One Belt One Road Initiative

China's growing influence on display in Xi's Nepal visit

Xi's arrival in Kathmandu. Photo: Xinhua/Gao Jie via Getty Images

Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Nepal over the weekend bearing gifts: a pledge of $500 million in economic aid for the impoverished Himalayan country and a series of infrastructure deals worth billions more.

Why it matters: Phanindra Dahal of BBC Nepali, and a former Axios fellow, emails from Kathmandu that Xi's visit was "massive news" in a country at the center of a tug of war between India and China:

Xi Jinping is first Chinese president to visit Nepal in 2 decades

Chinese President Xi Jinping arrives in Nepal
Chinese President Xi (L) and Nepalese President Bidhya Devi Bhandari (R). Photo: Narayan Maharjan/NurPhoto/ Getty Images

President Xi Jinping became the first Chinese president to visit Nepal in 2 decades on Saturday, as Chinese investors continue to pour millions of dollars into "one of Asia's poorest and least-developed democracies," the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: Xi's visit emphasizes China's increasing interest in using South Asia as a "strategic hub for defense and transit projects," per the Times.