Citation
Aid and interests

Material Information

Title:
Aid and interests Despite much chest-thumping, Indian and Chinese aid efforts have been bumping into each other and neither side has had an easy time helping
Added title page title:
Despite much chest-thumping, Indian and Chinese aid efforts have been bumping into each other and neither side has had an easy time helping
Creator:
Karki, Rohit ( Author, Primary )
Place of Publication:
Kathmandu
Publisher:
The Kathmandu Post
Publication Date:
Copyright Date:
© 2015, Kantipur Digital Corp
Language:
English

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Rescue and relief ( SWAY )
Disaster relief ( LCSH )
Rescues ( LCSH )
उद्धार तथा राहत ( SWAY )
Humanitarianism ( SWAY )
Humanitarianism ( LCSH )
मानवतावाद ( SWAY )
International relations ( SWAY )
International relations ( LCSH )
अन्तर्राष्ट्रिय सम्बन्ध ( SWAY )
Nepal-China relations ( SWAY )
China -- Foreign relations -- Nepal ( LCSH )
Nepal -- Foreign relations -- China ( LCSH )
नेपाल-चीन सम्बन्ध ( SWAY )
Nepal-India relations ( SWAY )
India -- Foreign relations -- Nepal ( LCSH )
Nepal -- Foreign relations -- India ( LCSH )
नेपाल-भारत सम्बन्ध ( SWAY )
Genre:
Newspaper op-ed ( SWAY )
Temporal Coverage:
20150425 - 20150508
Spatial Coverage:
Asia -- Nepal
Coordinates:
28 x 84

Notes

General Note:
Published in: The Kathmandu Post (© 2015, Kathmandu Post) -- http://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com/news/2015-05-08/aid-and-interests.html
General Note:
VIAF (name authority) : Karki, Rohit : URI http://viaf.org/viaf/44147121677426390375/
General Note:
एशिया -- नेपाल
General Note:
Asie -- Népal

Record Information

Source Institution:
SOAS University of London
Rights Management:
© 2015, Kathmandu Post
Resource Identifier:
SP150508A1 ( SWAY )

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This item has the following downloads:


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01/08/2017

Aid and interests - Oped - The Kathmandu Post

(http:,

/ /d€ction.dcantipur.com/?lng=erig)
OPED (/CATEGORY/OPED)

Aid and interests

Despite much chest-thumping, Indian and Chinese aid efforts have been bumping into each other and neither side has had an easy time helping

- ROHrr KARKI lyauthor/rahit+karki}

0 f -

SHARES

May 8, 2015-liL the aftermath of the massive earthquake in Nepal, both India and China immediately swung into action and sent large teams to help out
Nepali authorities. But the presence of both has invited rival narratives and prompted India's press to offer a chest-thumping approach. Some of the headlines
read: 'Nepal earthquake: India scores on aid diplomacy, China lags,' said the Times of India; 'India's rescue teams at home in Nepal while Chinese struggle
with language' wrote the Hindustan Times; and of course, social media was abuzz with patriots insisting that India was doing a better job than others in rescue
and relief efforts.

Confounding each other

The reality, however, is slightly different. India and China's large teams have been bumping into each other in Nepal, and neither side has had an easy time
helping, as is to be expected after a disaster of this magnitude. Nepal's government has struggled in the wake of the country's worst earthquake in nearly a
century, with its officials largely absent from public view. Not so with India and China. Both promised rescuers, sniffer dogs, tents, and food within hours,
winning praise from stranded Nepalis. Officials brushed aside talk of a proxy aid war. China's foreign ministry said on Tuesday that it was willing to Kpro-
actively coordinate with India on earthquake aid".

At the same time, news reports of the high-handedness of Indian authorities, such as holding things up at the Nepal airport, mobilising resources to rescue
Indian citizens by sending more than 500 Indian buses into Nepali territory, and continuing the domination of India's relief efforts in Nepal on Indian media.
Indian news media have run stories that paint the efforts of other countries in a negative light, such as a story about purported 'beef masala' distributed by
Pakistan (which Pakistan refuted) and undermining other countries in aid relief. None of this is to suggest that India isn't doing a great deal, or that aid
diplomacy is not a thing. But India's blatantly triumphal approach might end up backfiring.

A continuing geostrategic rivalry

A geopolitical competition is definitely being reflected in the aid relief and rescue effort. The India-China strategic rivalry has intensified, despite economic
engagement between the two. New Delhi's relations with many of its South Asian neighbours remain fraught, if not hostile. India's ability to play a more
engaged role on the international stage is contingent on its capacity to ensure a degree of stability in its relationships with its South Asian neighbours. China's
growing economic, political, and security footprint in South Asia also complicates India's dealings with these countries. India's main objective has been to
reassure it neighbours politically, to provide them with the opportunity for deeper engagement economically, and to ensure that the internal politics and
policies of these countries do not undermine India's interests.

China's growing presence is now being regarded by some South Asian countries as possible strategic leverage vis-a-vis India. If the India-China strategic rivalry
matures, this trend of playing China off against India may gain further traction. The emerging pattern of India-China relationship will determine the future of
stability in South Asia as a whole and Nepal in particular. Moreover, both India and China are closely monitoring relief and rescue efforts in Nepal and
attempting to influence Nepal's authorities to suit their respective strategic interests.

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Aid and interests - Oped - The Kathmandu Post

Additionally, both countries are likely to conduct their aid efforts in Nepal in a manner that will only bolster their legitimacy and credibility in the eyes of
Nepali citizens. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been proactive in coordinating and sending Indian relief and aid to Nepal. In fact, Prime Minister
Sushil Koirala has been reported to have learned of Nepal's earthquake through one of Modi's tweets.

Owing to the changing nature of global, regional politics and the perception of each other intentions, there are few possibilities of Nepal being able to ward off
external challenges, though they are growing more formidable. Any talk about geostrategy, therefore, involves the identification of major factors contributing
to Nepal's survival and development. The strategic setting of the country has attracted the attention of the region. Whatever happens inside Nepal is of major
importance, mainly for its immediate neighbours. China and India's paramount concern in Nepal is related to security and stability. Any disturbances in Nepal
would have spillover impacts on both countries. Similarly, both countries are competing regional powers in Asia and their interest regarding Nepal is to extend
their own sphere of influence and contain the other's. Apart from their economic and trade interests, another common interest for both these countries is to
contain superpower influences in the region.

Working trilaterally

In order to manage the increasing strategic and security interests of India and China, Nepali policymakers need to devise pragmatic foreign policy
mechanisms. For, trilateral strategic cooperation is something policymakers need to explore as a real option to manage shared strategic Indian and Chinese
interests in Nepal. For Nepal, managing the India-China geostrategic rivalry is essential for Nepal's own peace, stability, and development. For trilateral
strategic cooperation to flourish, these three countries need to devise cooperation among each other. They must be committed to dialogue amongst themselves
on a wide range of issues and interests. The earthquake aid relief could have been managed in better way had a trilateral mechanism been in place.

Such mechanisms must also be developed to peacefully and amicably resolve differences between individual states or groups of states, including managing the
threats of natural disaster. For trilateral strategic cooperation to become a reality, it is imperative that countries develop a sense of a common future and
realise that unilateral attempts to safeguard their security may be doomed to failure, as one state's actions can cause corresponding reactions by another state,
undermining the image of both, as seen in the Nepal aid relief efforts.

The geographical location of each country, the porous borders, and the myriad security challenges they face, including growing non-traditional security threats
such as natural disasters make it imperative for these countries to frame a trilateral cooperation that will facilitate interaction

between the states and establish an institutional set-up to manage such non-traditional security threats. These three states must continue to be extremely
sensitive but are reluctant to share their interests to achieve the common good. This can create problems, because suspicion and mistrust also prevent the
creation of an enabling environment.

Trilateral initiatives should not be seen as a zero sum game. Security, however, continues to remain state-centric and the approach to security remains
militarist. Issues such as human security are often an area of neglect. Linkages between non-traditional security threats and traditional security need to be
developed. This will result in better management of events such as natural disasters and better coordination of aid, relief, and rescue efforts, which are
necessary to strengthen cooperation among these three states.

Karki is an assistant professor at the Kathmandu School of Law

Published: 08-05-2015 08:58

The Kathmandu Post (/) > Oped (/category/oped) > Rohit KarKi (/author/rohit+karki)

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