Prachanda’s China- India Visit: Prospects and Challenges

Chinese President Xi Jinping Nepal Puspa Kamal Dahal

RISHI DHAMALA: United CPN Maoist Chairman Puspa Kamal Dahal’s weeklong visit to our northern neighbor and world’s rising power China at a time when Nepal is at peak of its transition has been analyzed significantly by all sectors. The visit made in the capacity of not only as the Chairman of Nepal’s largest political party but also in the capacity as the Chairman of Interim Election Council, will have wider impact on political, diplomatic, economic and other national sectors. Each of these sector is presently mulling on the factors that paved way for Prachanda’s visit to China.

Soon after China-visit, Prachanda is slated to make an official visit to India also. And these series of visits to both of Nepal’s next door neighbor has even more significance. China and India have always been active partners in our development endeavors and witnesses of our people’s political and economic struggles. Prachanda’s announcement that these visits are aimed at establishing peace, stability and development in Nepal have been received positively.

China’s growing economic dominance across the world is strategically in favor of Nepal. There has been change of guard in Chinese Communist Party and its government and also in Prachanda’s party. Cordial relationship between both nation’s communist party’s leadership seems to impart extra significance to his visit while promising repercussions in national politics.

China new leadership has recognized Prachanda as the key leader in Nepal and this is justified by the official visit invitation. Prachanda too also has renovated diplomatic tradition of Nepalese politicians considering Nepal’s geo-political situation and power-balance relationship between powerful nations. In the past, Prachanda was the one to break the unwritten diplomatic tradition of Nepalese politician to make their official state visit to India first. He had started his official visit to China. The break-way seemed to have cost him dearly.

Though not connected apparently, he was forced to resign from the post due to ‘Katuwal scandal’. However he has quickly learned the lesson of not irking one neighbor to gain the favor of other. He has adopted the philosophy of establishing Nepal as a connecting bridge between both neighbors. Though he made his first visit to China, he has clearly mentioned that India visit will follow soon after that. The statement was indicative of his party’s ‘connecting bridge’ policy.
Nepal’s adherence to One China policy and restriction of use of Nepalese soil to threat China’s national integrity has been Beijing’s main concern. The Free Tibet activities, termed as ‘anti-Chinese’ by the Chinese activities and fueled by the Western nations in the name of human rights in Nepal, has been a concerning issue for the Chinese leadership. During the erstwhile CA, China was concerned with the presence of UNMIN and with the growing influence of European nations in the federalization of Nepal. China is concerned that ethnic federalism can weaken Nepal’s national integrity and sovereignty and it’s leaders and diplomats have always brought this issue to the attention of Nepalese politicians.

India too has also expressed similar concerns as its own internal security is also connected to Nepal’s stability. Common concerns on core security issues have brought India and China on the same page. Well aware of these newly born circumstances, Prachanda is sure to assuage concerns of both nations during his visits. Needless to say, ethnic federalism will be Beijing’s main concern and Prachanda will be assuaging these concern.

China’s adoption of socialist capitalism and its corresponding growth seems to have enchanted Prachanda too. His call to Nepali youths to involve in industrial growth seems to have derived from the socialist-capitalism. The stress also indicated the shift of Maoist stress on economic growth from solo politics. While its main objective remains on national development, the policy to involve youths in economic activities will also be imperative in assuaging ethnic federalist demands, as youths will be focused on economic activities. And China has hinted to help Nepal in implementing this strategy.

Though these visits might pave way for bringing both neighbors on the same page, bringing internal dissenting political forces that includes some specialized ethnic federal forces, remains an uphill task for the Maoist supremo and his major political party counterparts.



Translated/Edited by: Chitra Raj Bhandari