China-India energy rivalry in spotlight as Modi visits Nepal

KATHMANDU, August 2, 2014 (AFP) – Energy will be high on the agenda when India’s new Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits Nepal on Sunday, eager to claw back lost ground in the race for resources with China. “It makes more sense for Delhi and Beijing to work together — whether it’s a case of using Indian investment and Chinese turbines to build hydropower plants or transmitting electricity from Nepal to China via Calcutta or even installing a regional grid,” Shakya said.

A focus on cooperation rather than competition would give a bigger boost to trade and enable greater regional growth, he said.

“Growth in India and China will benefit the whole region — of course the smaller countries can play them off against each other, but given the size of both markets, it’s smarter to exploit synergies between them.”

The change in India’s leadership has opened a new window for regional engagement, Shakya said.

“The more India and China engage with neighbours, including each other, the better it is for regional connectivity. This is not a time for anyone to be myopic.” A vast network of fast-flowing rivers through the Himalayas leaves huge untapped hydropower resources at Nepal’s disposal, and New D