‘BRI for socio-economic development, not for political objective’

Published On: January 31, 2020 04:00 PM NPT By: RSS

KATHMANDU, Jan 31: A senior Chinese professor has highlighted the significance of the Belt Road Initiative (BRI) for the economic development of landlocked countries including Nepal.

“BRI is a world-wide programme forwarded by China for socio-economic development, not for political objectives”, said Prof Dr He Wenping of Institute of West Asian and African Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Beijing.

Prof Wenping was speaking at a seminar organized for Nepali media persons by the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China and conducted by China International Publishing Group (CIPG) Training Centre in Beijing recently.

According to him, the multi-billion BRI is one of the tools to diversify its cooperation, trade and investment, and economic activities at large across the globe and would help increase the competitiveness of Asia, especially the poor and landlocked countries like Nepal. Wenping said that the project is for sharing China’s development result to other countries. "The friendship between Nepal and China could be further deepened through the medium of BRI and Nepal could take more benefit out of this programme, she argued.

Furthermore, the BRI as such in its spirit is to expand its maritime and land routes along the Asia, Europe and Africa meant for economic ties on the basis of win-win cooperation for the shared future of humankind. In this regard, statement of Chinese President Xi on BRI and the moves behind this ambitious project could be more illuminating.

“China will actively promote international co-operation through the Belt and Road Initiative. In doing so, we hope to achieve policy, infrastructure, trade, financial, and people-to-people connectivity and thus build a new platform for international co-operation to create new drivers of shared development,” as mentioned in Xi's book.

Chinese President Xi Jinping had initiated the BRI project after his election to the post in March 2013. The concept of BRI started from the ancient Silk Road for further integration and sharing the equal benefits to the participating member states. Now, BRI is a global initiative covering almost 65 per cent of the world’s total population and more than 40 per cent of the world’s total GDP.

Analysts argue that the GDP volume covered along the BRI member states is on the rise because of their economic growth rate contributed by the BRI itself and other internal economic activities. Any country in the world can be the member of BRI and 124 countries have now become its business partner with China in this connection.

In the beginning, 64 countries were the members of the project and now the number of member countries has reached 137. Promoting economic partnership and sharing its results among the member states is also one of the key rational of the BRI programme. However, Nepal has not yet finalized any specific project to implement under the BRI framework though Nepal has firm commitment to this. As economic status of China has improved with BRI and technological advancement in the recent years, Nepal now should identify the projects to be run under the BRI framework by taking experts' views and national necessities for mutual benefits.

With the rapid economic growth rate, China is all set to be the world's largest economy very soon while a prosperous socialist country by 2049, the centenary anniversary of the establishment of the People's Republic of China under the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC). China stands in second position in view of gross domestic product (GDP) in the current world economy, which occupies 14.84 per cent while America stands in first position with 24.32 per cent GDP.

As Prof Dr Wenping viewed, BRI would be an effective medium for the development in people’s level adding that BRI helps promote the connectivity and trade of Asian, European and African continents and push the economy forward, she argued. Nepal has made its strong participation in two BRI summits held in May 2017 and April 2019.

This is right time we work for our national glory by building more and more infrastructures under the BRI framework with support from China. That will meet our national interests and further deepen our age-old Nepal-China relations sooner the better. Building more connectivity projects including materializing the trans-Himalayan multidimensional network and all other agreements signed during President Xi's recent Nepal visit.

In fact, government's target of 'Prosperous Nepal, Happy Nepali' will be facilitated through the implementation of the BRI related projects and also that will positively contribute to meeting the sustainable development goals (SDGs) in Nepal.

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