China-Nepal Current Affairs
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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.
Nepal has signed an agreement with China to build a strategic railway link between the two countries through Tibet.
This agreement was signed during Nepal Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli’s official seven day visit to China.
Two countries have signed the transit trade treaty which will end Nepal’s dependency on Indian sea ports. Presently, India has virtual monopoly in trade with the Nepal which accounts for one third trade of the Himalayan landlocked country.
The agreements signed also include a feasibility study on the establishment of a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between both countries. China will also provide assistance to build a border bridge over the Simikot-Hilsa road section that will connect Humla district of Nepal with Tibet.
The other agreements included on economic and technical cooperation to build a Regional International Airport Project at Pokhara which is the Nepal’s famous tourist site.
Both countries also discussed on various issues to boost bilateral cooperation including trade diversification, cross border connectivity and infrastructure development, cooperation on energy, tourism, finance, education and culture.