Kathmandu: On the first day of his two-day state visit -- the first by a Chinese leader in 23 years . Chinese President Xi Jinping signed two separate deals for a rail link to Tibet and a tunnel. By increasing its connectivity with Beijing, Nepal hopes to end Indian dominance over its trade routes.
The 70-km (42-mile) rail link will connect Gyiron in Tibet with Kathmandu, making it one of the most ambitious infrastructure projects in the country, reports Reuters.
The rail project will be part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative; it bears Xi’s stamp who is attempting to recreate the old Silk Road joining China with Asia and Europe.
At the same time, there is also provisioning for a 28-km (17 mile) road tunnel, which will more than halve the distance from Kathmandu to the Chinese border, saving on time and cost.
Nepal is keen on these projects ever since ease a blockade along its border with India resulted in several months of acute shortage of fuel and medicine in 2015 and 2016.
“These facilities will give us alternative trade routes when we face border blockades, a spokesperson told the wire agency. India accounts for nearly two thirds of Nepal’s trade and is the sole supplier of fuel.
“We will help Nepal realize its dream of becoming a land-linked country from a land-locked one,” Xi said at a dinner on Saturday after he arrived from India.