‘China’s OBOR project will also benefit Nepal’

Kathmandu, May 21

Former Chief Secretary Leela Mani Paudyal today said Nepal had taken China’s ‘One Belt One Road’ project as an opportunity to enhance connectivity across the Himalayas.

Chinese President Xi Jinping initiated ‘One Belt One Road’ in 2013 to accelerate economic cooperation by connecting people, markets, economies and cultures of  China and that of South Asia, South East Asia, East Asia, Central Asia as well as the Middle East and Africa.

Paudyal, also an ex-consul general of Nepal to Lhasa, Tibet, said many western countries, multilateral organisations and other economically capable countries have shown least interest in funding huge trans-Himalayan connectivity projects.

Stating that it was not possible for Nepal to build trans-Himalayan roads and rail links on its own, Paudyal said: “In such a context, Nepal welcomes Chinese funding, technology and initiatives for opening up new trans-Himalayan routes.”

He was presenting a paper during a day-long workshop, organised by Trans-Himalayan Research Centre, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences of Tribhuvan University in the Valley today. Poudyal said Nepal would benefit from such initiatives as it would pave the opportunities for trade, business and tourism between Nepal and China and other parts of Asia.

Paudyal, however, said projects like One Belt One Road initiative should be harmonious with the local development priorities and policies and should not clash with local initiatives and socio-economic diversities.

“Such initiatives have to be respectful towards basic social, political, cultural and economic set up of the would-be connecting societies,” he added. Besides, Paudyal also stressed the need for initiating separate bilateral connectivity projects between Nepal and China.

Prof Laya Upreti said that though the Himalayan terrain used to be traditionally perceived as impediments to development, it has now been taken as source of prosperity for national development.

Prof Yong Thai, Sichuan University, China stated the high-land denizens have to get the dividends of Himalayan resources as well as trans-Himalayan cooperation.

Sensing Nepal’s discontent over China’s omission of Nepal from Beijing’s yet another initiative of BCIM (Bangladesh, China, India and Myanmar) economic corridor, Prof Yong stated China would welcome Nepal’s entry if it so desired in future.