For the past three months, Indian and Chinese troops have faced off near Bhutan. China’s deputy prime minister signs a humanitarian aid package and an agreement for oil and gas exploration with Nepal. Beijing is set to build a US$ 4 billion refinery and petrochemical complex near Karachi.
New Delhi (AsiaNews) – As Indian and Chinese troops continue their faceoff on the Doklam plateau, near Bhutan, now in its third month, China signed a series of agreements with Nepal and Pakistan.
According to analysts, the new deals could increase tensions between the two Asian giants, already at their highest following mutual charges of border violation.
Many fear that South Asia may be dragged into a dispute that appears isolated, but is actually rooted in the deep aversion between Asia’s two largest economic powerhouses.
In the middle of this, Chinese Deputy Prime Minister Wang Yang arrived in Nepal, which has always been considered India's satellite, but is now coveted by an expansionist China.
Kathmandu signed a $ 1 million humanitarian aid package as well as an agreement to explore for oil and natural gas in the Himalayan nation.
Before travelling to Nepal, Wang attended Pakistan’s 70th independence celebrations on Monday.
Speaking to the press, Beijing's representative pledged to accelerate work on the construction of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which is part of China’s ‘One belt, One Road’ (OBOR) strategy to build a network of ports and railways to carry Chinese goods to the heart of Europe.
Right after the visit, it was announced that Chinese proposal to set up a refinery in Karachi with a downstream petrochemical complex is advancing steadily as requests for 500-1,000 acres went to the provincial governments of Sindh and Baluchistan. The estimated cost of the project is about US billion.
For Pakistan, the project comes with several benefits, among a reduction in the country’s dependency on Mideast resources. For Beijing, it would be another element in its strategy of trade expansion.
Meanwhile, the standoff between Indian and Chinese troops on the Doklam plateau continues. yesterday it was reported that Indian troops held back Chinese soldiers trying to infiltrate near Pangong Lake by throwing rocks.
Recently, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi heightened tensions. During Independence Day celebrations on 15 August, he said that India can defend itself from anyone who seeks “to act against our country,” adding that “Security is our top priority."