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- Author or Editor: Dinesh Paudel x
This chapter examines how Nepal is seeking to enhance its trans-Himalayan connectivity with China to reduce its dependence on India. This case speaks to geopolitics because the US is supporting Indian efforts to orient the Nepali economy away from China through large-scale infrastructure investments. The chapter asks: in what ways is competition in infrastructure development becoming a key domain of geopolitics and geoeconomics on the Himalayan landscape, and how has the Nepali state, as an ‘infrastructure state’ in the sense developed in this volume, leveraged the opportunity to mobilize foreign capital for infrastructure projects serving national interests. It demonstrates that like many countries within the ambit of BRI and other regimes of infrastructure-led development, Nepal is refashioning itself as an infrastructure state – driving development priorities with large infrastructure and imagining that not only economic growth but also that poverty alleviation and empowerment will follow. Thus, infrastructure competition among geopolitical powers in the Himalaya unwittingly creates opportunities for assertion of agency and autonomy by small states, while also revealing the limits of hegemony, and indeed the vulnerability of the major geopolitical powers.