Nepal Gets Chinese Internet Connectivity- Indian Monopoly Ends

In News

  • Nepal is likely to get internet connection through Chinese optical fiber from next month, ending India’s monopoly over the online services in the landlocked Himalayan country.
  • China is making a concerted push into Nepal to blunt India’s “monopoly” in the landlocked nation. It worked out a transit treaty with Nepal during the tenure of pro-China former Nepal prime minister K P Sharma Oli in last August and even agreed to build a rail link through Tibet.

Progress report

  • Currently, the only internet services available in Nepal are provided via Indian bandwidth through Bhairahawa, Birgunj and Biratnagar.
  • Nepal has already completed the task of laying optical fiber on its side for the connection.
  • According to the Chinese company, the new route is almost 20 kilometers longer. The sudden change in the plan has delayed the project by almost a month.
  • Once the work to lay optical fiber is completed on the Chinese side, Nepal will test the connection and subsequently work on purchasing Internet bandwidth from the northern neighbour, 

Shobhan Adhikari, deputy spokesperson for the Nepal Telecom, said that the local government of China had suspended the work of laying optical fiber after a worker collapsed due to high attitude sickness. Now the work has already resumed.

Nepal, Bhutan reach out to NPCI for collaboration

  • Nepal and Bhutan have approached the National Payments Corporation of India for collaboration to make use of its digital payments services.
  • The NPCI had sought permission from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to allow it to provide the services to the two neighbouring countries.
  • Nepal and Bhutan are the two countries where specific requests have come for collaboration – means they would like to make use of our digital payments services.

Concern for India

  • China linking Nepal with optical fibre cables is seen as yet another attempt to ratchet up its presence in the south Asia region challenging India.
  •  India has already made its opposition clear to the economic corridor it is building in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK) apart from the Belt and Road Initiative.

NPCI

  • National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) is an umbrella organization for all retail payments system in India. It was set up with the guidance and support of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and Indian Banks’ Association (IBA). The RBI, after setting up the Board for Regulation and Supervision of Payment and Settlement Systems (BPSS) in 2005
  • The core objective was to consolidate and integrate the multiple systems with varying service levels into nation-wide uniform and standard business process for all retail payment systems.
  • The other objective was to facilitate an affordable payment mechanism to benefit the common man across the country and help financial inclusion.
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