In This Review

All Roads Lead North: China, Nepal, and the Contest for the Himalayas
All Roads Lead North: China, Nepal, and the Contest for the Himalayas
By Amish Raj Mulmi
Hurst, 2021, 328 pp.

Like many Nepalis, Mulmi resents the Indian assumption that his country owes deference to its southern neighbor because of cultural and trade ties. In a book that is part travelogue, part history, and part foreign policy analysis, he argues that China has long been a good neighbor to Nepal, allowing trade along the two countries’ Himalayan border, providing no-strings-attached aid for projects that diminished Nepal’s reliance on India, and building a road between Lhasa and Kathmandu to deepen relations between the countries. More recently, Nepal has signed on to China’s Belt and Road Initiative, Chinese President Xi Jinping has paid a state visit to Kathmandu, Chinese tourists and businesspeople have arrived in great numbers, and Nepalis have gained hope that China will construct a railway between Lhasa and Kathmandu. In return for Chinese support, Nepal sends Tibetans who cross into Nepal without permission back to the Chinese side and forbids resident Tibetans to mount anti-Chinese demonstrations. Nepalis view China as a better economic model and a richer source of funds than India. Mulmi warns that “India’s insecurities over losing its influence and primacy in Nepal and South Asia to China are well founded.”