Nepal’s worst natural disaster in 80 years has delivered a new, unlikely relationship.
Amid murmurs that China has asked Nepal not to allow Indian teams to work in areas closer to its borders, the Chinese ambassador to Nepal said India, China and Pakistan were “brothers” working hand in hand to alleviate sufferings of millions affected by the April 25 earthquake.
Speaking exclusively to HT at the Shangri-La Hotel, Wu Chuntai said, “All three of us are brothers and there is no room for differences.” Cutting short a question on the intractable border dispute, Wu said unity among the neighbours was playing out in Nepal and they had swiftly mobilised their resources to offer humanitarian assistance.
Chinese rescuers landed here a day after India dispatched its National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) personnel barely four hours after the devastating quake shook Nepal.
China has been using financial investments and aid to exert influence on one of the poorest nations in the world.
“No matter who we are and what we do, we only bring the message of peace and compassion in difficult times,” said Wu.
He also heaped praise on Indian rescue and relief teams for doing a splendid job.
Wu said he had spoken to Indian ambassador Ranjit Rae about cooperating while rendering humanitarian assistance.
Rae said contrary to the rumours floating around about the so-called Chinese position on restricting the scope of work of foreign rescuers, both countries were focused on discharging the tasks assigned to them.
China has edged passed India to emerge as Nepal’s biggest foreign investor and the scale of its trade with the Himalayan kingdom is also an indication of its growing clout in Kathmandu.
India is keeping a close eye on the growing military cooperation between Pakistan and China as Islamabad and Beijing prepare to hammer out a landmark submarine deal.
An Indian Army officer said it was heartening to see India and China on the same side of the fence in Nepal, a refreshing change from the usual bickering over border issues.
Full coverage: Nepal earthquake