Nepal Caught Between China and India

Nepal’s historic relationship with is facing a challenge from an increasingly influential China, the Times reports:

Early this month, after 17 attempts to name a prime minister, reflecting Nepal’s political paralysis, Jhalnath Khanal was picked for the post. Among the many challenges facing the new leader is balancing relations with the two neighbors.

“My will deepen and strengthen the relationship with both” India and , Khanal said shortly after his election. . “I haven’t decided yet” which country to visit first.

For much of its , Nepal has been heavily influenced by India. Four million Nepalese work in India. And a long, porous border, shared religious traditions and a common history under the British Empire have bound the two.

Contact with China was long impeded by the 30,000-foot Himalayan peaks to the north.

But an ascending Middle Kingdom is changing the equation, making India anxious.

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