By Sundar Nath Bhattarai
Through the Belt and Road initiative Chinese President Xi Jinping has called for “working together to jointly build it”. The concept of OBOR envisages a vision of connectivityof a wider scale of unprecedented magnitude.It provides a new dimension of economic development through larger connectivity and closer cooperation among nations of Asia, Europe, Africa and Middle East. Its primary objective is infra-structural development of multi-model connectivity like roads, railways, navigation and airways etc., furthermore, it aims at promoting unimpeded trade regime, adequate financial flow and its integration, policy coordination and improvement in people-to-people relations. It stems from the conviction affirmed by China that it is only through corresponding socio-economic development of the countries of the region that its economic progress could be sustainable and guaranteed. The concept of OBOR is multi-dimensional and comprehensive in nature.
Nepal is anxiously looking forward not only to the identification of its position in the overall framework of One Belt One Road initiative but also its active participationin it. Prime Minister Pushpakamal Dahal, during his visit to BOAO and Beijing has expressed firm commitment onNepal’s participation in OBOR,and affirm Nepal’s high-level participation in the International Conference on OBOR being held in Beijing in May this year. Nepal is of the view that through its participation in OBOR, it could not only benefit for its own advantage but would also be able to contribute to the economic and trade intercourses between China and South Asia, by serving as a gateway to two way connectivity between them and to the greater interest of the region. In view of the steady and continuous progress made by both our immediate neighbours — China and India — rising economic powers of the region today, China-India connectivity has greater prospect of being deepened and intensified, in the days ahead, which may be to the benefit of all the countries in the region as a whole.
We also view positively the prospect of realizing the initiative of trilateral cooperation in theform of China-Nepal-India Economic Corridor that is beingwidely discussed and negotiated.We believe that it will, in due course of time, be materialized with the collective realization that it will be to the benefit of all the three countries involved. Its prospect has been enhanced by the extension of connectivity of railways from Shigatshe to Keyroung,adjoining to the town of Syaprubesi in mid-western Nepal, not very far from Kathmandu.
We are ever grateful for all the cooperation and help that China has generously been extending to Nepal for its socio-economic development and its unflinching constant support to our independence and sovereignty.We thankfully acknowledge the support extended,especiallyat the time of crisis that Nepal has faced time and again. Our relations have throughout been close and intimate characterized by mutual understanding, trust and respect. We have rejoiced at the tremendous progress that China has made during itslong march of development since the establishment of the Republic in 1949. We have noted with appreciation the growth of China as the second largest world economic power in our immediate vicinity, playing an effective role in shaping the regional as well as international political coursesand economic order. More satisfied we are with China’s emphasis on the path of peaceful and harmonious development that it has followed and its cooperative relationship with the countries in Asia, particularly its neighbors. We wish China’s continuous progress and prosperity and success in achieving its dream of rejuvenating its society under able leadership of President Xi Jinping, at the core.
Nepal, situated as it is between two rising economic powers, it is but natural for it to aspire for benefiting from their growth and prosperity. Nepal is very much hopeful that both its neighbors will cooperate and help Nepal in its programmes of desired economic development.
(Excerpts of the address delivered by Bhattarai, acting chairman of the China Study Centre, at a seminar on OBOR initiative organised by the Centre in Kathmandu recently.)
OBOR: Vision of connectivity of a wider scale
By Sundar Nath Bhattarai