Nepal and China are poised to sign the implementation plan of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in the near future, announced Deputy Prime Minister Narayan Kaji Shrestha on Saturday, nearly seven years after both nations initially agreed to undertake ambitious Beijing-backed infrastructure projects in Nepal.
Addressing an event as part of the Silk Road Youth Forum and South Asian Cooperation Conference, Shrestha, who also serves as the Minister for Home Affairs, emphasized that signing the BRI implementation plan would pave the way for the actual execution of the projects. Though he did not specify a date for the signing, his statement coincided with the visit of Sun Haiyan, a senior leader of China's ruling Communist Party, who was engaging with Nepal's top leaders.
The BRI, a cornerstone of Chinese President Xi Jinping's agenda, aims to boost connectivity and economic cooperation. Shrestha highlighted that this initiative provides new avenues for collaboration between Nepal and China, particularly in infrastructure development, such as roads, bridges, and energy projects. Despite signing a Memorandum of Understanding on the BRI in 2017, no project under the initiative has been implemented or negotiated so far.
Shrestha acknowledged China's pivotal role in propelling Nepal towards economic growth and stability through support in building critical infrastructure. The signing of the BRI implementation plan has been on the agenda since early 2020, but differences between the two nations, particularly regarding investment modalities, have hindered reaching an agreement, as reported by The Kathmandu Post.
During an interaction program in Nepal, Sun Haiyan urged stakeholders in both nations not to be swayed by attempts from other countries to disrupt Sino-Nepal relations. He emphasized the enduring impact on the people of Nepal and China amidst changing geopolitical dynamics. Shashanka Koirala, a senior leader of the ruling Nepali Congress, expressed the party's willingness to collaborate with China for Nepal's development, expressing gratitude for China's assistance during the 2015 earthquake and the coronavirus pandemic. The signing of the BRI implementation plan remains pivotal for negotiating and implementing projects under this ambitious initiative.
(With Agency Inputs)