Beijing– Nepal and China have agreed to execute projects under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to enhance connectivity that encompasses ports, roads, railways, aviation and communications within the overarching framework of Trans-Himalayan Multi-Dimensional Connectivity Network.

In a joint statement issued during the visit of Nepali Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli, the two sides agreed to take practical measures to promote cooperation in all fields mentioned in the MOUs that included conducting a feasibility study of Kerung-Kathmandu railway, reconstruction of two friendship fridges, protocol on the utilization of Tibetan highways for cargo transport and investment and cooperation on production capacity.

On the railway pact that aims to extend the Chinese railway network to Kathmandu, the joint statement said: “Nepal and China underscored it as the most significant initiative in the history of bilateral cooperation and believed that it would herald a new era of cross-border connectivity.

Other pacts reached during Oli’s visit from June 19-24 were setting up of a mechanism for facilitation on the implementation of China-Nepal Cooperation Programmes and Projects in the Himalayan nation, MOUs on strengthening cooperation between their Foreign Ministries, cooperation in fields of energy and human resource development.

Beijing and Kathmandu also agreed to work together in areas of economy, trade, investment, industrial capacity, post-disaster reconstruction and other mutually beneficial areas, according to the statement.

Another takeaway of the visit was an early finalization of the joint feasibility study on the China-Nepal Free Trade Agreement (FTA), establishing cross-border economic cooperation zones and an agreement on completing the post disaster recovery of two frontier inspection stations on Nepal-China border.

Beijing agreed to support the Chinese-funded banks for opening their branches in Nepal. It said that it was ready to negotiate the financing modalities of the projects on road, railway connectivity, hydropower and transmission lines, among others, proposed by Nepal.

The two sides will also boost cooperation between the law enforcement agencies on information exchanges, capacity building and training. They will negotiate the Treaty on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters and Treaty on Extradition to fight against illegal border crossing and transnational crimes.

There will be more exchanges and cooperation between China and Nepal in areas of education, culture, tourism, media, think tanks, youth and people-to-people relations.

China said it will provide more government scholarships every year to Nepal, whereas Kathmandu said it will facilitate the teaching programme of volunteer Chinese language teachers.

“The two sides agreed to strengthen cooperation in the UN and other multilateral forums and to safeguard common interests of developing, least developed and landlocked developing countries in particular,” the joint statement added.

The two countries will also view and support each other’s participation in the regional cooperation process and enhance coordination and cooperation within the SCO, SAARC and other regional cooperation mechanisms within the agreed frameworks and guidelines. (IANS)

IndUS Business Journal

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