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Nepal's Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang speak during a signing ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China June 21, 2018. Greg Baker/Pool via REUTERS

Where is protocol on Transit with China?

By Our Reporter
Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli had claimed that during his visit to China, the protocol on transit and transportation will be signed. He returned empty handed. Upon his arrival at the Tribhuvan International Airport, Oli informed that due to the lack of necessary homework, the protocol was not signed and by mid July the protocol will be signed.
Nepal had sent a high-level delegation led by Chandra Kumar Ghimire, secretary at the Industry, Commerce and Supplies to Beijing with the authority to sign on the protocol. That team also returned empty-handed.
Now, the government sources are claiming that before end of the month August, the protocol will be signed. In the meantime, the government is expecting a high-level Chinese delegation to Kathmandu to decide on the protocol. But when the Chinese delegation is arriving Kathmandu, the government is unaware.
The government authorities are trying to give the message that the Chinese side seems reluctant in signing on the protocol, however, a section of business observers here speculate that due to lack of seriousness from the Nepali side, signing on protocol has been delayed. The Nepali side has not done necessary homework, hence, it has been delayed, the business observers say. They further suspect that PM Oli might have made some commitment during the one-on-one talks with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi for not signing on the protocol on transit and transportation with China. At that cost, as a reward, Indians have assured allowing Nepali ships using Indian inland waterways, they assume.
Also, Indians might have assured to construct Raxaul-Kathmandu railway line at the cost of avoiding construction of Kerung-Kathmandu railway line under the Chinese investment. During Oli’s stay in Beijing, there was no breakthrough on construction of the railway line. What will be the investment modality on construction of the Kerung-Kathmandu railway line, it has not been made clear. Upon his return from Beijing, at TIA, Oli escaped the question on investment modality saying. “Those who have money they will invest!”
Political observers suspect on PM Oli’s foreign policy since he returned from Delhi. They say that the present Oli’s foreign policy seems pleasing Delhi and just keeping engaged Beijing.
Nepal’s commitment on OBOR, China’s high priority initiative, has also become suspicious as the Nepali side has not done necessary homework on which project to be endorsed under the OBOR initiative.
The ministers are pronouncing less about OBOR in the recent days. They are talking about construction of trans-border transmission lines and distributing dreams about exporting electricity to China. The fact is that China doesn’t need Nepal’s electricity as there is huge stock of hydropower in Tibet autonomous region of China.
Also, a section of so-called academicians have been continuously pleading that Nepal will fall into a debt-trap if she will construct railway line from the Chinese investment. This is the conspiracy to keep Nepal India locked forever, say patriotic intellectuals in the country.

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