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2017 | OriginalPaper | Buchkapitel

6. The Future of Himalayan Mobilities

verfasst von: Robert E. Beazley, James P. Lassoie

Erschienen in: Himalayan Mobilities

Verlag: Springer International Publishing

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Abstract

The 10 year People’s War in Nepal (1986–2006) had a profound impact on infrastructure. Acts of sabotage which destroyed existing roads and bridges as well as withdrawal of foreign investment curtailed most construction projects. With formation of a new government in the wake of the war reconstruction and new development is on the rise-one of the key focuses is on connecting all 75-district headquarters by road. A renewed push for better north-south connectivity is integrated in a plan for regional trade between India, Nepal, and China. The precarious geo-political underpinnings of Nepal’s geographical position between India and China makes road building a very complex multi-scalar proposition. The complexity of this challenge speaks to the importance of generating interdisciplinary research and development planning-which will necessitate cooperation and collaboration. The so-called Trans Himalayan Highway (a.k.a. Rasuwagadhi-Galchi-Raxaul Highway) is the shortest overland route from Tibet to India. As such it features prominently in many sub regional, regional and potentially international trade and commerce proposals for connecting China, India, South Asia and Europe. The Chinese financed Rasuwagadhi-Syaphrubesi section of this highway has been under intense scrutiny—it is being groomed to become the main access point for China-Nepal-India overland trade. Officially opened in December 2014 the Rasuwagadhi border has undergone huge changes recently.
First, from the forced closing of the Friendship Highway following a landslide in August 2014, which rerouted traffic to Rasuwagadhi and a temporary early opening in August 2014. Second, by the 2015 Gorkha Earthquake and the after math of destruction of both the road and the border facilities on either side. Third, the promulgation of the new Nepali constitution (September 2015) and the resulting embargo on Nepal’s southern border leading to fuel supplies from China through Rasuwaghadi. And finally the extension of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway to Shigatse, Tibet with the intended continuation to the Tibet border town of Kyirong, just north of Rasuwaghadi and talks of extending the rail to Kathmandu and possibly Lumbini on Nepal’s southern border. These changes are embedded in a matrix of discourse concerning trilateral trade, geopolitical influence, and national security between China, Nepal, and India. Ultimately Nepal is in a position to benefit from the aid and influence coming from both Beijing and Delhi, but a persistent and crippling tradition of corruption and nepotism embedded in the chronically unstable Nepali government threatens to undermine any concrete benefit for Nepali citizens and keep the country locked into a decades old pattern of failed development programs and infrastructure stagnation. While the future holds many concrete substantial opportunities to develop new Himalayan Mobilities such as China’s One Belt One Road Initiative among many others, the way in which these opportunities play out is dependent on Nepal’s ability to curb its endemic political instability, corruption, and nepotism, and the greater economic and geopolitical developments of China, India, Asia, and Europe.

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Fußnoten
1
sKyid rong Tibetan pronounced Kyirong meaning “Happy Valley”.
 
2
Mang-yul is the Tibetan name of a valley sbas yul pronounced beyul (extending north from the present day Nepal-Tibet boundary at Rasuwagadhi) in the ancient Tibetan Kingdom of Gung thang.
 
3
sbas yul Tibetan pronounced beyul meaning “hidden lands” refers to valley sanctuaries which according to legend were hidden away by the great Buddhist tantric adept Padmasambhava to be used in times of need. “The hidden land is both a refuge for meritorious individuals from all strata of Tibetan society during a time of moral and political degeneration, as well as a place of accomplishment for those who are spiritually inclined. It is a land where the yogi can spend extended time in retreat and where a gter-ston can reveal sacred treasures.” Childs 1999: 128) gter-ston Tibetan pronounced terton refers to a treasure revealer of sacred texts hidden by Padmasambhava and his consort Yeshe Tsgoyal.
 
4
Gung thang Kingdom was founded under Sakya rule in the thirteenth century C.E. by Bumdegon (1253–1280) lasted until 1620 when the King of Tsang conquered it.
 
5
Trishuli Sanskrit meaning the Hindu God Shiva’s trident.
 
11
bikasit is the Nepali word for developed.
 
12
bikas is the Nepali word for development.
 
13
This phrase refers to the political system in Nepal in which the outer workings claim to be a democracy but the inner workings of each party are “tightly controlled by senior leaders who stifle any attempt at internal democracy.” (Foreign Hand 2016).
 
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Metadaten
Titel
The Future of Himalayan Mobilities
verfasst von
Robert E. Beazley
James P. Lassoie
Copyright-Jahr
2017
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-55757-1_6