Trans-Himalayan Railway project under China’s BRI could be an economic and geopolitical game-changer: Baburam Bhattarai

Published On: October 21, 2020 08:05 PM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

“When the wind of change blows, some people build walls and others build windmills. With the spectacular progress of China, the wind of BRI has started blowing. Let’s build the windmills.” 

KATHMANDU, Oct 21: Speaking at a virtual meeting of the First Conference of Nepal-China Belt and Road Cooperation of Political Parties organized by International Department of CPC, China in collaboration with Friends of Silk Road Club Nepal, former Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai has said that the Trans-Himalayan Railway project under Belt and Road Initiative could be an economic and geopolitical game-changer for Nepal. He also said that the two countries must work together to enhance economic cooperation.

“Nepal and China enjoy very cordial relations since the time immemorial. China is Nepal’s close friend, trustworthy neighbor and a reliable development partner,” said Bhattarai. He stressed that the foundations of Nepal-China relations stand on the five guiding principles of peaceful co-existence and addressing each other’s basic national interests. 

Bhattarai said that the Chinese President’s visit to Nepal was a significant event in the annals of Nepal-China relations, as both sides elevated the relations to a “strategic partnership”. During his address to the conference, he also recalled Chinese President Xi Jinping’s announcement to assist Nepal become a “land-linked” from a “land-locked” country during his visit to Nepal last year.  

With the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation under BRI in 2017 between Nepal and China, he said new vistas of bilateral cooperation have opened up. He further said that BRI will benefit many countries in the region, including Nepal, from China’s innovation, productivity and advancement. He said that the prospect of financial integration and policy coordination between the two countries will help Nepal access the global value chain. 

Bhattarai said that a feasibility study for a rail link from Kerung via Rasuwa to Kathmandu and onward to Pokhara and Lumbini has been carried out but not much else has happened because of technical and financial challenges, and political uncertainty in Kathmandu. He said that the plan to build railways from Raxaul (India) to Kathmandu will help materialize the dream of making Nepal a vibrant economic bridge between China and India. 

Bhattarai shared a famous Chinese proverb during the meeting: When the wind of change blows, he said, some people build walls and others build windmills. With the spectacular progress made by China, the wind of BRI has already started blowing, let us build windmills and benefit from it, said Bhattarai. 


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