Chinese FM on a mission to improve bilateral relations with India, after push BRI in Nepal


Chinese foreign minister and State Councilor Wang Yi is expected to visit India on an “exploratory” mission to improve bilateral relations after his two-day trip to Kathmandu to firmly push the Belt-Road Initiative (BRI) in Nepal. Wang is expected to visit Nepal on March 26-27 after which he will come to India. According to diplomats based in New Delhi and Kathmandu, the real reason for the Chinese foreign minister's visit is to balance equations in Kathmandu with the Sher Bahadur Deuba government ratifying the USD 500 million grant from the US for improving electricity supply and roads in Nepal on February 27, 2022. Signed in September 2017, the Millennium Challenge Corporation Nepal Compact grant was caught in the Communist-dominated politics of Nepal with Beijing adding fuel to the fire. The grant was ratified after the Biden administration leaned heavily on Nepal and its mercurial lawmakers with February 28, 2022, as the deadline. Following this, a 25 member US Congressional delegation is expected in Kathmandu in April 2022.

During his visit, Wang Yi will push the BRI with the Deuba government to counter the rising US influence in Nepal as the Himalayan Republic has not cleared even a single project promoted as a vision of Chinese President Xi Jinping. The Chinese foreign minister will meet his Indian counterpart external affairs Minister S Jaishankar and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, who is his counterpart in the Special Representative Dialogue on boundary resolution. While the two sides will exchange notes on the war in Ukraine and its global fallout, the real movement towards normalization of bilateral relations can only be achieved if the PLA decides to restore April 2020 status quo ante in East Ladakh. As of now, the last movement on disengagement in East Ladakh took place in general area Gogra (patrolling point 17A) after the 12th round of India-China military commanders dialogue on July 31, 2021. Hot Springs is located 10 kilometres from Gogra and 40 km from patrolling point 15 or Kongka La area. There has been no de-escalation with the Indian Army and Chinese PLA deploying nearly three divisions of troops on their sides of the 1597 km Ladakh Line of Actual Control (LAC). While China wants to restore economic cooperation with India with parallel dialogue on the boundary issue, India on its part has made it clear that the road to normalization of bilateral ties goes through restoring peace and tranquillity on the border. This includes Chinese adherence to the 1993 and 1996 pacts as well as resolving the patrolling rights issue in Depsang and Demchok areas after the restoration of April 2020 status from Galwan to south Pangong Tso areas.

The boundary resolution has become all the trickier with PLA indulging in massive up-gradation of military infrastructure all along the 3488 km LAC with new airbases, aircraft blast pens, missiles and surveillance using drones and electronic sensors.

(Except for the headline and the pictorial description, this story has not been edited by THE DEN staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)