The remarks by the prime minister come amid concerns from various quarters that Nepal's plan to develop mega infrastructure projects under the framework of BRI could push the country into a serious debt trap.
KATHMANDU, Sept 13: Prime Minister KP Oli has said that Nepal will select projects and programs under any bilateral, regional and multilateral forums based on country's needs and priorities.
In his inaugural address in a day-long International Conference on Belt and Road Initiative (BRI): Opportunities and Implications for Nepal and the Region held on Wednesday, Prime Minister Oli also clarified that Nepal won't be carried away by any opinion or views that do not reflect ground reality.
“I would like to dispel apprehensions, if any, by stating that the government will be solely guided by the national interest in selecting or accepting projects and programs under any bilateral, regional or multilateral mechanisms,” he said. “We will not be swayed away by any opinion or views that are not objective and grounded on realities.”
The remarks by the prime minister come at a time when a section of people and policymakers are expressing concerns that Nepal's plan to develop mega infrastructure projects under the framework of BRI could push Nepal into a serious debt trap.
Oli said that each country has its unique realities and requirements. “One-size-fits-all” approach cannot cater to diverse development needs of different countries and regions,” he said in the function organized by Master's in International Relations and Diplomacy, Tribhuvan University.
Prime Minister Oli lauded the BRI as a “visionary initiative” that aims at promoting connectivity and cooperation among the countries in the region and beyond. “To realize Nepal's development agenda and prosperity goal, it can serve as an important catalyst. We believe that BRI can support countries like Nepal to grow and prosper at a greater speed by ensuring equitable benefits to us,” he said.
On the occasion, Prime Minister Oli said that Nepal and China are committed to enhancing connectivity encompassing vital components including ports, roads, railways, aviation, and communications within the framework of trans-Himalayan Multi-Dimensional Connectivity Network. While Nepal and China recently finalized the text of Protocol to Agreement on Transit Transport, which provides Nepal access to all the Chinese seaports, the prime minister said the two countries have already concluded MoU for building a cross-border transmission line and trans-Himalayan railway.
The prime minister informed that the two countries have started discussions on various BRI-related projects.
Academicians and experts from various countries including Nepal, India, China, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Laos, and Singapore shared their countries' perspectives on BRI and its implication in the region.
In his valedictory address, Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali said BRI should aim at utilizing the rich resources available along the Himalayan range and improving the quality of lives of peoples in those areas.