"China sends big goods consignment to Nepal to rival India," the Times of India reported over the weekend, noting that the move would "severely hit Indian businesses which had unfettered access to the Nepali market."
On Friday, dozens of trucks carrying $2.8 million worth of products such as clothes, appliances, electronics and building materials left the Chinese border for their destination in Nepal, Xinhua News Agency reported. But the move doesn't mean that Chinese goods will push Indian products out of the country. In fact, when it comes to cooperation with other countries, both China and India should refrain from excessive sensitivity.
Located between India and China, Nepal has repeatedly stressed that it is willing to leverage its location to bridge cooperation between the two emerging Asian powers and thus gain benefits. In light of this, China's efforts to connect itself with Nepal will be conductive not only to the export of Chinese-made products, but also to the import of goods from Nepal or even from India.
Additionally, in May, China started a rail and road cargo service to the South Asian country as a means to shorten the time spent in sea transport. There may be endless trouble in the future if India views efforts to facilitate the export of goods from China's enterprises as a potential threat to the sale of Indian-made products in Nepal. For instance, China is already planning to build a new railway to further shorten the trade route connecting the two countries as Beijing pushes forward with the Belt and Road initiative.
Strategic suspicion has prompted some people to overly interpreted China and India's respective cooperation with another country.
In another eye-catching issue, India said last week it would help Mongolia use the $1 billion of aid offered in 2015 to overcome its current financial and economic crisis, after The Hindu reported Mongolia was seeking clear support from India "against China's blockade." China won't be overly sensitive about India's cooperation with Mongolia, and won't mistake India's assistance as a counter to China.
Mongolia's economy is highly dependent on China, with more than 90 percent of its imports and exports traded directly with China, according to the gov.uk website. As such, China's influence on Mongolia's economy cannot be replaced by India in the short run, and efforts will be in vain if India attempts to "bribe" Mongolia's loyalty with only $1 billion.
China is likely to welcome India to expand its influence through more active participation in regional economic affairs to promote positive development of areas around China. Hopefully India could also adopt an open-minded attitude toward China's cooperation with South Asian countries.