China-Nepal Relations

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  • Prachanda's Visit to China: Opportunities and Challenges

    Nepali Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal’s visit to China on 22 September 2023 assumes significance, given the growing engagement of China in many sectors of Nepalese economy in the last few years.

    September 20, 2023

    Xi’s Nepal Visit Reveals a Grander Chinese Himalayan Approach

    President Xi’s Kathmandu visit sets a new parameter for the China-Nepal ties, moving away from the traditional interstate relations based on simple bilateral modes of engagement. Beijing seems to be orchestrating a Himalayan approach in its relations with Kathmandu – revealing a grander Chinese policy in making.

    November 04, 2019

    Nepal-China Transit Agreement: An Evaluation

    Nepal’s quest for an alternate transit country with a view to reducing its dependence on India succeeded with the finalisation of the text for the Protocol of Transit Transport Agreement with China on September 7, 2018.

    September 27, 2018

    Disaster Relief as a Political Tool: Analysing Indian and Chinese Responses after the Nepal Earthquakes

    In the aftermath of the 2015 earthquakes in Nepal, China and India immediately sent relief teams. The relief efforts in Nepal showcase a competitive aspect of the two major regional powers, as China seeks to gradually increase its influence in South Asia. This article analyses how these two governments utilised relief efforts to increase influence in Nepal, within the wider context of the contentious Sino–Indian relationship. The Chinese and Indian relief responses after the Nepal earthquakes are extrapolated to assess their strategic utility.

    November 2017

    China’s growing military ties with Nepal

    China has created a constituency within the Nepal Army during the last few years. Some senior officers of the NA favour deeper military cooperation with China to reap more benefits.

    March 31, 2017

    Controversy over Lipu-Lekh Pass: Is Nepal’s Stance Politically Motivated?

    Nepal claims that the Lipu-Lekh Pass, which was mentioned in the India-China joint statement of May 15, 2015, is a disputed tri-junction in which Nepal has an equal share.

    Nepal claims that the Lipu-Lekh Pass, which was mentioned in the India-China joint statement of May 15, 2015, is a disputed tri-junction in which Nepal has an equal share.

    June 09, 2015

    Strategic Himalayas: Republican Nepal and External Powers

    Strategic Himalayas: Republican Nepal and External Powers
    • Publisher: Pentagon Press

    The ten years of Maoist insurgency followed by the political vacuum after the abolition of the monarchy and the delay in the drafting of the Constitution has given credence to the role of external powers in shaping the domestic politics in that country. The book examines the nature of external powers’ role during the political transition in Nepal since 2006. It analyses Nepal’s relations with external powers’ in the framework of ‘small and major powers’.

    • ISBN 978-81-8274-761-6,
    • Price: ₹. 995
    • E-copy available

    Future of India–Nepal Relations: Is China a Factor?

    Nepal shares an open border of 1,868 km with five Indian states (Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal and Sikkim) and 1,415 km with Tibet. Under the 1950 Treaty of Peace and Friendship with India, Nepali citizens enjoy ‘national’ treatment and Nepali businesses unhindered rights of trade, transit and movement. An estimated six million Nepalese live and work in India and contribute to their inward remittances. Social intercourse along the Gangetic plane is described by people as ‘roti-beti ka sambandh’ (a relationship based on sharing of hearth and marriage).

    March 2015

    Amit Nayak asked: How can Nepal be so generous with China in recent times? Has anything gone wrong with India's Nepal policy?

    Reply: Refer to an earlier reply by Jagannath P. Panda to a similar query, at

    Also, refer to the following IDSA publications:

    Rup Narayan Das, “Nepal’s ties with India, China. How Kathmandu is striking a fine balance”, The Tribune, March 12, 2012.
    Nihar Nayak, “Nepal: Issues and Concerns in India-Nepal Relations” in India’s Neighbourhood: Challenges in the Next Two Decades, Pentagon Press, New Delhi, 2012.
    Nihar Nayak, “Chinese PM in Nepal: A short visit but a long trail?”, January 18, 2012.
    Satish Kumar, “China’s Expanding Footprint in Nepal: Threats to India”, Journal of Defence Studies, 5 (2), April 2011.
    Pramod Jaiswal, “India-China Power Game in Nepal and the Consequences”, September 16, 2010.
    Arvind Gupta, “India needs a new paradigm in its Nepal policy”, August 18, 2010.

    Kushal asked: In recent times, China has shown a keen interest in the politics of an unstable Nepal. What are China’s objectives in Nepal?

    Jagannath P. Panda replies: China sees Nepal as a strategic location for its geo-political objectives in South Asia. In Chinese strategic perception, Nepal would be better utilized by regional powers like India if China doesn’t maintain or institute a strong relationship with Nepal. Besides, the Chinese experts believe that Nepal is crucial from Beijing’s security perspective because of the frequent protest movements and vulnerable conditions in Tibet. In Chinese calculation, having good relations with Nepal will help it to curb Tibetan movements and keep a vigilant eye on the Tibetan protests and activities. While the Tibet factor remains primary security issue for China in Nepal, possibility for greater trade and commercial contacts with Nepal has also been the principal objectives in China’s recent policy towards Nepal. Trade has continued to expand between China and Nepal over the years, but importantly, China has also inked vital hydro power plant projects with Nepal.

    For example, China has recently signed a $1.6 billion agreement to develop the hydro power plant in Nepal, which is of almost 760-megawatt, known as West Seti project. This is vital from India’s perspective as India used to be the principal country in Nepal’s hydro power and water projects till recently. In short, the Chinese policy towards Nepal consists of both political and economic objectives, targeted at larger South Asian politics and goals. In return, Nepal has equally shown greater support and affiliation with China in the broader South Asian politics. This is clearly evidenced in Nepal’s open support for China’s application for “observer status” in SAARC previously. More recently, Nepal has also not openly opposed the prospect of China becoming a “full member” in SAARC. India must take these issues seriously, as Nepal is a neighbouring South Asian country, and India shares larger security and political interests with Nepal.