China has intensified its efforts of expanding its territory in the Himalayan region, and in support of the countries that are struggling against it like Nepal and Tibet, the United Kingdom has been taking steps to counter the People’s Republic of China (PRC), according to a report from Council on Geostrategy (COG).
The Director of Research at COG, James Rogers, said that China’s revisionism and capture of the Himalayan region include altering facts on the ground and land grabs for the construction of illegal infrastructure in Bhutan.
Most notably, the leveraging water flows of River Brahmaputra in its border disputes with India, since the 2017 Doklam standoff, the report said.
The report further mentions that to make UK’s efforts even more effective against the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) tactics in the Himalayan region deserve more focus, and a British Himalayas Strategy could even be considered.
For this, the same report suggests six ways in which China can be countered by the UK even more effectively in the region. First, the UK must align its efforts with countries that support the intent of pushing back China’s takeover of the region and must closely monitor PRCs construction inside Bhutanese territory. This must further go to condemning its incursions by statements in international forums like the United Nations.
Second, the UK must extend more aid and engage in bilateral trade with Nepal to balance CCPs loans and economic leverage on Nepal.
Third India should be seen as more than a trading partner and its security concerns along its border with the PRC should not be treated as a mere bilateral issue. India’s own security concerns will also become more important to Britain as it seeks to strengthen bilateral ties with New Delhi, according to COG’s report.
Fourth, efforts via World Bank for the South Asia Water Initiative which aimed to enhance knowledge, technical and policy capacity, and trust amongst countries involved in managing the Himalayan river system must be supported even further.
Fifth, Britain through its official presence in Kathmandu must ensure the well-being of Tibetan refugees and their freedom of expression in Nepal. Also urge the government to provide more protection to Tibet’s refugees, the report said.
Sixth, regarding the human rights concerns in Tibet, the report also mentions that Britain must counter Beijing’s attempts to interfere in the succession of the Dalai Lama.