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‘Himalayan Quad’: Western Skeptical On ‘Tran-Himalayan Cooperation’

Dhakal Bidhur Globe is fighting against the COVID-19 pandemic. The global powers are fighting themselves for geopolitical supremacy. Nepal’s geopolitical position in South Asia is considered strategically important to all. Two neighbors, China and India, want to keep Nepal aside from them. Meanwhile, for the United States, Nepal has been geography of strategic importance for South Asia. At this time, the Himalayan nation Nepal has been facing a clash between the three power Nations. Nepal, a partner of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRE) proposed by China; is working together and separately with its three friendly nations in various multilateral fora. The US is been working hard to get Nepal, a member of the BRI, to participate in its Indo-Pacific Strategy (IFS)- a defense policy. On the other hand, the US is in a way toward investment publicly in Nepal through the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC). ‘The controversial’ MCC is yet to be passed from the parliament. Together with the IFS, the US has initiated a Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) involving Japan, Australia, and India to counter Chinese influence in the region. In particular, the first virtual conference of heads of state/government was held in March this year, 14 years after the forum was first initiated by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue. Interest of each and concern at the conference was China’s growing influence in the Indo-Pacific region; and on the other hand, China’s support in the fight against COVID-19 in this area. At the same conference,US President Joe Biden announced more than a billion vaccines would be distributed in the region by the end of 2022 to reduce Chinese influence. Besides this ‘Quad’, another ‘Quad’ is in term of discussion last months in Indian and western media- ‘Himalayan Quad’ by China with its strategic partner Nepal, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. What is the Himalayan Quad and How its Starts? On the 27th of July 2020, Foreign Ministers of Afghanistan, China, Nepal, and Pakistan held a video conference on COVID-19. In the meeting chaired by Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Nepal, Pakistan, and Afghanistan foreign ministers were attended.  The Western and Indian media describes it as China’s ‘COVID-19 Diplomacy’. In November 2020, Indian scholar Jagannath Panda in a Journal of Analysis and Information in issue China brief published by the Jamestown Foundation called it as Trans-Himalayan ‘Quad’, and lament toward China as ‘Beijing’s Territorialism’. Indicating this quadrilateral video conference between four nations, Panda offers a new hue on it. The quadrilateral meeting focused on the enhancing Quadrilateral Corporation to encounter the COVID-19 pandemic was roasted as the security alliance and connected toward the Quad as the US, India, Japan and Australia are practicing in the Indo-Pacific region as the ‘Nato’. On April 2021, Yuri M Yarmolinsky, an analyst with the Belarusian Institute for Strategic Research and former Consular of Embassy of the Republic of Belarus to the Republic of India, in an article published in ORF Raisina Debates, noted the meeting as China’s unilateral and expansionist action in the region linking toward the increasing activity of the Quad. As the United States expands its investment in the Asia-Pacific region, Northern neighbor China has also extended a helping hand to neighboring countries. On the quadrilateral meeting ministers of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nepal supported Wang Yi’s four-point cooperation initiative and thanked China for providing medical and food assistance, and for sharing experience on COVID-19 containment. In particular, the ministers highly commended President Xi Jinping’s initiative to make the vaccine a global public good. According to the FMPRC press release, these three nations will work with China in solidarity to deepen cooperation against COVID-19, strengthen joint response mechanisms, ensure unimpeded trade and transportation routes, facilitate personnel and trade flows, advance the “Silk Road of health”, and build a community with a shared future for mankind. Not only that FMPRC stated that these three nations will work with China to deepen Belt and Road cooperation, accelerate recovery in socio-economic and livelihood development, and promote post-COVID economic growth. This cooperation- Silk Road of Health, initiated by China is been called ‘Vaccine Diplomacy’ by Westerners. Yarmolinsky had added with SCMP this April that China already partners with Nepal, Pakistan, and Afghanistan on security and strategic cooperation. ‘Nepal is a strong foothold in the Himalayas in the context of the Sino-Indian territorial dispute, Afghanistan is a significant factor in ensuring security and maintaining stability in Xinjiang,’ he was quoted by SCMP. Beijing and Islamabad have been working on a US$62 billion connectivity and infrastructure project known as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor – part of Beijing’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative to grow a China-centered global trading network – and the two sides have also cooperated on tackling security challenges around their shared border. Nepal, meanwhile, receives foreign direct investment and economic aid from Beijing, which has also opened a training academy in the small Himalayan country for the paramilitary police force that guards its border with Tibet. The two nations’ armies have held counterterrorism drills together in the past, too. On a horizon, western media and experts tend to explain this cooperation as a security alliance as ‘Himalaya Quad’. In March, when the Quad leader meeting was held virtually, the Chinese and Russian Foreign ministry meet at Not only that, in March, the first meeting of the Quad was held and the Chinese and Russian foreign ministers hold the bilateral meeting in Guilin city in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in southern China. The meeting shows the the unity against US and EU in the region. China and Russian have always followed the ‘four-point agreement on showing firm support from each other’, State Councilor Yi stated in that meeting. ‘We should uphold the universally recognized international law. China is willing to further strengthen cooperation with Russia under the multilateral frameworks, such as the United Nations, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), and BRICS, jointly safeguard multilateralism, maintain the international system with the UN at its core and the international order based on international law, while firmly opposing unilateral sanctions as well as interference in other countries internal

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US Tibetan Policy: Possibilities Of Using Nepal’s Land Against China

At present, there is debate of Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) in Nepal. Secondly the debate of US Indo-Pacific Strategy (IPS) is reaching in peak. But, the US bill on Tibetan Policy and Support Act 2019 is in under the shadow which directly impact on Nepal-China relations. The policy targeting to the Tibet, an autonomous region of China has focused on Nepal to. This new law has shown signs of interference with Nepal’s ‘One China Policy’. However, there has been no discussion of a Tibetan bill passed by the United States in Nepal that has been embroiled in MCC controversy. In fact, in the political document presented in the second full meeting of the central committee of the ruling party of Nepal; Communist Party of Nepal (CPN) was stated that IPS had come in line with US strategy to surround China. Later It was corrected after the many of CCM agitate on the phrase. The document remains silent about the MCC and the bill. Meeting formed the task force under the leadership of senior leader JhalaNath Khanal to review the MCC. PrimeMinister Kp Sharma Oli, one of the Chair of the CPN is in position to pass the MCC from the parliament. This article is focused on the another factor affecting Nepal-China relations; US Tibetan Policy and Support Act 2019. What is the latest US law on Tibet? A law passed by the US parliament last month has closely monitored the human rights situation in Tibet. Also support the activities of ‘Dalai Lama’ and his followers. Not only that, it supported the separationist of the Tibet. The law is expected to put pressure on China to set up a US diplomatic center in Tibet. Under this legal foundation, the United States will now ban the new Chinese consulate in the United States until it establishes its diplomatic center in Tibet. However, China has commented that the US move would help those seeking independent Tibet. China has accused the US of questioning China’s sovereignty and geographical integrity. The law that is now passed will replace the ‘Tibetan Policy Act 2002’. US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has recently raised the issue of Tibet. “We are supporting the rights of religious freedom of Tibetan citizens,” she said during a vote in parliament last month, “The Tibetan Buddhist community has the right to elect its religious leader and future Dalai Lama.” The new law has added a provision for the President to provide financial support to NGOs in Tibet for the sustainable development of the Tibetan community, to preserve cultural and historicity as well as to protect health education and the environment. Likewise, the bill envisages a special coordinator to look into the Tibet issue. The aim of which is to make the selection of new Dalai Lama through a democratic way through dialogue between the Dalai Lama’s representative and the Chinese government. Nepal under the new law Nepal is also discussed in US laws regarding Tibet. The third section of the law deals with the selection of the successor of the Dalai Lama. In this section, Nepal and Bhutan, India, Mongolia, China, Russia and the United States have a Tibetan Buddhist community accusing China of interfering in the selection of a new Dalai Lama. It also included the statement given by the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman on March 29, 1919, that the selection of the successor of the living Buddha along with the new Dalai Lama should be in accordance with Chinese laws and regulations. In this section, explaining American policy, the participation of the Tibetan Buddhist community in the election of a new Dalai Lama is mentioned in a traditional way. According to the wish of the 14th Dalai Lama, there should be an election of the 15th Dalai Lama. The law stipulates that the Chinese government or any government’s activities that restrict Tibetan Buddhist activity will violate the basic religious freedom of the Tibetan people and Tibetan Buddhists. The United States may be banned from engaging in such activities. By which activities of the The fifth section of this law also mentions the democratic system of the exiled Tibetan community. Under which the Tibetan refugee community around the world should be given the right to elect a leader with the right to self-governance. In section 4 of it, referring to the Tibetan community seeking to preserve its culture, religion and language, the US State Department must deal with the Government of Nepal. “The Secretary of State should urge the Government of Nepal to honor the Gentleman’s Agreement with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and to provide legal documentation to long-staying Tibetan residents in Nepal who fled a credible threat of persecution in Tibet in order to allow them to more fully participate in the economy and society of Nepal. ‘ By this Act, it is authorized to be appropriated $1,000,000 for each of the fiscal years 2021 through 2025 for the Office of the United States Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues. Likewise, US will invest 1,250,000 $ on Name of Tibetan Scholarship Program each years on Nepal like nations. US will invest in Nepal on project of Humanitarian Assistance and Support to Tibetan Refugees in South Asia. It also amid to invest $8,000,000 for each year of the fiscal years 2021 through 2025 under to support activities which preserve cultural traditions and promote sustainable development, education, and environmental conservation in Tibetan communities in the Tibet Autonomous Region and in other Tibetan communities in China. Under the Assistance for Tibetans in India and Nepal, US will invest 6,000,000$ in name of promotion and preservation of Tibetan Culture and language Development. This investment is directly amid to development of future generation of Tibetan leaders. It will impact the relations between Nepal and China. The act has authorized to be appropriated $3,000,000 for each of the fiscal years 2021 through 2025 for programs to strengthen the capacity of Tibetan institutions and strengthen democracy, governance, information and international outreach, and research. Not only

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