All Roads Lead North
China, Nepal and the Contest for the Himalayas
A Nepali writer reflects on what the suffocating embrace of both India and China has done to his homeland.
During the June 2020 territorial dispute over Kalapani, India blamed tensions on a newly assertive Nepal’s deepening relations with China. But beyond the accusations and grandstanding, this reflects a new reality: the power equations in South Asia have been redrawn, to make space for China.
Nepal did not turn northwards overnight. Its ties with China have deep historical roots built on Buddhism, dating to the early first millennium. While India’s unofficial 2015 blockade provided momentum to the rift with Delhi, Nepal has long wanted deeper ties with Beijing, to counteract India’s oppressive intimacy. With China’s growing South Asian and global ambitions, Nepal now has a new primary bilateral partner–and Nepalis are forging a path towards modernity with its help, both in the remote borderlands and in the cities.
All Roads Lead North offers a long view of Nepal’s foreign relations, today underpinned by China’s world-power status. Sharing never- before-told stories about Tibetan guerrilla fighters, failed coup leaders and trans- Himalayan traders, Nepal analyst Amish Raj Mulmi examines the histories binding mountain communities together across the Sino-Nepali border. Part history, part journalistic account, Mulmi’s is a complex, compelling and rigorously researched study of a small country caught between two neighbourhood giants.
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 by Al Jazeera; Roads & Kingdoms; Himal Southasian; India Today; The Kathmandu Post and The Record. He is from Pokhara in Nepal. This is his first book.