Strategic Cooperation

Geopolitical Significant of South and South East Asia in World Theater

Abstract South and South-East Asia cover global attraction in the time period. With emerging global economic, resident of around one-third of the total population, global power competition is focused in the region. Chinese influence in the region is rising on the other side, US engagements in the region to deter China is growing. This review paper will concentrate addressing the question: How does the region becomes pivotal point for geo-political competitions? With growing influence of China in the region, the US engagement is also increasing. This paper focuses on the power struggle of US and China in the region behind these engagements. The rising US military and economic assistance to countries like Nepal shows the geopolitical involvement in the region for global power politics. Download full Article

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The US interest in Nepal: Deter China and Enhance “Western Orientation”

Bidhur Dhakal Nepal is today a very valued partner in the Indo-Pacific.  We’re working together to ensure that we have a free, open, secure, prosperous region”- Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken. It has been a major topic in Nepal for the past few years as a result of US pressure for Nepal to be a part of its security plan, known as the Indo-Pacific Strategy (IPS). The US sought a “central role” from this extremely delicate and small Himalayan nation for the first time during the visit of then-foreign minister Pradeep Kumar Gyanwali to Washington, DC, as part of its “Indo-pacific strategy”—widely perceived as a counter to the ambitious Chinese connectivity project. Furthermore, China is described as a revisionist force and a threat in the United States’ June 1, 2019, Indo-Pacific Strategy Report, despite Nepal maintaining cordial ties with China. It also further states that the US is working to operationalize the major defense partnership with India while pursuing an emerging partnership with Nepal as well as Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Maldives. In the report, the US clearly mentions that it seeks to expand its defense relationship with Nepal. The same report had added Nepal as its partner nation in the Indo-Pacific with the State Partnership Program (SPP). However, Nepal has not openly endorsed the US defense strategy amid countering China among the nations in the region of the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Still, the US is trying to pull Nepal under its security umbrella. Yet, again the US is pursuing Nepal to be the partner of US IPS.  On October 30, the US Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken, before meeting with Nepalese counterpart Narayan Prasad Saud called Nepal a “very valued” partner in the Indo-Pacific without mentioning “Strategy”. And stated that both countries are working together to ensure “a free, open, secure, prosperous region”.  The US Raising Engagements its Interest Nepal’s geo-political sensitivity and situation have increased geopolitical engagements. On the north the rising power China is pursuing its ambitious connectivity projects of “Joint Belt and Road” with “Shared Future”, while, in the South, India is pursuing its security alliances with the US and expanding its interest in the region. Nepal between the two giants is strategically important for both. Soon after Nepal and China signed the MoU on Cooperation under the BRI Framework, in Kathmandu (March 2017), the US and Nepal signed 500 million dolor MCC in Washington (September 2017). Despite rumors and agitation, Nepal’s parliament ratified the MCC accord. Over the years, the engagement has grown even more noticeable both before and after the ratification. The rise in US diplomatic visits to Nepal is evidence of the US’s increasing involvement in the country.  Deputy Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland, USAID Chief Samantha Power, Deputy Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Afreen Akhter, MCC Chief Executive Officer Alice Albright, and US Assistant Secretary of State Donald Lu are among the diplomats dispatched from the US.  Although the US was the second country to establish diplomatic ties with Nepal, high-level interaction has been uncommon and has become even more so since the end of the Cold War. Since Nepalese officials had not made a state visit of such a high caliber before, King Birendra paid a state visit to the United States in 1983. The Nepali PM would travel to New York for the UNGA and have a brief meeting with the US president for picture opportunities. Following a 17-year break, the then-foreign minister Gyawali and his US colleague Michael Richard Pompeo met bilaterally at a time when Nepal was deepening its diplomatic ties with China. After the end of 2018, and today, the US has sent its officials to Nepal on a regular basis. After 5 years, again at the Thomas Jefferson Room of the State Department in Washington D.C. Blinken welcomed Saud. In 2022 May, Nepal, and the US signed a new development agreement for five years of grants, amounting to $659 million. Nepal had received $42.8 million through the US Department of Defense. The foreign military financing program was the main program prioritized by the US aid in Nepal during the period. Nepal received a 16.93 million FMF program in 2021, third in the top activities. With 17.86 million, DOD was third in assistance partner and Conflict, Peace, and Security was third sector of priority with USD 17.82 million. In 2020, U.S. cooperation in the military sector was low. In that year, Nepal received 124 million dollars in aid, of which only 1 percent of military assistance was available. In 2019, an obligation of assistance was $174.2 million. Only 0.5 percent was military assistance. At that time, $1 million was spent on military education and training. Concerns have been raised recently over Beijing’s increasing sway on Nepal, especially when it comes to investment and infrastructure development. This has given rise to some conjecture over Nepal’s potential future alignment with China, India, and other Indo-Pacific nations. According to this data, the US military is progressively providing more support to Nepal in an effort to keep China in check in the area.  The US Aids Interest in Nepal Yesterday and Today US assistance to South Asia has traditionally been targeted against communist ideology. It was directed against the influence of the Soviet Union during the Cold War and currently against China. South Asian states have long been seen by the US as communist-prone. The US was interested in Nepal because of its close proximity to China during the Cold War and the Soviet Union’s significant influence there.  Enhancing Nepal’s “western orientation” and controlling the potential “threat of communism” were the main goals of US aid in that country. The United States of America has always maintained Nepal inside its security zone and offered military support.  In 1964–1965, the US contributed 1.8 million military personnel, according to a 1973 House of Representatives speech by James H. Noyes, Deputy Secretary of Defense Assistance.  The US was Nepal’s biggest donor until 1965. During the height of the Cold

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65 Years Of Nepal-China Relation: Extend Toward Strategic Co-Operation

Dhakal Bidhur Today, August 1, the day of Nepal-China Relation; Nepal and China have a history of relations from the age of the history of Nepal and China and deep-rooted form the heart of the people from both countries. The significant of the bilateral relations between the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal and the Democratic Republic of China has evolved since the days of Nepali monk and scholar Buddhabhadra (early 5th Century), Princess Bhrikuti, and Araniko and early visits of Chinese monks and scholars like Monk Fa Xian (Jin Dynasty), Monk Xuan Zang (Tang Dynasty) and Manjushree among others. 1st   of August 1955, both countries have formalized their historical relation by establishing diplomatic relations. Since these 65 years, both countries have mutual understanding and relation concerning each other and treated each other as an equal and sovereign and equal partner. With Five Principle of Peaceful Co-existence Nepal and China have unyielding respect and faith in each other as this ideology is incorporated in both countries’ foreign policy. The two countries share a range of 1,414 kilometers border in the Himalayan range of the northern side of Nepal. Nepal is only the country to have its consulate in Lhasa, capital of Tibet Autonomous Region. This shows that how Nepal and China shared their faith in each other.  There is a large presence of people of Nepali origin in Tibet living in harmony with the locals pursuing different professions. Nepal also maintains Consulate General in Hong Kong and Guangzhou. Our shared cultural connections extend beyond these mighty Himalayas to embrace deep-rooted arts, architectures, and scripts having commonalities. The styles of the temples, old buildings, their window panes, and wooden beams to name a few   that speak a volume about the strong influence cultures on either side for centuries. One of the most striking shreds of evidence is the continuity of the Ranjana script (scripts of Kathmandu based Newar ethnic community) used to inscribe sacred chants in the prayer wheels around Buddhist temples in China indicates the influence of Kathmandu in Chinese Buddhism. The script has been spread not only in Tibet but also throughout the monasteries of the Chinese mainland and Mongolia. High-Level Visit Extend Our relation in Strategic Co-operation The year 2019 was the year of High-level visits between the two countries. After 23 years, Jiang Zemin in 1996; president Xi Jinping Visit in Nepal in 2019. As he recalls it in his congratulatory message to President Bidhya Devi Bhandari on the occasion of 65 the anniversary of the diplomatic relation between two countries, he and Bhandari exchanged visits last year and elevated the bilateral relationship to a strategic partnership for cooperation featuring ever-lasting friendship for development and prosperity. President Xi also said Saturday that he attaches greater importance to the development of China-Nepal Relation and willing to work with Nepal to push for the continued advancement of the bilateral relation.  He also said that he is ready to work with the Nepali counterpart to bring greater benefits to the two peoples and make positive contributions to regional stability and development. Last year President Xi had visited Nepal reducing the gap of the high level visit from China. Last year President Bhandari and in 2018 Prime minster was welcomed by China as a state guest. Those visits had made the relation of both countries as strategic co-operation.  Exchange of bilateral visits immensely put in to further nurturing Nepal-China bilateral relations and promoting the understanding between the two countries. With the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) on 12 May 2017 in Kathmandu between Nepal and China, new avenues for bilateral cooperation in the mutually agreed areas are expected to open. The Government of the People’s Republic of China provided substantial and spontaneous support in search, relief, and rescue efforts of Nepal following the devastating earthquakes of 2015. China provided 3 billion Yuan on Nepal’s reconstruction to be used in the mutually selected 25 major projects for the period of 2016-2018. The two countries signed three separate bilateral Agreements on Economic and Technical Cooperation on 23 December 2016, 15 August 2017, and 21 June 2018 for providing a Chinese grant of one billion Yuan each to Nepal for implementing post-disaster reconstruction projects, livelihood projects, and other mutually agreed projects. Likewise, China has to support Nepal in combating the COVID-19 pandemic. Nepal is cooperating with China for it. Nepal has spread its hands of help by donating masks to China to fight against this pandemic in Wuhan. On the visit of President Xi, both sides have recognized that Mount Sagarmatha/Zhumulangama as an external symbol of friendship between Nepal and China. In this state visit, Nepal and China have taken BRI as an important opportunity to deepen mutually-beneficial cooperation in all fields comprehensively, jointly pursue common prosperity and dedicate them to maintaining peace, stability, and development in the region. They have agreed that the bilateral relationship between Nepal and China has entered a new phase. It is always, Nepal has committed in One China Policy acknowledging that Taiwan is an inalienable part of the Chinese territory and Tibet affairs are China’s internal affairs and the determination on not allowing any anti-China activities on its soil. To intensify the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative to enhance connectivity, encompassing such vital components as ports, roads, railways, aviation, and communications within the overarching framework of trans-Himalayan Multi-Dimensional Connectivity Network to significantly contribute to Nepal’s development agenda that includes graduating from LDC at an early date, becoming middle-income country by 2030 and realizing the SDGs by the same date. Nepal and China are exchanging and cooperation in education, culture, tourism, traditional medicine, media, think tanks, and youth at different levels. On that visit, China consented to the establishment of Nepal’s Consulate General in Chengdu, Sichuan Province of China. Nepal is the founding member of the AIIB and holds the status of Dialogue Partner in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

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