China's state media today praised Nepal’s rebuffed leader KP Oli as "probably the most important prime minister of Nepal since the 1990s". The Chinese media hailed him as a hero who nearly ended the land-locked country's "full dependence" on India.
"He almost broke his country's full dependence on India, which has lasted since 1956 when Nepal became a modern state," an article in the Global Times said.
It described Oli, who recently resigned, as "probably the most important prime minister of Nepal since the 1990s."
"He turned India's belief that the blockade can make Nepal surrender into thin air," it said, referring to the months long blockade of Nepal's trade routes with India by Madhesis, who are mostly of Indian-origin.
"Another notable achievement is that Nepal has become a dialogue partner of the China and Russia-led Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, which will help it become involved in East Asian affairs," it said.
"This has made India frustrated as it breaks the tradition that Nepal should only join India-led regional blocs such as the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, (SAARC)", it said.
The article also said that Prachanda, who is tipped to become the next Prime Minister of Nepal will rectify "pro-China" policy of Oli and balance it by taking India's interests into consideration.
Prachanda in a bid to balance factions within his own party "formed the principle of keeping an equal distance from China and India", it said.
"So once Prachanda takes power, he is bound to rectify Oli's pro-China tendency when in government and take India's interests into account, as India is sour about losing its grip on Nepal," it said.
"The fixed agreements between China and the Oli government are unlikely to be changed, or it will deal a heavy blow to bilateral ties, which is too much for the new government to bear," it sid.
In the first nine months, given Prachanda's equi-distance principle, there is little chance that China-Nepal ties will retreat, but the relationship will proceed very slowly. After the first nine months, it remains to be seen how the pro-India Nepali Congress will cope with trilateral relations, it said.
There has been a chill in India's relationship with Nepal after the months-long crippling blockade by Madhesis who are demanding amendments to the newly-enacted Constitution to ensure adequate political representation and reorganization of the federal boundaries.
India has denied playing any political role in the protests by the Madhesis in Nepal.