KATHMANDU, April 26: President Bidya Devi Bhandari on Friday said that the development of ‘Trans-Himalayan Multi-Dimensional Connectivity Network’ including Nepal-China Cross-Border Railway will boost connectivity not only between Nepal and China but other countries in the region.
The president, who is currently paying a nine-day state visit to China, made the statement during the ‘High-Level Meeting of the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation’ in Beijing on Friday.
Highlighting the importance of connectivity in socio-economic development for landlocked Nepal, Bhandari said that enhanced connectivity will offer vast opportunities for trade, investment, tourism and open up the people-to-people relations.
Saying that Nepal has achieved political stability after a prolonged political transition, the president said that the country’s objective ahead is to bring about visible transformation in the living standard of the people.
“Our national aspiration is guided by the motto ‘Prosperous Nepal, Happy Nepali’. Our immediate goal is to graduate from LDC status. We intend to become a middle-income country by achieving the Sustainable Development Goals well before 2030,” she said.
Nepal wants to enhance bilateral as well as multilateral collaboration and cooperation with neighbors, other friendly countries including development partners to overcome its development challenges, she said.
While praising the far-sighted vision of Chinese President Xi to build a community of shared future for mankind through Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the president said that it carries a huge potential. “It is an important framework for collaboration, for cooperation and for connectivity,” she observed.
The president said that Asia is a powerhouse of the world economy. “For the future of global prosperity, the region is well poised to play a pivotal role. A region with many rich civilizations, Asia’s future should be that of inclusivity and partnership,” she said.
“Mutual efforts for mutual benefit; inclusive development for fair and equitable world order; and the green development for the good health of the people and planet embody its spirit. It lays emphasis on boosting connectivity, developing infrastructure, connecting markets and enhancing cooperation among the nations in diverse sectors in the region and beyond,” she said while highlighting the importance of the Belt and Road Initiative.
The BRI promotes openness in place of isolation, cooperation in place of confrontation and win-win cooperation in place of zero-sum game, she noted. “Vis-à-vis the huge resource gap in global level, BRI can play an instrumental role in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals,” she remarked.
And, BRI is the engine for prosperous future where not a single country is excluded from the fruit of development, she said.
Taking about transformation taking place in various sectors around the world, President Bhandari said “The world today is at the cusp of profound transformation. In many parts of the world, poverty has been reduced, access to health and education has become easier, and many economies are heading towards prosperity. The unprecedented scale of technological revolution has opened a vista of possibilities.”
She said that the aforementioned achievements would have been impossible if there was no cooperation.
“Those gains would have been unthinkable were it not for collaboration,” she said. Bhandari also talked about challenges by the contemporary world.
“However, the new as well as old challenges are conspicuous. The distribution of wealth is strikingly uneven. Promises of development have not yielded for many. Millions of people are still trapped in the vicious cycle of poverty,” she said.
Without mentioning the Trump Administration’s policies of protectionism, President Bhandari talked about the rise of protectionism and isolationist tendencies being surfaced around the world.
“The very foundation of cooperation and collaboration is facing skepticism. Protectionism and isolationist tendencies have surfaced. Such regressive response will not only jeopardize the hard-earned gains, but also be unjust for future generations,” she said.
She also stressed the need to acknowledge that the existence of poverty in any corner of the world can be a threat to the whole world.
“Therefore, proliferation of several challenges calls for more collaboration, not less. Unfinished pursuit of development calls for more cooperation, not less. The quest for brighter and better future calls for more connectivity, not less,” Bhandari said.
The president said expressed her firm conviction that the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation will be successful in building up our concerted efforts for a just, fair, equitable, inclusive and rules-based world order for lasting global peace and prosperity.
“I have brought to you all warm greetings and best wishes from the Government and people of Nepal, the land of Buddha and Sagarmatha, the highest peak on earth,” she said. The president congratulated the Government and people of China on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of founding of the People’s Republic of China.