Nepal is Early Test for China-India Efforts at Cooperation

Nepal is Early Test for China-India Efforts at Cooperation

While much of the region is busy analyzing the aftermath of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's high-profile visit to China this month, one fragile nation finds itself squeezed harder in the middle.

For nearly two years, leading political parties and former Maoist rebels in Nepal, sandwiched between the Asian giants, have been precariously following a New Delhi-brokered roadmap to peace. Amid the uncertainty, China has stepped up its role in the tiny landlocked Himalayan nation. The future of Nepal, including whether it becomes a republic or retains some form of monarchy, seems inextricably linked to its neighbors.

Reconciling them will not be easy. Singh and his Chinese host, Wen Jiabao, signed 11 agreements, including "A Shared Vision for the 21st Century." But that lofty sentiment has not been able to mask the deep distrust between their countries, which fought a brief war in 1962. India's growing closeness to the United States, including plans for nuclear cooperation, has vexed China.

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