Implications on Nepal’s Foreign Affairs of the Sino-Indian Rapprochement over Lipulekh

Authors

  • Gaurav Bhattarai Assistant Professor at the Department of International Relations and Diplomacy, Tribhuvan University

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.3126/unityj.v4i01.52235

Keywords:

foreign policy, foreign policy strategies, Lipulekh, Sino-Indian Rapprochement

Abstract

When China and India get closer, will Nepal be uncomfortable with losing its strategic
space? The available literature on Sino-Indian conflict and competition in the Himalayan
region do not divulge the impacts of Sino-Indian cooperation on Nepal. By examining the
Sino-Indian rapprochement over Nepal’s Lipulekh, this study elaborates the implications of
India’s and China’s neighborhood policies on Nepal’s foreign policy. In 2015, while Nepal
was concentrating on post-earthquake relief, rehabilitation, and reconstruction, China and
India—the two Asian geopolitical rivals, decided to use Nepal’s Lipulekh as a trading corridor,
without Nepal’s consent. The Sino-Indian agreement over Nepal’s Lipulekh not only stirred
controversy in Nepal but also raised questions over the intention of Nepal’s two immediate
neighbors. Although 2015 was not the first time that Nepal’s neighbors agreed upon the Lipulekh
route, the case of the Sino-Indian rapprochement in Lipulekh is studied and methodologically
analyzed under the framework of exploratory research design. By situating Nepal’s case in the
conceptual framework of small states, first, this study surveys Nepal’s foreign policy behavior
in the context of Nepal’s Gulliverian neighborhood through deductive reasoning. Second, the
impacts of the multi-faceted Sino-Indian interactions on Nepal’s foreign policy are identified
through inductive reasoning. Finally, the implications of the neighborhood policies of China
and India toward Nepal are discussed against the backdrop of the Sino-Indian rapprochement
over Nepal’s Lipulekh.

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Published

2023-02-15

How to Cite

Bhattarai, G. . (2023). Implications on Nepal’s Foreign Affairs of the Sino-Indian Rapprochement over Lipulekh. Unity Journal, 4(01), 131–143. https://doi.org/10.3126/unityj.v4i01.52235

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