Not only were Nepalese affected, but international tourists were killed too, the most prominent of which was Google X privacy director Dan Fredinburg, who was attempting to climb Mount Everest.
The popular holiday destination for thousands of tourists was turned into turmoil as a result of the quake, and the full extent of damage in the rural provinces is still not known. Amidst all of this, generous aid is pouring in from all over the world, as India and China appear ready to reinvigorate their rivalry for the Himalayan state’s loyalty while the country slowly rebuilds.
Viktoria Zavyalova, independent expert and author “Britain: mind the gap”, Manish Chand, CEO and Editor-in-Chief India Writes Network and Rajiv Sharma, independent geopolitical analyst (New Delhi) commented on the issue.
Viktoria Zavyalova, independent expert and author: “Britain: mind the gap”
Andrew Korybko: The first thing that comes to my mind whenever I think of Nepal is: Wow, what a spiritual place. I know it’s significant for so many people and so many tourists. I know you are not a stranger to the region, either, so can you maybe tell us more about this?
Viktoria Zavyalova: Yes, I’ve been traveling in the area for almost half a year, and I lived in one of the small villages in the mountains, and you are absolutely right: it’s such a spiritual place. To me it’s basically the heart of spirituality in this world, and personally I think what happened in Nepal at the moment is just so heartbreaking but is also a sign for all of us, as for humanity, that maybe we should think of what we are doing with this planet, what we are doing with our natural resources. Nothing in the area happens without a reason and we should think about it more, and to think about nature and this universe and everything we are bringing into this planet.
Sergei Strokan: A natural disaster can have a divine nature? Can it be seen as a signal to humanity, that it is going in the wrong direction?
Viktoria Zavyalova: Yes, maybe is a bad thing for me to say, as a science editor, but yes, I think it’s absolutely true and it’s such a spiritual place that if something happens there it’s a wake-up call for all of us.
Manish Chand, CEO and Editor-in-Chief of India Writes Network
Andrew Korybko: We are speaking about the tragedy in Nepal and we are wondering how this is seen in India? I know that India identifies itself as a fraternal nation with Nepal. Can you tell us more about the Indian reaction?
Manish Chand: Between India and Nepal, as you rightly pointed out; there are deep fraternal cultural bonds. When the earthquake happened in Nepal, it also affected some parts of northern India. And many Indians have relatives there, friends there, so the tragedy in Nepal is not something that is happening out there, but affects us very intimately, very organically. So coming down to India’s response, if you look at it, Prime Minister got into action from the beginning, from the moment when he heard about the news, and he spoke to Nepal’s President and relief teams quickly flew there and aircraft, so it’s been an exemplary speedy response, which is perfectly compatible with our deep friendship, as “friendship” is the translated name of the operation.
Rajiv Sharma, an independent geopolitical analyst based in New Delhi
Andrew Korybko: Right now, Nepal is rebuilding. Our previous guest was telling us about how India is helping Nepal. But I’m wondering what is China also doing, because I was reading right before the tragedy had occurred that some experts said there actually was a rivalry in Nepal between India and China. Do you think that was a proper assessment and if so, where did you see that headed after the tragedy?
Manish Chand: If it is a rivalry, then I’m afraid it’s a very handy find, and the more the better. In this particular context, it’s because they’re both competing to provide aid which can help the country. But there’s also a strategic context. China has increased its strategic footprint in a very big way in Nepal over the past one decade. And China has become more influential. Then many of them also accept India, and I would not be surprised if China gains more influence than India in times to come. But, having said that, the Indian government led by Modi has tried to turn the tables on China when it comes to providing humanitarian assistance and aid to Nepal.