Nepal | July 09, 2020

‘MCC important initiative under Indo-Pacific Strategy’

Roshan S Nepal
Share Now:

This undated image shows David J Ranz, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs at the US Department of State. Photo courtesy: US Department of State

Kathmandu, May 14

Visiting Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for South Asia at the US Department of State David J Ranz today said Millennium Challenge Corporation Compact programme was one of the most important initiatives being implemented in Nepal under the US Indo-Pacific Strategy.

He said the MCC Compact was valuable not only because it was going to provide critically needed infrastructure to boost Nepal’s energy sector, but also because it would boost regional connectivity. “Regional connectivity is another critical aspect of our goals in the Indo-Pacific Strategy,” Ranz said at an interaction with a select group of journalists.

Ranz said a whole-of-government effort was under way to expand US engagement with the Indo-Pacific region, including Nepal, to ensure it is free, open, and operates on a rules-based system. He said the efforts were focused on three areas — economics, security, and governance — and the US had launched several new programmes and initiatives under these themes to help achieve the vision for the Indo-Pacific.

Referring to the US yearly development assistance of $200 million to Nepal, he said the US was Nepal’s largest bilateral donor. “I stress the word ‘donor’ because our assistance arrives in the form of grants, supported by the generosity of the American taxpayer, and not in the form of loans designed to return a profit to others and increase Nepal’s indebtedness,” he said.

Ranz also said there should be no doubt about US commitment to Nepal and the type of investments it brought. “When the United States invests, we do so in a manner that is sustainable, transparent, and that brings real benefits to the Nepali people,” he said.

According to Ranz, the Indo-Pacific Strategy was about enabling private sector investment in the region — spanning Indian and Pacific oceans — as only the private sector could fund the region’s Infrastructure requirements that ran into trillions of dollars.

He said the US private sector, which had already invested around a trillion dollar in the region, intended to increase the amount. Ranz, however, said private sector companies would invest in Nepal only if they saw Nepal as a good place to do business. Citing World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index where Nepal is not very well ranked, he said the Nepali government could come into play to address such concerns.

Ranz also made it clear that the Indo-Pacific Strategy was not an alliance or agreement, and nobody was signing on to it. He said it was about freedom, freedom of navigation, freedom of press, protection of sovereignty of countries of the region, enabling them to make the best decisions for the people of those countries both politically and economically free of any kind of coercion. Ranz said anybody, including China, could take the same approach to investment.

“Where I think there needs to be concern is when any company or country is engaged in a non-transparent procurement,” he said, adding it would result in risk such as the projects not bringing benefits for the host country, and providing opportunity for corruption.

Replying to journalists’ query about how the US perceives the Chinese-led Belt and Road Initiative of which Nepal is member, Ranz said the term BRI in itself did not have any meaning.


A version of this article appears in print on May 15, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.


Follow The Himalayan Times on Twitter and Facebook

Recommended Stories:

More from The Himalayan Times:

Nepal COVID-19 Update: 255 new cases, 253 recoveries, no deaths

KATHMANDU: Nepal’s Health Ministry, in its regular press briefing, shared the latest updates on coronavirus contagion from across the country, and government’s response to the health crisis. As of today, 266,457 tests through Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) method and 312,402 Rapid Diagn Read More...

In Pictures: Rallying forth in Prime Minister's support

Supporters of Prime Minister KP Oli organised a rally at Lagankhel, Lalitpur, on Wednesday, for the seventh day. The pro-prime minister demonstrations were held in the wake of recent political developments wherein PM Oli is being asked to step down from his either of his posts. Read More...

Nepal Airlines Corporation aircraft

Four more Nepal Airlines employees diagnosed with COVID-19 on Wednesday

KATHMANDU: Four more employees of Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) have been diagnosed with the coronavirus infection, on Wednesday. In the last two days, six employees of the national flag carrier have been detected with COVID-19. Among those infected are one pilot and five cabin crew members, a Read More...

Crash Landing on You's Son Ye-jin and Parasite's Lee Sun-kyun set for Hollywood debut?

KATHMANDU: Popular South Korean actress Son Ye-jin is set to make her Hollywood debut with film tentatively titled The Cross alongside Sam Worthington. Lee Sun-kyun from the Oscar-winning Parasite has also been a role in it. Qutoing an official from Son’s agency MS Team Entertainment, Th Read More...

Celta and Atletico share spoils in insipid draw

VIGO: Atletico Madrid dropped points for the third time since the season resumed after the coronavirus stoppage as they drew 1-1 away to struggling Celta Vigo in an uninspiring match in La Liga on Tuesday. Striker Alvaro Morata got the visitors off to the perfect start by tapping an Angel Corre Read More...

Over 90pc COVID-19 recovery reported in Rautahat

RAUTAHAT: Rautahat district, which has been hard-hit by the pandemic, has shown a promising rate of COVID-19 recovery. The district with about 92 percent of patients being discharged from health facilities has bagged much appreciation for the efforts of the concerned authorities. According to Read More...

Billie Eilish's mother reveals singer's obsession with Justin Bieber

KATHMANDU: American singer-songwriter Billie Eilish's mother Maggie has revealed about the singer's childhood obsession with Canadian singer Justin Bieber. In a recent episode of the 18-year-old singer's Apple Music radio show me & dad radio, Maggie, who appeared as a special guest talked ab Read More...

BTS members accused of using MBA enrolment to delay military enlistment

KATHMANDU: The members of K-pop supergroup BTS are facing accusations that they are using a graduate programme to delay their mandatory military duty. The Korea Times reports that speculation started swirling when their agency, Big Hit Entertainment said on July 7 that Jimin and V will start the Read More...