Home Nepal live Welcome to IANS Live – NATION – Senior US official arrives in Nepal on Thursday amid growing US

Welcome to IANS Live – NATION – Senior US official arrives in Nepal on Thursday amid growing US


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New Delhi, July 28: US Undersecretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Donald Lu arrives in Kathmandu on Thursday evening amid heightened US-China rivalry.

Official sources said the senior State Department official is expected to hold separate meetings with Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and Foreign Minister Narayan Khadka on Friday.

A senior Nepalese foreign ministry official said Lu is on an unexpected visit which will discuss various bilateral aspects ranging from economic cooperation to security.

“This is a sudden visit and has no specific agenda from Nepal. However, the US side may address the issue of the State Partnership Program (SPP) to which the government of Nepal has already decided not to participate, believing that the program is an integral part of the United States’ Indo-Pacific strategy,” the senior development official told Indian Narrative on condition of anonymity.

On June 20, the Nepalese government had decided to stay away from the SPP, fearing that the country was part of an anti-China military alliance led by the United States. As expected, China was quick to welcome Nepal’s decision not to join the SPP.

Even though the collation government led by Sher Bahadur Deuba has decided not to go ahead with the SPP, it has yet to officially communicate with the US government to that effect.

A Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives, the lower house of Nepal’s parliament, also called on the government on Wednesday to immediately communicate to the US government that the country is no longer part of the program.

The U.S. official’s visit comes just two weeks after Communist Party of China (CCP) foreign affairs department chief Liu Jianchao was on a mission to bring together Nepal’s two communist parties – the Communist Party of Nepal (Marxist-Leninist united) and the Communist Party of Nepal. (Maoist Centre) ahead of the crucial general elections to be held in November this year.

As the United States and China vie for influence in Nepal through economic and strategic initiatives such as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Compact, observers say the Nepal becomes a battleground between great powers in a context of change. political scenario.

In February, the MCC Nepal Compact, a $500 million infrastructure and economic development grant from the U.S. government, was passed by Nepal’s parliament despite the discontent of the Chinese public. China and the United States have also engaged in a war of words over the MCC Nepal Compact, accusing each other of violating Nepal’s sovereign decision.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry accused the United States of employing coercive diplomacy against Nepal while the United States countered that it was China that was behind the delay in adopting the program. American MCC grants.

A month after the adoption of the U.S. MCC subsidy program, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi visited Kathmandu in March where he said China would oppose any attempt to undermine sovereignty and independence of Nepal, to interfere in its internal affairs and to engage in “geopolitical games”. indirectly alluding to the growing presence of the United States in the country.

(Santosh Ghimire is a Nepal-based journalist who writes exclusively for India Narrative)

(Content is released under an agreement with indianarrative.com)

–Indian story

Updated: 28-July-2022