Mount Everest grows overnight . . .
On Tuesday, after years of debate, China and Nepal jointly announced the newly agreed-upon height for Mount Everest: 8,848.86 metres, or 29,031.69 feet. This new measurement is slightly higher than Nepal’s previous estimation and four metres taller than China’s. The two countries came to this consensus after each sent independent surveyor teams to the top of the peak to take trigonometric and GPS measurements. Nepal sent its team in May of 2019, and China sent its team earlier this year. This investigation into the height of the world’s tallest peak was initiated over speculation that Everest might have shrunk following Nepal’s 2015 earthquake. The new measurements suggest the opposite.
China-Nepal relations growing stronger . . .
Nepal’s Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali said Mount Everest is “an eternal symbol” of the Nepal-China friendship and that the relationship “will rise across the Himalayas, and it will reach a new height.” China-Nepal relations have grown stronger in recent years. China considers Nepal key to its Belt and Road Initiative and has been increasingly involved in its domestic politics. In September 2019, the two countries’ communist parties signed an agreement to share “communist ideology, training, as well as development models.” In late November of this year, China’s defence minister visited Nepal and pledged China’s military support for Nepal amid the latter’s border disputes with India, in which India announced its intention to build a road through the disputed Kalapani territory.
While Nepal and India grow apart . . .
The Nepal-India relationship has begun to fray. Before this new measurement, Nepal had never measured Mount Everest on its own, instead using the figure established by the Survey of India in 1954, which set the mountain at 8,848 meters, or 29,028 feet. India offered to remeasure the mountain again in 2017, but Nepal refused, stating that the country wanted to conduct the task independently – only to accept China’s offer of a joint measurement later on. India has become increasingly worried that it is losing influence in Nepal, which sits in India’s strategic backyard. That said, moves are afoot to restore the bilateral relationship with Nepal’s foreign minister set to visit India later this month “to restore normalcy to bilateral ties hit by a border row earlier this year.”