What Happened: Nepal's state-owned telecommunications firm Nepal Telecom has signed two agreements with Chinese companies ZTE and China Communication Services International to expand the country's 4G LTE network to an additional 6.5 million users, The Kathmandu Post reported Feb. 4.
Why It Matters: Nepal, a buffer state between India and China, has been increasing its ties with Beijing over the last years to balance against New Delhi's dominant role in Nepal's foreign policy. The country's cooperation with Chinese telecommunications companies highlights this growing outreach.
Background: As part of its diplomatic outreach with China, Nepal signed on to Beijing's Belt and Road Initiative in 2017. However, the government of Nepalese Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Oli recently reduced the number of proposed projects from 35 to 9 at China's request.