As Chinese political activism peaks in Nepal, India too remains in touch with Nepal authorities but only to ensure that bilateral cooperation is not affected. Official sources in New Delhi said India didn’t want to do anything that would suggest that it’s a factor in Nepal’s domestic politics.
In perhaps its most overt intervention in Nepal’s internal affairs, a senior functionary of the international wing of the Chinese Communist Party, Guo Yezhou, met Nepal President B D Bhandari to discuss the political crisis emanating from the split in the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP).
Guo was sent to Kathmandu apparently with a message from President Xi Jinping after the Chinese ambassador Hou Yanqi’s efforts to keep PM K P Sharma Oli and his rival P K Dahal Prachanda from parting ways met with little success. While India has been watching the situation closely, it has so far steered clear of the political situation and instead focused on efforts to build upon the recent engagements with Nepal for economic cooperation.
Guo has been China’s point person for Nepal for the past few years and was, in fact, said to have played an important role in bringing Oli and Prachanda together. He is likely to meet Dahal on Monday and convince him to keep the Communist alliance intact.
Guo had earlier travelled to Kathmandu in February 2018 when Oli-led CPN-UML and Prachanda-led NCP (Maoist Centre) were to merge and form a unified communist party following victory of their alliance in the 2017 general elections.
Guo will assess the situation inside the ruling party and will encourage both factions of the NCP to seek some kind of common ground for party unity, Nepal’s Kathmandu Post said quoting senior leaders. He will communicate the message of Chinese leadership, including that of President Xi Jinping, to the NCP leadership, a ruling party leader said.
China has carefully chosen and sent Guo at a time when unity inside our party is shaken, an NCP Standing Committee member said.
Nepal plunged into a political crisis last Sunday after Oli recommended dissolving the 275-member House amid power tussle with Prachanda.
A number of political leaders had termed the Chinese envoy’s meetings with the ruling party leaders as interference in Nepal’s internal political affairs. China’s political profile in Nepal has been on the rise in the recent years with billions of dollars of investments under its multi-billion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative, including the Trans-Himalayan Multi-Dimensional Connectivity Network. China’s ambassador to Nepal Hou has also been seen as making open efforts to garner support for Oli.