Kathmandu : The Narendra Modi government has lost the advantage in Nepal: Kathmandu on Wednesday signed a MoU with Petro China in order to import all kinds of fuel from China, ending a long-held monopoly of buying fuel from the Indian Oil Corp. The fuel supplies will ease crippling shortages owing to an unofficial trade fuel embargo that India has enforced for the past one month. Owing to the de facto Indian embargo, Nepal has faced serious shortage of fuel, medicines & other essential commodities. The MoU’s content was not immediately known. It is not clear how much fuel Nepal will import from China right away. It is not clear whether this will be a long-term arrangement.
Nepal was buying over $1.3 billion of gasoline from Indian Oil Corp annually. In fact, Nepalese and Indian officials had only two months back signed a petroleum pipeline deal. Nepal has not imported any gasoline from China in the past. It has been buying fuel only from IOC. Besides commercial import of fuel from China, Beijing has also pledged to provide Nepal with 1.3 million liters of gasoline to cope with the escalating fuel crisis. Interestingly, this fuel will be provided as a grant by China. The ongoing fuel shortage has forced the closure of thousands of schools and taken off thousands of public and private vehicles off the roads, hitting Nepal’s economy hard.