China and Nepal announce first joint military exercises. To Delhi’s irritation
The Nepalese army will be formed to address the theaters of war and terrorist attacks. China wants to expand its influence and restrain the movements for the liberation of Tibet.
Kathmandu (AsiaNews) - Kathmandu and Beijing officials have announced that at the beginning of 2017 the two countries will conduct their first joint military exercises. Indian sources reveal an angry reaction from the Delhi government, which for years exercised a hegemonic influence on Nepal's policies.
The decision was disclosed yesterday by Colonel Yang Yujun (photo), a spokesman for the Chinese National Ministry of Defense (MOD), confirming some rumors leaked a few hours earlier. Yang said that Nepal and China have started "early talks" of exercises, without giving further details.
The operation will be called "Pratikar-1" and, officially, will serve to train the Nepalese troops in war scenarios and terrorist attacks.
Experts believe that the field of military cooperation is a very sensitive issue for the governments concerned. From the point of view of Nepal, the advantage derives from the support of a great partner like China. On the Chinese side, the exercises serve to further influence domestic politics in Kathmandu and put a stop to the anti-Beijing movement in the Himalayan country, which supports the freedom of Tibet.
In November, Beijing has already intervened with vigorous protests against the visit of Indian President Pranab Mukharjee in Nepal. A few days after Sher Bahadur Deuba, president of Nepali Congress, had countered with a courtesy visit to India where he also met with the Dalai Lama and some Tibetan leaders, sparking the ire of Beijing. The communist authorities have reacted strongly, calling in Kathmandu to reiterate the "one China policy".
For Balananda Sharma, a retired lieutenant general, "China and Nepal will not address great questions, but for now will lead only small exercises in the mountains". Given the traditional non-friendly relations between the armies of India and China, he adds, "Nepal should deal gently with the geo-strategic issues and foster a climate of trust on both sides."
On the other hand Ashok Mehata, former Indian general, he warns: "Nepal should know what kind of relationship it wants to have with the army of China." Experts confirm that India's position is clear: an open disappointment at the fact that the Beijing Armed enter Nepal on the ground under the guise of exercises.