Maj Gen B K Sharma (Retd) comments on the article “Nepal Must Tread Carefully on the New Silk Road” written by Mr. Gaurab Shumsher Thapa in Asia Times on 02,May. (https://www.asiatimes.com/2019/05/opinion/nepal-must-tread-carefully-on-the-new-silk-road/) “President Bidya Devi Bhandari represented Nepal at the recently concluded BRI. Speaking at the Forum, President Bhandari elaborated on the shared benefits of BRI and how crucial it could be for the socio-economic development of a land locked country like Nepal. The inclusion of the ‘Nepal-China Trans-Himalayan Multidimensional Connectivity Network’, including Nepal-China cross border railway link, in the annex of the joint communique issued at the end of the summit, signaled the desire of both the sides to realise that connectivity was the single most important factor in the Nepal-China BRI equation”. The authour cautions — Nepal must tread its way carefully in the light of India’s sensitivities to BRI.
The moot point is, do Nepalese fully realise the implications of a looming debt trap? and should they blindly go with the BRI? They should also realise that they are in no position to play off India Vs China game. Geo-political realities of Nepal make it imperative that Kathmandu respects India’s legitimate sensitivities and concerns.