Chinese Defence Minister in Nepal to bolster military cooperation

The Chinese Defence Minister told reporters that his visit is aimed at implementing bilateral understandings reached between the two govts in the past
Last Updated 29 November 2020, 17:09 IST

China’s Defence Minister Wei Fenghe on Sunday embarked on a visit to Nepal and Bangladesh, even as the soldiers of the Indian Army and the communist country’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) remained engaged in a stand-off along the disputed boundary between the two nations in eastern Ladakh.

Nepal and Bangladesh are among the South Asian nations, which China is trying to woo into its orbit of influence to spread its geo-strategic tentacles and expand its footprints around India.

Wei’s visit to Kathmandu on Sunday came even as infighting within the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) intensified with Beijing continuing to play the role of a mediator between Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli and party’s executive chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal aka Prachanda. His tour to Kathmandu also followed visits by Indian Army chief Gen M M Naravane and India’s Foreign Secretary Harsh Shringla.

Wei called on Nepalese President Bidya Devi Bhandari. He also met Oli, apart from holding a meeting with Nepalese Army chief Gen Purna Chandra Thapa. He was accompanied by a 21-member-delegation. He was accorded a Guard of Honour at the headquarters of the Nepalese Army.

He told journalists on arrival at the Tribhuvan International Airport that his visit was aimed at bolstering military-to-military cooperation between China and Nepal and to take the overall relations between the two nations to a new height. Wei’s visit to Kathmandu was apparently Beijing’s response to two high-profile visits from India to Nepal.

Wei’s visit to Kathmandu on Sunday was apparently Beijing’s response to two high-profile visits from India to Nepal. Beijing is also keen to maintain its political influence in Kathmandu and has been trying to ensure that the tussle between Oli and Prachanda does not lead to a split in the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) and the eventual fall of the government.

(Published 29 November 2020, 11:10 IST)

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