Competition over Nepal's mountain hydropower potential is intensifying with India moving ahead of China in a geopolitical tussle that several analysts and industry insiders fear could jeopardize the Himalayan nation's energy supply and ambitions.

Nepal has in recent years looked to its rivers — which have the potential to generate more than 42,000 megawatts of hydroelectric power — to ease power shortages at home and export excess electricity in a bid to develop its struggling economy.

China and India have long jostled for influence in neighboring Nepal, and have invested billions of dollars apiece in hydro projects over the last decade.