nepal investment summit, chinese investments in nepal, indian investments in nepal, india nepal trade, india nepal relations
A Gurung girl wearing a traditional costume dances while taking part in Tamu Lhosar or Losar (New Year) parade in Kathmandu, Nepal December 30, 2016.Reuters file

While India is deeply engaged with China over the border dispute in the Sikkim sector, news which came out in China's Global Times on Thursday, July 13, will bound to worry South Block more.

According to the Chinese daily, Nepal, the country sandwiched between the two big neighbours, will soon get Internet services from the Dragon, curbing its dependence on India for the same.

"This is set to be a great boon to the South Asian country, which is still rebuilding its shattered economy and infrastructure after a devastating earthquake in 2015," the Global Times report said. Earlier this month, Nepal's daily Republica said that the country will begin to get Chinese Internet connection from August.

It is not a new development though. Last year in June, it was reported in Chinese media that China and Nepal were connected with an optical fibre network through Tibet for provision of high-speed Internet services which would reduce the Himalayan country's dependence on India.

For India, this is far from happy news. Nepal has always played its China card against India whenever it has faced trouble from its southern neighbour and by allowing the Chinese to get a stronghold in its territory through Internet connectivity, Kathmandu will only ensure that its imagination is not restricted to India.

China's broadband diplomacy in Nepal will put India in a spot

While Nepal's growing options for Internet services will make the Indian service-providers dejected (the Global Times report called the Indian connection "slow yet expensive"), it will also concern India over a few other factors.

India China
[Representational image]Flickr

First, the high-speed connection from China will bolster Nepal's Internet infrastructure, especially in the aftermath of the April 2015 earthquake, leading to an economic betterment.

Secondly, it will connect Nepal to a bigger digital world, which in turn could make it more independent-minded looking away from the confinements. An assertive Nepal could be worrying for India as well.

The Chinese smartphones have made a steady market in Nepal already and with the combination of the Internet services from the same country, Nepal has a great opportunity to make use of the new-age global economy of which smartphones and Internet are two important components and one can't deny the extra efforts the Chinese have put in to win their small neighbour's heart.

Is India thinking enough to counter this?