Nepal’s balancing act between powers carefully watched in Colombo

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 08 January 2020, 23:18 GMT]
The ruling Communist Party in Nepal is divided in opinion as the country’s parliament is required to ratify the mega infrastructure project the previous government had negotiated with US foreign aid agency, Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) in 2017. The critics of the MCC project argue that Nepal would be coerced into the military US Indo-Pacific Strategy (IPS) by embracing the project. Why does the bilateral agreement have a binding clause of Indian approval, they ask. India is a major strategic partner to the US and one of the four military powers constituting the emerging Quad alliance led by the USA in the Indo-Pacific. The proponents argue that the US Congress-initiated MCC, which came into being long before the Pentagon’s IPS outlook must be seen as an economic programme without any military dimension attached to it. The Nepalese choices will have an impact on Colombo.

Nepal's Minister of Home Affairs Ram Bahadur Thapa is visiting China while the parliament ratification of MCC is intensively debated within his ruling party ranks.

The MCC project in Nepal was finalised in 2017 involving a US $500 million grant to put up a power transmission line in an economic corridor as well as to upgrade the roads and highways within five years.

Nepali Opinion Columnist CK Lal, writing a well-articulated piece for The Kathmandu Post on Wednesday observes a typical pattern among the disillusioned sections of neoliberals in the agent states of India, Sri Lanka and Nepal.

The neoliberals are becoming “xenophobic, jingoistic, chauvinistic and nationalistic in response to unexpected challenges to their cultural hegemony,” Lal observes.

Following in the footprints of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and SL President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Nepal’s Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli seems “fully committed to take the country into the realm of dystopian democracy, where naked majoritarianism rules the roost,” the opinion columnist says.

External Links:
The Himalayan Times: Thapa, Zhao hold talks in Beijing
The Kanthmandu Post: The decade of lumpen
Khabarhub: Foreign Minister Gyawali says MCC will be ratified
Nagarik Network: China for any aid to Nepal without intervening by 'other forces': Envoy
Khabarhub: We should ratify MCC instantly and go for implementation: Dr. Rajan Bhattarai
Nepali Times: MCC row damages Nepal’s credibility



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