Nepal and China is all set to hold their first ever joint military exercise named ‘Sagarmatha Friendship-2017’ from April 17 to April 26. The 10 day long joint exercise will focus on combating terror and disaster management. Although, Nepal conducts joint exercises with other countries like India and United States, this is the first time it is holding a joint exercise with China. The joint exercise comes at the backdrop of Nepal’s proposal of such exercise having focus on disaster management during Chinese Defence Minister, General Chang Wanquan’s official visit to Nepal on March 24. Sagarmatha is the Nepali name for Mt Everest, which stands in between both the countries.
Even though the bilateral military engagement between Nepal and China does not violate India-Nepal treaty of peace and friendship (1950), the exercise does appear unconventional as Nepal has conducted exercises with India earlier. Nepal can have military exercises with other countries without violating the pact with India, but at the same time, military engagement with China is worrisome as China’s definition of terrorism includes Tibetan agitators as well.
The 1950 India-Nepal Treaty of Peace and Friendship is a bilateral pact between the Government of Nepal and Government of India inked at Kathmandu on July 31, 1950. The treaty permits free movement of people and goods between the two countries and a close relationship and collaboration on matters of defence and foreign affairs. The treaty has 10 articles and envisages for eternal peace and friendship between the two nations.