KATHMANDU, Sept 16: Chairman of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) Pushpa Kamal Dahal, who earlier courted controversy by saying Nepal disapproves of the US-backed Indo-Pacific Strategy, said that Nepal has stood in favor of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) launched by China as it promises shared prosperity for all.
Addressing a function organized in Lalitpur on Sunday, former Prime Minister Dahal also lauded BRI as a purely economic cooperation initiative rather than a military alliance. “BRI is not a military alliance. Rather it seeks to promote mutual cooperation among various countries that are part of it,” he said at the event entitled BRI Dialogue.
Dahal stressed the need for finalizing the projects to be developed under the BRI framework in Nepal. “We should not make any delay in finalizing the projects under the BRI. I think the time has come to speed up the projects as per our needs,” he said, adding that BRI has a prospect of contributing to Nepal’s socio-economic development.
Stating that BRI is a collective effort of various countries to achieve economic development through enhanced connectivity, Dahal said that many countries have already started reaping benefits from BRI by executing projects under the BRI. “Some countries have also expressed some reservations in the biggest-ever project of the 21st century. But least developed countries like ours have fully supported the BRI,” Dahal said.
While expressing confidence that Nepal, too, could reap benefits from BRI, Dahal recalled that Nepal decided to join BRI when he became the prime minister of the country for the second time in 2017. He argued since the countries that are part of BRI can identify projects based on their national priorities and interests, BRI has the prospect to contribute to the development of countries like Nepal.
Chairman Dahal said that Nepal wants to have good relation with both the neighbors, India and China. “Nepal wants to reap benefit from the economic rise of China and India,” he further said.
Dahal also recalled his proposal for trilateral cooperation among Nepal, India and China while carrying out major infrastructure projects. “I had held discussions with the top leadership of both the neighboring countries about forging trilateral cooperation among China, Nepal, and India during my second term as the prime minister,” he said.
Dahal said that China had positively responded to his proposal, while India had said that more homework and discussions were needed for that.