JSS  Vol.9 No.8 , August 2021
Nepal-China Security Issue in the Context of Belt and Road Program Implementation
Abstract: Nepal-China security cooperation is in a progressing way since some years. Defense cooperation on multiple spheres could display the accumulative understanding and coherence on political-security realm. Due to the geo-security aspect, China has been concerned on its bordering region with Nepal. Defense cooperation since 2015 has been growing exponentially with technical supports, exchanges and joint training. This paper concludes that security issue between Nepal and China is the prominently significant agenda on bilateral cooperation. It is also concomitant with great powers interest in South Asia. Some section of security experts in Nepal opined that with the establishment of Republic system, China searched established state power to foster continues collaboration in Nepal. In course of it, China found Nepal’s security agencies a trustful for enhancing cooperation as a stable state power and institutions. Peace and stability in the geo-strategically significant Nepal definitely contribute for the entire region and help to reduce regional politico-security imbalance, confrontation and zero-some game. Nepal-China constructive defense cooperation depends on the seriousness, pragmatism and rational efforts of two countries’ national leadership. Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has given opportunity for two countries to reach at consensus on common issues and execute policies regarding the broader area of partnership. This research has used “comprehensive approach” as a theoretical framework and is based on qualitative study, and documents/archive study and interview tools are used for data collection.

1. Introduction

Though China has initiated reform and opening up policy formally since 1978, the real socio-economic development process took the ground since 1985 with structural reform on economic front. China’s bilateral and multilateral relations increased largely with many countries since reform and opening up. Written history says that since Licchavi Dynasty of Nepal at around 6th century, Nepal and China began exchanges on the areas like trade, culture and other related bilateral issues (Acharya, 2018) .

Nepal and China both have long civilizations and history. The relations between Nepal and China have been marked by understanding, mutual support, friendliness, respect for each other’s sensitiveness and cooperation (Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 2019) . History shows that trans-Himalaya region is geo-strategically and geo-politically important and its environmental factor is also issue of the concern to the rest of the world since long time. With the changing regional and world scenario, Nepal has formulated and implemented balanced and relevant national security strategy (Wang, 2005) . Nepal due to its geographical location, always need to be conscious on dealing with neighbor powers without using one another and being stick on national interest (Bhasin, 2005) .

China confronted large external aggression at the time of Manchu dynasty, which eventually shakes regional balance and driven to collapse of the dynasty itself. China felt more weakness witnessing the technological force of the West (Hansen, 2012) . There were little exchanges between Nepal and China, when China faced internal troubles since 1912-1949. After that two countries have again commenced cooperation. Nepal was among the very few countries in the world to recognize and maintain bilateral relations with People’s Republic of China (PRC). Nepal and China formally established diplomatic relations in 1955 and two countries vowed to expand multiple exchanges and cooperation based on mutual understanding and trust. State visit of Nepali Prime Minister BP Koirala to China in March 1960 and his meeting with Chinese President and Chairman of Communist party of China (CPC) Mao Zedong was very historical to harness political, economic, security and cultural-educational exchanges and cooperation (Sharma, 2019) . Later, Nepali King Mahendra did a lot to build up bilateral relations of two countries to a newer height. China’s assistance to Nepal’s development increased in his tenure. With signing on the framework of Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in 2017, Nepal is said working hard to make priorities for her national development. With coming in power, President Xi tries hard to broaden the area of cooperation with the neighbor countries. For further detail, his domestic and external priority-agendas can be seen in his books to understand the Chinese new perspective on cooperation (Xi, 2014, 2015) .

Nepal-China as both are neighbor countries, still level of cooperation and exchanges is not enough in a way leaders of both countries committed at bilateral meetings (Sharma, 2018; Manandhar, 1999) . Nepali people expect that northern border with China should be more flexible to them for cross-border trade and exchanges. Since signing the border agreement, Nepal-China has been successfully maintaining order at the border area (Nepali, 2001; Bhattarai, 2010) . Due to open border mechanism between Nepal and India without scientific-technological mechanism, Nepal has been facing deep security challenges from Southern border and there has been high public demand to regulate and manage the border properly. Nepal and India need to create understanding with proper management mechanism on border areas addressing pertinent challenges (Bhasin, 1994) . In the northern part, Nepal and China could build understanding to make easy access on border side, even as not like as Nepal-India open border mechanism. Since 2017, upgrading of Rasuwagadhi border seems has been going in a right track. In Rasuwa district, Chinese government companies supported for dry port, 100 MW Rasuwagadhi hydroelectric plant and to complete the “Friendship Bridge” (Mulmi, 2019) . India’s hegemonic posture towards the neighbor countries pressed the countries like Nepal to take support and alternative trade-transit route from China. Some Indian expert says India must shoulder its own share of blame for not managing the neighbor relations well (Rajagopalan, 2018) . The signing of a treaty of trade and transit with China on March 22, 2016, could end India’s domination on this sphere and open the door for development in Nepal (Dahal, 2018) .

This paper analyzes as per the basic research questions on what is the situation of Nepal-China security issue, how to enlarge two countries defense cooperation and why the geopolitically vital Nepal is a significant for China’s security concern? This study shows that Nepal-China security cooperation in more pragmatic sense has increased since 2015. In his first term as a Prime Minister of Nepal, K.P Sharma Oli commenced some historical initiative to broaden military-level cooperation with China. And China has increased assistance since then. Furthermore, at his second term as a PM, Oli did even more to harness security cooperation, which culminated with joint military exercises, increasing exchanges and expansion of Chinese military assistance to Nepali security forces. It is also Nepal’s responsibility for not allowing any anti-Chinese activities using Nepali soil. High-level military visits from both sides denote the sophisticated defense cooperation commenced in the new era. China seems always serious on Tibetan issue and possible foreign involvement to create instability using Nepali soil. Nepal till now succeeds to assure China for not letting anti-China activities and plot using her soil. The major questions of the paper are as follows:

1) How to analyze Nepal-China security issue in the context of historical development?

2) What is the geo-political and geo-strategic dimension of the Nepal-China security issue?

3) How does Nepal-China security issue be noteworthy for BRI programs implication process?

2. Theoretical Framework and Methodological Approach

Comprehensive approach of international relations is used to analyze the Nepal-China security relations. This approach is started to use widely on international relations and security studies discipline since 1970. United Nations is one of the strong agencies to use this approach to describe international behavior, events and activities. The purpose of such an approach are cooperation among nations when reasonable and integration capabilities when possible to develop both a shared vision of strategic objectives and an end state, requiring mutual awareness of risks, threats and actions of participants (Jasper and Moreland, 2015) . This approach support to judge, analyze and acknowledge the patterns of relations between actors in all positive and negative circumstance. “A Comprehensive approach is taken to mean the employment of unified principles in planning and conducting with all relevant actors in an increasingly complex environment” (Ibid.). This approach is widely accepted, and new practices based on this approach hope to generate new idea and pattern on related area. It supports to analyze and give the theoretical ground for international actor’s behavior (Jasper and Moreland, 2014) .

In this paper, comprehensive approach is used to analyze, judge and evaluate the overall security relations between Nepal and China particularly since 1955. This approach provides theoretical basements to analyze situation and guide toward the conclusion points. Theoretical clarity and basement structurally help to generalize even the complex and diverse issues in a systematic way and give direction for further research work. This research is qualitative in nature and descriptive in form. Secondary data are used and tries hard to make proper validity and authenticity of the data.

3. BRI and Security Aspects Aligned with It

Chinese president Xi Jinping has formally announced Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in 2013, and requested to the global community to comprehensively participate at the global platform of cooperation. Though BRI concept was first time formally proclaimed in 2013, Chinese related ministries had jointly issued formal papers about it in 2015. According to President Xi, BRI is not a project or strategy or campaign but it is a platform for international cooperation, launched by China but for the rest of the world (Cai, 2017; Liu & Liu, 2016) . Chinese society is still following the principles of Confucianism on their daily life and societal-cultural work, and China now working to expand the knowledge of Confucianism for the modern world (Daniel and Chaibong, 2003) . National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) and Ministry of Commerce of China had jointly published a vision statement and action plan on the principles, framework, cooperation priorities and mechanisms of the Belt and Road. According to the paper, BRI upholds the Five principles of peaceful coexistence: mutual respect for each other’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, mutual non-aggression, mutual non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit, and peaceful coexistence (Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Commerce, 2015; NDRC, 2015) .

China is still a developing country and its experience on socio-economic progress could be beneficial to developing world (Huang, 2015) . As mentioned in a BRI statement, all parties could get benefits sharing their interests and could build up grand cooperation for long-term social-economic achievement (Wu, Wang and Liu, 2016) . BRI generates the new issue on socio-economic development and connectivity from new aspect at the time of critical moment on world politics due to anti globalization drive and rightist activities in many countries. If positively implemented the spirit of BRI, it could support China to enhance its soft power sphere too (Sharma and Khatri, 2018) . China’s initiation of effective cooperation in South Asia could produce geo-strategic significance of the region (Cheng, 2010) .

Security concern is genuinely aligned with BRI based cooperation. Nepal and China have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the framework of BRI in May 2017 to enhance connectivity in areas like road, railways, port, aviation, communication and other common interest areas based on mutual trust and win-win cooperation (Belt and Road News Online, 2019) . At a cordial meeting with President of Nepal Bidhya Devi Bhandari in Beijing in March 2019, President Xi said that China and Nepal needs to strengthen cooperation on infrastructure construction to enhance the building of the China-Nepal cross-border economic cooperation zone (Wang, 2019) .

Because of the geographical location of Nepal, it needs more passage to link with north and south neighbors and ultimately to the rest of the world. With searching short and efficient trade route with China, Nepal could get more benefits with reducing trade deficits too. “Removal of non-tariff barriers—mutual accreditation arrangements, entry-exit inspection and simplified quarantine rules and regulations at the entry points, including mainland China, and simplification of customs procedures—can be effective tools to bridge the divide” writes an expert Shanker Man Singh (2019) . Due to open platform aspect of BRI, Nepal-China security cooperation issue has become in a front level of discussion between two countries. China’s border security concern and Nepal’s regionally geo-strategic location has pressed two countries to have tangible cooperation on common security issue and harness multiple level of understating.

4. Security Issues and Ways of Strategic Partnership

Nepal’s Kathmandu valley and China’s Tibet has been long history of exchanges due to geographical proximity. Because of the regular interaction, sometime both parties faced friction on their relationships. Nepal and China’s Tibet went to war in 1788.

Weakening situation of the last Qing dynasty since the end of 19th century had given space for external interferences. China faced deep political instability since the end of Qing dynasty to the 1949. Communist revolution in China succeeded in with under the leadership of Mao Zedong. At the almost same time in Nepal, Rana regime was collapse. Monarchy and democratic political party succeeded to establish democratic regime in 1951. It was a first time Nepali people enjoyed democracy in Nepal. With new regime came in Nepal and China, the two countries established formal diplomatic relations in 1955. Both countries agreed to augment bilateral relationship based on “Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence”, also known as Panchasheela. Developing world due to their own structural problem and bad governance practices sometime lost capacities to maintain relations with major powers and get the benefits (Diamond, 1999; Fukuyama, 2009) .

Nepal and China did significant defense cooperation in 1988 with inking some agreements. Since then, China has increased level of military support to Nepali security forces. At the end of Panchayat era in 1989, Nepal purchased some quantities of anti-aircraft guns, AK-47 rifles and other some military hardware equipment from China. But Indian establishment took it against the Peace and Friendship Treaty of 1950 and imposed economic blockade to the landlocked country Nepal. Former Prime Minister Krishna Prasad Bhattarai answered to Indian officials during his state visit to India on the questions regarding Nepal’s arms deal to China in 1989 that China provided arms equipment in a cheap price but India didn’t fulfill the criteria.

There was not substantial defense cooperation between Nepal and China for two decades since 1990. But after India’s another economic blockade to Nepal in 2015 which actually compelled Nepali government to harness cooperation with China and end the dominance of India’s monopoly on trade and transit. Then K.P Sharma Oli government had started new form of defense cooperation with China after that. China is also said agree to support to establish Defense University in Nepal. In April 2017, the two countries had organized first joint military exercises called “Sagarmatha Friendship-1” in Kathmandu and second military exercise “Sagarmatha Friendship-2” accomplished in September 2018 in Chengdu city of Sichuan Province of China. This kind of exercises support to share military skills and experiences to each other (Subedi, 2018) .

After 2015, time and again China has been supporting military equipment and training to Nepal’s security forces. China assumes that unnecessary western INGOs in Nepal are a threat for China and ultimately instigate regional instability. In course of it, China’s multiple cooperation with Nepal is increasing in a numerous pace since some years (Starr, 2018) . In 2011, China supported to provide 7.7 million USD in financial military aid and two countries agreed in 2013 on the issue of deepening defense and security ties. Experts said that due to the sensitivity of Tibet region, China is pragmatically serious to expand more military support to Nepal’s security forces, aiming that strong and highly-equipped Nepali security forces could detect any kinds of anti-China activities in Nepali soil. Similarly, the practice of cultural exchanges and procedure of learning knowledge between two countries has an outstandingly long history—none of them have in the history demonstrated arrogance of bigger strength and superiority of civilization (Sangroula, 2014) . Nepal, bordering with China in a north and India in a South, assume a strategic relevance in view of the shifting power equation in the global context and Nepal’s capacity for not letting its soil to use against China’s national security interest have been appreciated by China (Acharya, 2014) .

In June 2019, Chief of Nepal Army Purna Chandra Thapa visited Beijing and met with China’s defense minister and senior army officers. At the meeting, China shows willingness to work with the Nepali side to maintain sound development momentum of bilateral military ties, step up long-term planning and top level design of military cooperation and promote continuous consolidation, deepening and upgrading the ties the two militaries (Economic Times, 2019) . At the occasion of the visit, an agreement was signed on that China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) would provide heavy mechanical bridge, explosive ordinance disposal equipment, rescue kits and some financial support. In September 2018, Nepal decided to not participate on BIMSTEC military exercise soon after China provided its access to four seaports and three land ports, which is expected to brig an end to India’s monopoly over the landlocked country’s trading routes (Kinling, 2018) . But Nepal took part in Sagarmatha Friendship-2 joint military exercise with China that completed on same month in the southwestern Chinese province of Sichuan. China is aware about willingness of some external enemies who want to create instability in Chinese society and so that it always serious on the issue of border security with neighbor countries likes Nepal (Gautam, 2019) . In all circumstance, Nepal need to balance relations with China and India, and China also need to understand the political reality and efforts to stop anti-China forces in Nepal (Sangroula, 2016) .

Kathmandu-based journalist Kamal Dev Bhattarai wrote that although Nepal and China signed an understanding on military cooperation in 1988, bilateral defense cooperation extended momentum generally after Kind Gyanendra’s takeover in 2005 (Bhattarai, 2019a) . On October 24, 2005, China provided military assistance worth $989,000 to Nepal, largely to control the Maoist insurgency. China built and handed over National Armed Police Force Academy in 2017 to Nepal government. Just after the first Constituent Assembly (CA) election in 2008, China provided military assistance worth $2.6 million for the professionalization and modernization of the Nepal Army.

Professor and expert on Nepal-China issue Rajiv Jha (2019) analyzed that there should not be any hurdle on two countries’ defense cooperation. “China seems ready to provide necessary support. Similarly, Nepal should address the genuine security concern of China regarding border security particularly,” he says. On a phone interview, senior journalist and expert on Nepal-China security issue, Sushil Aryal (2019) opined that with based on non-alignment policy and Panchasheela principle, Nepal can take require military support from China in an aim to modernize the national security institutions. Khanal (2019a) , associate professor of Economics at Tribhuvan University of Nepal said that now economically strong China is in a condition to support militarily to the countries like Nepal, and it is necessary to have clarity on requirement and interest while taking military support from China. Nepali economist Damodar Bhusal (2019a) told in an interview that due to China’s non-interference foreign policy, Nepal need not to be afraid to expand military cooperation, but the case is Nepal always should play balance role while approaching with major powers. “President Xi’s Nepal visit was a historical milestone on bilateral relations. As per the common security challenges of two counties, Nepal and China further develop the defense cooperation,” says Manju Mishra, Professor and Principle of College of Journalism and Mass Communication. In an in-depth interview, Sundarnath Bhattarai, Vice-Chairman of Kathmandu-based Think Tank China Study Centre analyzed that Nepal should be full prepared to maintain balance relations with major powers. He emphasized that Nepal-China security cooperation which seems growing since some years could support for Nepali military strength and maintain order in border areas (Bhattarai, 2019b) .

In 2018, Chinese Defense Minister and State Councilor Change Wanquan paid a three-day visit to Nepal and announced some military assistance to Nepal worth of $32.3 million. Defense ministers of two countries signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and jointly committed to enhance cooperation on training, exchanges and technology know-how. China showed readiness to establish Defense University in Nepal and announced 150 million RMB to support capacity building of Nepal Army for the next five years. Nepali Journalist Kamal Dev Bhattarai (2019a) had mentioned defense cooperation occasions between Nepal and China since 1988 in the following ways:

• Bilateral military cooperation commenced in 1988.

• Nepal bought military hardware such as anti-aircraft guns, medium range SSM, and AK-47 rifles among others in 1989.

• Soon after the royal takeover in 2005, China promised military assistance of $989,000 to Nepal to fight the Maoist insurgency.

• In December 2008, Nepal and China inked an agreement on military assis­tance worth $2.6 million for the modernization of the Nepal Army.

• In 2009, China agreed to provide military aid worth 20.8 million Yuan (approximately Rs 220 million).

• In 2011, during his visit to Nepal, then Chi­nese Army Chief Chen Bingde announced military aid of $7.7 million for the Nepal Army.

• In June 2013, Nepal and China agreed to construct the National Armed Police Force Academy during Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi’s visit to Kathmandu.

• In 2017, China pledged an assistance of $32.3 million to the Nepal Army.

• In April 2017, Nepal and China began the first ever-joint military drill “Sagarmatha Friendship-1”, which was a major turning point in bilateral defense cooperation. And second joint military exercise “Sagarmatha Friendship-2” was held in September 2018 in China’s Sichuan province. In October 2018, China announced to provide assistance worth RMB 150 million (Rs 2.53 billion) to the Nepal Army for the next five years.

(Source: Bhattarai, 2019a )

5. Impacts of Bilateral Relations on “Security Concern”

In comparison to King Tribhuvan, his son King Mahendra was more pragmatic and conscious on national issues. He is also said an architect of Nepal’s modern foreign policy. The period of 1960’s was the pick time of cold war internationally. Major global powers were divided in terms of ideology, economy, history and political-military interest. At the very critical juncture of global situation, Kind Mahendra had actually succeeded to balance the relationships with major powers of the world and also maintain strong neighborly tie-up with India and China. Prominently, he had broadened the level of bilateral relations with China (Khanal, 2019b) .

Before King Mahendra came in power, government led by Prime Minister B.P. Koirala and Chinese Premier Chau En Lai signed peace and friendship treaty on April 1960. After that, border agreement between two countries was signed on October 1961. The historical moment on Nepal-China development cooperation came at the time when China agreed to support to build strategically important Kodari Road. Kodari road is the first sophisticated road to link Nepal with the border of northern neighbor. Highlighting the strong ambition of then Nepali leadership author Rose (1971) writes that Nepal has taken a way to expand communication with other civilizations and broaden its spheres.

Previously, guidance and suggestions of King Prithvi Narayan Shah had significant impacts on formulation and implementation of Nepal’s foreign policy (Stiller, 1968) . Former Prime Minister Kritinidhi Bista was also firmed leader to take pragmatic approach to maintain strong friendship with China. He argued that Nepal couldn’t compromise on its sovereignty while dealing with India, but search more international ground and support for increasing national strength and capability (Panchayat Smarika, 1986) . Though there were lot commitments on words, India’s Modi government is almost failed to win the trust of neighbor countries (Ganguly, Chauthaiwale & Sinha, 2016) . No doubt that strong Nepal can only deal with neighbor countries with clear agendas. Both B. P. Koirala and King Mahendra had same approach on this point to make all efforts for building weigh and strength of Nepali internal power (Sharma, 2018) . Analyzing the King Mahendra era, professor Yubaraj Sangroula (2018, p. 444) writes, “regardless of consequence, the relation between Nepal and China, in that given circumstances, was virtually a life line for Nepal’s interest of preserving its independence as well as national integrity.” Sometime Nepali leadership and scholars talks on Nepal-India-China trilateral partnership. China is said shows positive posture on it but India’s position is not still clear (Hogg, 2010) . Nepali leadership need to give more pragmatic emphasize on it. More discussion and work on it can give more bases to know the significance of it (Jaiswal and Kochhar, 2016) .

Tentatively direct monarchy-led Panchayat system was much more positive in security relations with China than post-1990 democratic governments. Since 1950, political parties and monarchy tried to link them with global agencies and community to upgrade their national status and role (Joshi and Rose, 1966; Rose, 2000) . After around 30 years of rule, Panchayat system was collapse in 1990. One of the major reasons behind it was its incapability and corrupts governing ways to address the structural and genuine problems of the nation. After political change in 1991, India was positive with new government and political parties of Nepal (Upreti, 2009) . There has been lack of stability at the post 1990 democratic era. Most of the new democracies in the world are failing in terms of governance and to win the real trust of people because of their illiberal nature and lack of capacity to provide delivery properly (Zakaria, 1997) .

At the time of economic blockade of India, which happened around eight month since November 2015, following India’s dissatisfaction on some contents of Nepali’s constitution making process, then Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli took some historical decision with signing significant agreements with northern neighbor China regarding railways, highways, transmission line, border security and cultural exchanges. These agreements vowed to expand multiple cooperation respecting each other’s interest and concern (Joint Statement of Nepal-China, 2018) . On the occasion of state visit of President Bidhya Devi Bhandari to China on April 2019, Nepal and China had signed significant seven agreements including Protocol on Implementing Agreements on Transit Transport (My Republica, 2019) .

Above discussion shows the activism on bilateral relations, the two countries had succeeded to enhance security cooperation. China assumed that political instability in Nepal could increase the internal security threat to China. It is because the Western powers could try to use Nepali soil against the interest of China. As his commitment, PM Oli should take pragmatic steps to maintain balance policies towards neighbors and take benefits based on requirement of national interests. With the context of 21st century, playing cards in diplomacy are old-fashioned agenda, nation fail. Geo-strategically important country Nepal needs to know its strength and weakness and take advantages from power countries whether China or other.

6. New Era and New Emerging Security Issues

With the massive rise of China’s economy-military power, geo-strategic equation is deeply changing in Asia region (Shambaugh, 2005) . China’ rise gives an opportunity to expand intercourses and think for new regional and global order. Since the time of independent India’s first elected Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s neighbor policy is regarded as hegemonic and big brother mentality. Nepal can be a viable bridge between two giants’ economies China and India, for it Nepal should starts formal tangible discussion to both neighbors (Shisheng, 2015) . Foreign minister Pradeep Gyawali said that government is working very closely with Chinese officials to take advantages from BRI and maintaining high-level friendship (Xinhua Net, 2019a) .

Since Xi Jinping came in power of CPC and Chinese nation, he has been giving immense importance to the issues related with neighbor countries and even more particularly after the 19th CPC National Congress, which held on October 2017. His effort to rectify Party’s internal structure and enhance external network is being well implemented (Wang and Lu, 2016) .

Professor S.D. Muni of Jawaharlal Nehru University of India was worried on China’s increasing presence in Nepal. According to him, China’s outreach into Nepal was part of its overall global and Asian strategy (Outlook India, 2019) . Due to geo-political and geo-strategically significant location, Nepal is in eyes of most of the power countries of the world. In the 21st century, more cooperation and collaboration need to be harness among states to fight for hunger and end the dire poverty globally (Sachs, 2005) . New regional dimension, perspective and modern technologies have pressed to sort out security challenges. Railway project is also linked with two countries’ security matter. At his budget speech finance minister Yubaraj Khatiwada said that Nepal will complete the detail project report, feasibility study and construction work on the Kerung-Kathmandu railway in the next two years (Bhusal, 2019b) .

With Chinese president Xi Jinping’s Nepal visit of October 12 to 13 of 2019, the two countries have decided to elevate Nepal-China comprehensive partnership to strategic partnership of cooperation. As President Xi said, it is also Nepali aspiration to become land-linked country and open easy access to rest of the world for cooperation and partnership. Particularly, post 1978 situation, Chinese leadership shows pragmatic and objective posture to extend multiple cooperation with the rest of the world (Kuhn, 2010) .

Till now, Nepali establishment have succeeded to assure Chinese side that Nepali soil will not be given to use against China and any types of anti-China activities will be controlled and stopped by using state apparatus. For peace and stability, developing countries should give genuine pressure to major powers to come in a consensus for pertinent emerging issues of the world (Mearsheimer, 2001) . Asia’s growth, especially of East Asia, need to be examplenary to other nations to implement their national and external policy with great success (Stiglitz and Yusuf, 2001) . Chinese tourists abroad help to make Chinese image better and expand friendship (Kurlantzick, 2007) . It could be part of soft power. With strong economic development, now China has something to share with rest of world and play responsible global role (Brown, 2011) . Every economic model is believed should be supportive to common people. Economist Thomas Piketty (2014) suggests people-oriented approaches and reform on existing economic model to make it applicable in the domestic context.

The Chinese side shows positiveness to support on Nepal’s proposal on Integrated Development, including resettlement of scattered population in the Himalaya region of Nepal (Joint Statement, 2019) . With China-Nepal cooperation that could “level” the Himalayas, the region could be developed as a new growth engine of the world and become a fertile ground for other countries to invest (Lan, 2019) . Security experts of the region also agree on that stable and prosperous Nepal could also support for the stability of the Tibet and control any kinds of anti-China activities using Nepali soil.

7. Conclusion

Border security is directly linked with national security, and national security has multiple dimensions. That’s why problem on border security hurdle the overall national security of the state. This study shows that since the Nepal-China border treaty of October 5, 1961, two countries have been maintaining peace, order and harmony on the border area.

Since signing formal diplomatic relation in 1955, Nepal has been stick on One-China policy and never gave any anti-China forces to create instability using Nepali soil. While Tibeta-origin Khampa rebel group began arms insurgency against China’s Tibetan government in 1960s, Nepal had taken sharp action against rebel group. Nepal army had destroyed them completely and assures to China that Nepal always support peace, unity and stability to its neighbor country. Vociferously Khampa was said aided by America’s CIA, Nepal carried out operation very secretly to eliminate the Khampa rebel (Garver, 2001) .

Acknowledging the changing politico-socio situation, nationalist leader KP Sharma Oli appeased the people’s sentiment and under his leadership his party got complete majority to form the government. In his tenure, Nepal-China has inked significant and historic agreements on trade-transit and many other important agendas. President Xi’s visit of October 2019 actually demonstrate China’s new willingness to harness multiple cooperation, contribute further more to create harmony among neighbor countries and collective approach to deal with common regional issues in a new era.

Since some years China has increased military assistant to Nepal on the areas of technical, logistics, financial and training. Joint military exercises are well-defined example of accumulative military relations. Officially, Nepal purchased some advanced military equipment in 1989. Later on, China provided military support to fight against Maoist rebel group in 2005. Similarly in December 2008, Nepal and China inked agreements on Chinese support to modernization and professionalization of Nepali Army. After that to till date, almost every year, there have been regular military exchanges and experience sharing. China built and handed over the National Armed Police Force Academy in June 2013. These kinds of continues military cooperation culminated with accomplishment of two joint military exercises in 2017 and 2018 respectively, and onward extensively increase the defense visits and exchanges.

Comprehensive approach as a theoretical framework supported to move depth of the studies and it has directed to make a tangible conclusion. We should see the Nepal-China security cooperation in a broader perspective. This paper concludes that security issue between Nepal and China is the prominently significant agenda on bilateral cooperation and friendship. It is linked with great powers interest in South Asia and peace-stability of the entire region. In outer sense, it is an issue of Nepal-China, but at the inner-depth it is the case of Nepal-China-India economic-security-politico dimension and China-Nepal-South Asia geo-strategic issue and also concern of major Western powers in the region. At the post Indian blockade 2015, Nepal-China security cooperation substantially increases with higher level of cooperation. In realistic perspective, Nepali leadership need to show more confident to broaden its cooperation with China in one hand and at the same time try to bring India in a framework of Nepal-China-India trilateral cooperation. Peace and stability in the geo-strategically important Nepal definitely contribute for the entire region and help to reduce regional politico-security imbalance, confrontation and zero-some game.

Cite this paper: Sharma, B. (2021) Nepal-China Security Issue in the Context of Belt and Road Program Implementation. Open Journal of Social Sciences, 9, 91-107. doi: 10.4236/jss.2021.98008.

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