Amish Raj MulmiDec 9, 2021
All Roads Lead North
China, Nepal and the Contest for the Himalayas
On the sidelines of COP26, Nepali Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba met his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi as part of an effort to find a way to rebuild ties between Kathmandu and New Delhi--which had grown sour in the recent years, with a boundary dispute between the two as its low point. Around the same time, China trumpeted a donation of 1.6 million COVID vaccine doses to Nepal, as the country stays around a 30% vaccination rate.
Discussions of Nepal often reduce it to a country sitting between two great powers—especially as relations between those two great powers worsen. Or, perhaps, as a strategically important country—but one whose history and people are rarely brought up.
Amish Raj Mulmi’s All Roads Lead North: Nepal’s Turn to China (Context, 2021) published internationally by Hurst early next year, helps to fill in these critical details. Combining insights from centuries of history, to on-the-ground reporting along the China-Nepal border, Mulmi gives a full representation of Nepal’s long relationship with its neighbors.
Helen Li, freelance writer and journalist, joins Amish and me for this interview. Helen was stranded in Nepal during the COVID pandemic, and saw firsthand the interconnected between Nepal, India and China.
In this interview, Amish, Helen and I talk about Nepal and China: what connects their countries, their economies, and their peoples. We talk about historical links, Tibetan exiles, investment, and what India thinks about all this.
Amish Raj Mulmi's writings have been published in The Himalayan Arc: Journeys East of South- east and The Best Asian Speculative Fiction 2018; and Al Jazeera; Roads & Kingdoms; Himal Southasian; India Today; The Kathmandu Post and The Record.
Nicholas Gordon is an associate editor for a global magazine, and a reviewer for the Asian Review of Books. He can be found on Twitter at @nickrigordon.