The US State Department’s Undersecretary for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland arrives in Kathmandu, Nepal, today. The multi-day visit will focus
The US State Department’s Undersecretary for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland arrives in Kathmandu, Nepal, today.
The multi-day visit will focus on reaffirming America’s commitment to deepening ties with Nepal and discussing ongoing efforts on democratization, justice reform and climate change. Additionally, diplomats will likely discuss the MCC foreign aid program, which is aimed at bolstering the country’s energy and infrastructure. The State Department has identified the project as a top strategic concern as the Biden administration seeks to boost its involvement in the Indo-Pacific.
A key driver of this emphasis is countering China’s undertaking of foreign infrastructure projects, which further integrate its economy with its neighbors. Nepal is a key element of this strategic initiative, commonly known as Belt and Road, to achieve global economic dominance. Last month, Chinese officials visited Nepal to explore a potential railway project linking Kathmandu to Tibet.
Development aid programs for smaller nations will likely continue to be an important strategic battleground for both nations as global and regional power orders continue to shift in a number of ways. The Indo-Pacific is expected to account for over 50% of global economic growth between now and 2050. Nuland’s visit will likely put added pressure on neighboring India to chart a clearer path in the contest between the US and China.