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China’s highway to Nepal may pose security challenges for India

China launched its highway to Nepal today via Tibet, a move that can create security risks for India. From India’s perspective, the troubling aspect is that the China-Nepal highway can be used for military purposes. Although it has been opened for civilian use, it can be used for military purposes as well such as for transporting tanks and armored vehicles. In case of extreme emergency, the road can also double up as a runway for military aircrafts. Although the current standoff between India and China at Doklam has ended, one can never tell what the future may bring. The highway to Nepal will allow China to access South Asia in terms of both economic and defense aspects.

It may be recalled that China has been consistently trying to garner close ties with Nepal. It is part of China’s overall plan to reduce India’s influence among its neighbors. It’s happening with all neighboring countries such as Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal. China offers technology and investments to get special favors from countries neighboring India. The Nepal-China highway connects the border town of Zhangmu with Lhasa, which is the capital city of southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region. In the future, it is possible that it could be linked to the cross-border Sino-Nepali railway. It may be recalled that Nepal has fully committed itself to the Belt and Road Initiative by China.

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