ASSESSMENTS

For India, Another Day, Another Geopolitical Snag

MIN READApr 16, 2018 | 09:00 GMT

An Indian man works at a construction site for the Asian Highway project, which connects Nepal, India and Bangladesh.

An Indian man works at a construction site at the Asian Highway (AH2) project, which connects Nepal, India and Bangladesh, in Siliguri, India, on Feb. 1, 2018.

(DIPTENDU DUTTA/AFP/Getty Images)

India's quest to create a sphere of influence in South Asia keeps running into snags. This time the complication is in Nepal. Khadga Prasad Oli returned as prime minister at the head of a communist alliance after the country's election in December 2017. Oli had positioned himself as a nationalist channeling anti-Indian sentiment and vowing to explore a closer relationship with Nepal's giant northern neighbor, China. Once in office, however, he tempered his stance. He honored tradition by choosing India as the destination for his first international visit on April 6 -- a sign of his government's pragmatic desire to maintain cordial relations with Nepal's giant southern neighbor. Nonetheless, Oli's election represents a setback for India's strategy in Nepal, and it will force New Delhi to change its approach, since China and its Belt and Road Initiative offer tempting alternatives....

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