Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Physical Infrastructure and Transport, Narayan Kaji Shrestha said that the government of Nepal is firm in successful implementation of BRI projects.
Addressing an inaugural session of the conference on China’s Belt and Road Initiative at Ten: Nepal’s Experiences, minister Shrestha said that BRI projects will enhance Nepal’s access to global markets and improve Nepal’s connectivity and infrastructures.
“The cross-border railway will boost Nepal’s economic development by expanding Nepal’s reach to global market as our products will reach central Asian nations through China,” he viewed.
Referring to age-old, friendly and cooperative relations between the two neighbours, DPM Shrestha reiterated Nepal’s firm commitment to One China Policy and vowed that he would help and facilitate implementation of the BRI projects in his capacity as the physical infrastructure and transport minister.
Chinese ambassador to Nepal, Chen Song, said that China’s resolve for international cooperation through BRI has remained unchanged in the last ten years although many changes may have taken place in the world issues.
“BRI is not a geopolitical tool,” said the ambassador, “Debt trap is a narrative trap.” He highlighted laying down of China-Nepal cross border optic fiber and process for installing Ratmate-Rasuwagadhi-Kerung transmission line for cross border electricity trade.
Pradip Gyawali, former foreign minister and deputy general secretary of CPN (UML), observed that BRI seeks to make globalization inclusive against the background that globalization has helped developed countries accumulate global wealth at the cost of developing countries.
Saying that there has not been progress in BRI as expected, leader Gyawali viewed that Nepal should take initiative to take benefit from it.
He said BRI would help Nepal overcome development obstacles created by insufficient connectivity.
Lila Mani Paudel, former ambassador of Nepal to China and also the chief secretary of the government of Nepal, observed that Nepal has missed the opportunity to take benefits from both the BRI and the Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank (AIIB) although Nepal is a founding member of the AIIB.
Speaking as the key note speaker, former ambassador Paudel said some progress was seen only in 3 projects out of eight BRI projects Nepal proposed in 2018. He argued that China debt trap is a narrative trap hyped by those who have been lending around the world and taking undue benefits from it.
Dr. Kalyan Raj Sharma, general secretary of the Friends of Silk Road Club-Nepal, viewed that BRI has become much mature and taken new heights in the last ten years.
There are ample issues and sectors in which Nepal can take advantage of also by being a neighbor, said the general secretary of the organisation that organised the conference.
During one day program, experts and stakeholders have emphasized the need to expedite projects under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in Nepal.
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