US Indo-Pacific Strategy Aimed Containing China

Dhakal Bidhur Nepal’s governing party Nepal Communist Party (NCP), after the unification of the CPN (UML) and CPN (Maoist Center) second central committee full conclude is on going in the capital Kathmandu. 20 month after the unification the political document introduced in the CC meeting adopt the strong views against the US Indo-Pacific Strategy stating that it is aimed at containing China’s rise in the global geopolitical circumstance. “The US has come up with a military strategy named Indo-Pacific Strategy to boost its influence and dominance in the Indo-Pacific region, to contain China’s rise as the world’s top economic power and to weaken it,” read the NCP’s political document presented by its co-chairpersons KP Sharma Oli and Pushpa Kamal Dahal in the party’s central committee on going meeting. China initiated Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has been praised on the document of NCP who took over administration after the landslide victory on election held after the formulation of news constitution. The report mentions that today’s world economy will focus on Asia. “The Chinese economy and economic growth, accelerating to become the first of the world’s economic powers and growth of the Indian economy as a potential Asia-centric world power,” the document said, adding, “China’s BRI, Asian Infrastructure. Development Bank, BRICS between China, Russia, Brazil, South Africa and India shows the conscious initiation of cooperation strategy.” The BRI is described as the broad sharing strategy. Without naming the Millennium Challenge Corporation Compact in which Nepal has signed in 2017 and ready to introduce in the parliament document sates, “Nepal cannot accept any proposal of political or economic assistance if that is part of any military alliance.” “The BRI presented by China today is working as a comprehensive partnership strategy to expand its connectivity and financial support globally,” the document said, adding that Nepal has also signed a BRI and has made itself a partner in expanding that relationship and cooperation. NCP document shows the need to take positive initiatives for the development of an independent and self-reliant national economy while maintaining good neighborly relations with China and India. However, the document is silent MCC which has been under discussion in recent years, inside and outside the government and in the streets. Speaking at the inauguration of a meeting on the issue of MCC, which was opposed by senior leaders of the NCP, Prime Minister and one of the chairmen KP Sharma Oli said that the report did not mention anything about the military partnership. But in ongoing discussion on the document senior leaders of the party has opposed on the MCC compact and are demanding to introduce MCC in the document. Indo-Pacific Strategy is ongoing debate in Nepal since foreign minister Pradeep K. Gyanwali meet US state secretary Mike Pompeo in Washington. After the meeting deputy spokesperson of State department released the statement stating as the Nepal as member of the Indo-pacific Strategy. Although the statement is out from the department website but the tweet of the deputy spokesperson is in archive now. The defense department release the report in June 2019; stating Nepal as the new member of the strategy. After that leaders of the NCP have strong position against the Strategy. Although government has not release the diplomatic note against the report leaders of the NCP are demanding to oppose it. In 2017 Nepal signed the MCC compact with US of 500 million dollars. Now it is in debate that the US is entering to Nepal to stop China and BRI through the cooperation. The MCC, describes itself as an “independent U.S. foreign assistance agency that is helping lead the fight against global poverty.” But, many of US defense report state that the MCC as the defense strategy. Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for South Asia at the US Department of State David J Ranz on his Nepal visit himself has said that MCC is one of the most important initiatives being implemented in Nepal under the US Indo-Pacific Strategy. Now government and US embassy are giving clarification saying that the MCC is not the part of IPS. In this periphery of circumstance, small communist group outside the parliament are opposing the MCC. Right wing Nepali Congress the main opposition of the parliament strongly backs the MCC compact. There are at least three opinions inside the NCP. Party chair and Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli and Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali are in favor of endorsing MCC as soon as possible. But the standing committee member Bhim Rawal and Dev Gurung are strongly opposing the Compact. Whereas with next chair, Prachand other leaders are silent or in mid point. They are stating, the compact should be in favor of the national interest. Hiranyalal Shrestha a Veteran diplomat in short discussion with this author; worried about Nepal going on IPS. “Nepal should keep balance relation with its neighbor and other nation. We should not be the part of the any military cooperation of any nation targeting to our next neighbor,” former ambassador of Nepal to Russia and former leader of the NCP added, “Nepal should not be the card of any nation against our neighbor.” Shrestha argued that Nepali leaders should be aware of the US policy to stop China in the South Asia. “Nepal has principle of non-aligned we should maintain it,” he added. In Nepal, there is a conspiracy that opposition voice of US IPS and MCC is backed by the Beijing. In this circumstance Beijing has cleared that China never opposed the foreign aids in Nepal. In a press conference held on January 3, Chinese Ambassador to Nepal Hou Yanqi has said, “We welcome any international assistance to Nepal if it is for economic cooperation. We would like to see the ratification process of the MCC and the Nepal government takes a positive decision for its interest.” It is cleared that the Nepal used to throw the China card against the India and Indian cards against the China. Now the situation has been changed. China and India

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