December 30, 2018 03:39 PM

Guwahati (Face2News)

School children in Nepal have to learn three  languages — Nepali, English and Mandarin Chinese. "Students at  different levels are also flocking for higher education in China. To encourage this flow, Beijing has instituted a generous scholarship programme," revealed Arun Budhathoki, Editor-in-Chief of Kathmandu  Tribune and senior correspondent of several reputed internal media entities, while speaking to scribes through video-conferencing on Friday as part of Guwahati Press Club's 'Meet the Press' programme.

Elaborating further on the growing Chinese influence upon various  sectors in the Himalayan kingdom, Budhathoki said that Chinese  citizens can now shop in Nepal with their currency yuan. This can be  contrasted with the Nepale government's ban on rupee which requires Indian tourists to use American dollars as foreign exchange there.

These developments indicate how Nepal has been distancing herself from India to move closer into Beijing's embrace, which can be attributed to the emergence of Maoists as a political force and their stints in  power at Kathmandu.

Dwelling on the relatively stable situation in Nepal presently, Budhathoki said that peace talks with the Maoists and their participation in government have paid dividends, even though a split  in the Maoist leadership has pushed some hardliners into the path of  confrontation. "While the political influence of former prime minister  and supreme Maoist leader Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda' has waned, he  continues to be socially relevant," commented Budhathoki.

As for theprint media in Nepal, there has been significant growth with several Nepali dailies coming up in recent years, even as the few English  dailies continue to hold steady; in electronic media, private TV  channels have emerged to offer more choices to viewers long serviced  by the government channel. In this context, Budhathoki pointed out  that most Indian newspapers are available in Nepal. "However,  journalists in Nepal operate under certain restrictions and have to be  mindful about security, which naturally makes them more cautious in
their reporting," he signed off.

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