Chinese media advises India to not be wary of Beijing’s expanding role in Nepal

Beijing [China], Jan. 19 : An article appearing in Chinese Media has advised India to join hands with Beijing to tap into Nepal's hydropower industry 'instead of being nervous about China's expanding role there.' An article in Global Times said, "India should know that there are opportunities for both China and India to tap into Nepal's hydropower industry and help the country improve its infrastructure.

Further, China is more than willing to welcome other nations to join in its effort to contribute to regional growth." It added that New Delhi should change its mentality that China is trying to undercut its influence in South Asia and instead put serious action into helping promote regional economic development.

The article comes after China moved forward to kickstart a joint venture to build a long-delayed hydropower project in Nepal which the article said, "has the potential to enhance regional energy supply security and unlock economic growth." The latest progress in the project may put some pressure on other Asian countries, particularly India, to rebalance their strategic and economic calculations and decide whether they want to join China in improving regional infrastructure and reap gains from engaging in pragmatic economic cooperation, it added.

The Nepal Electricity Authority recently signed an initial agreement with China Three Gorges Corporation (CTGC) to develop the USD 1.6 billion West Seti hydropower project in midwest Nepal, which could generate 750 megawatts of power when completed.

According to a report last year from India's think tank Gateway House, Chinese investments in Nepal overtook India for the first time in 2014 and contributed to 42 percent of total foreign direct investment to Nepal in 2015-16, to which the article said, " is understandable that India may be wary of China's increasing economic engagement with Nepal as India sees Nepal as its conventional sphere of influence and has a particular interest in maintaining dominance in Nepal's hydropower industry." It added that but for a project as large as the West Seti hydropower station, Chinese investors are more competitive than their Indian counterparts in terms of technical capability, equipment and costs.

Source: ANI