The China–Nepal–India Economic Corridor: wishful thinking or regional aspiration beyond rhetoric?
Publication Type:Journal Articles
Source:The Round Table: The Commonwealth Journal of International Affairs, Volume 110, Issue 2, p.250-263 (2021)
Keywords:China-Nepal-India Economic Corridor, CNIE, Ctrilateralism, regional aspiration
Beijing’s proposal for a China–Nepal–India Economic Corridor (CNIEC) with multi-dimensional connectivity through the Himalayas aims at contributing development and prosperity for all three countries. While Beijing calls for Nepal’s development to be one of the major objectives of the proposed corridor, the proposal has received a cold response from India so far. The recent territorial conflicts between China and India and between Nepal and India also strengthen scepticism over this proposal. Considering the troubled bilateral relationship between India and China, the future of CNIEC appears to be wishful thinking unless trust and transparency improve. Moreover, their divergence of interests in Nepal only appears to strengthen competition rather than co-operative working. However, the question around the CNIEC remains whether the project offers an opportunity for the two Asian superpowers to join together for regional cooperation involving Nepal. This article examines the potential and challenges of trilateral cooperation through CNIEC.