter of pride and should be built by them rather than any outside entity.

Similarly, on the issue of construction of the Parliament building, it was speculated that an agreement would be signed with China to either build or fund it but no pact could be inked. The extradition treaty would have naturally been a cause of concern to some other close partners of Kathmandu and therefore Nepal played it safe on this count, claimed a person familiar with Nepal’s ruling dispensation.

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