Even as China’s diplomatic and economic footsteps have expanded rapidly, there are concerns about the increasing interference by China in Nepal’s internal affairs as well as the huge deficit in the balance of trade. Nepal also has the unenviable position of balancing its relations with India, China and the US, amidst tense US-China and India-China relations. Externally, the situation has been aggravated by the pandemic and the global economic slowdown. Internally, governmental instability and the politicization of foreign policy have further hindered Nepal’s external engagements. This seminar will examine facets of China’s presence in Nepal, Nepal’s options to navigate the context of a difficult regional global environment and achieve its developmental goals, as well as implications for India of the increasing camaraderie between its two neighbours.
About the Speakers
Ranjit Rae served in the Indian Foreign Service for over three decades and has been deeply involved in multilateral and bilateral diplomacy. He has worked in crisis situations and in conflict areas. Prior to retirement in 2017, Rae had served as India’s Ambassador to Hungary, with concurrent accreditation to Slovenia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, Vietnam and Nepal. He is also a Member of the Peace Advisory Board of the UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR). Rae has a Master’s degree from the Delhi School of Economics and worked as a lecturer at St Stephen’s College, Delhi University. He has recently published his first book Kathmandu Dilemma, Resetting India-Nepal Ties (Penguin 2021)
Kanak Mani Dixit is Founding editor of the Himal Southasian regional review magazine, as well as publisher of the Nepali language weekly Himal Khabarpatrika. He has degrees in Law (Delhi University), International Relations and Journalism (Columbia University). He has been a journalist since 1971, and worked in the United Nations Secretariat between 1982 and 1990. Lately, he has been engaged in civil rights activism in relation to peace, democracy and human rights in Nepal.
Constantino Xavier is a Fellow in Foreign Policy and Security Studies at CSEP, and a Non-resident Fellow at the Brookings Institution. He leads the Sambandh Initiative on Regional Connectivity, which examines India’s political, security and economic relations with the South Asian neighbourhood. He is currently writing a book on how democratic values influence India’s foreign policy, with case studies on Nepal, Sri Lanka and Myanmar based on new archival sources and interviews. He is also part of several policy dialogues between India, the European Union and other Indo-Pacific powers, and frequently comments for the media. He received research awards from the United States Fulbright program and the Indian Council for Cultural Relations and holds a Ph.D. in South Asian studies from Johns Hopkins University.
Sangeeta Thapliyal is professor at the Centre for Inner Asian Studies at the School of International Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University. Her areas of specialisation include India’s strategic interests in the Himalayas and Trans-Himalayas; India’s relations with Nepal, Bhutan, Tibet; South Asian Security; and Water Security in South Asia.
About the Chair
Hemant Adlakha is Associate Professor at the Centre for Chinese & South East Asian Studies, School of Language, Literature & Culture Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University. He is Vice Chairperson and Honorary Fellow at the Institute of Chinese Studies.
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