By Wu Xinru, Meng xiangjun
(ECNS) -- Cooperation between Nepal and China has an important contribution to the development of Nepal and through the Belt and Road Initiative(BRI), both countries can achieve cooperative development, said Shankar Pokhrel, general secretary of the Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist-Leninist), in an exclusive interview with China News Network.
Reviewing the decade-long development of the BRI, Pokhrel said the initiative will not only help Nepal but also the overall South Asia to reap their benefits. "Nepal is working hard to build infrastructure and hopes to strengthen connectivity with China," he added.
BRI an achievement of humankind
In 2013, China proposed the Belt and Road Initiative, building a platform for cooperation, exchange, and mutual learning. In Pokhrel's view, the Initiative not only serves as an essential contribution to the modernization of China, the development of this concept will also bring benefits to the world.
"We understand that, over time the way BRI projects have been moving forward has had an important contribution to the world. Our hope is that this initiative will not only help Nepal but also the overall South Asia to reap their benefits," he said.
Also, Pokhrel suggests that "We believe that this important initiative itself is an achievement of humankind. With the aim of bringing nations together, we should take different and effective measures."
Pokhrel has been paying close attention to China's growth in all aspects and hopes that China can play a leading role in Asia's unity, development, and peace. " China is changing every year. There have been massive changes, especially due to the BRI and the trade with Europe which has strengthened the country's growth. This has brought change to the Chinese people's lives." he shared his observation.
Pokhara International Airport: Well-planned highlight of inter-connectivity
The Nepali government has signed agreements to be part of this initiative. But in fact, Pokhara International Airport was already a project in discussion between China and Nepal.
Pokhara is the second-largest city in Nepal and a world-renowned tourist destination. As the largest Chinese-aid project in Nepal, the Pokhara International Airport is the third international airport in Nepal and the most modern airport in the country. It plays a crucial role in the development of the local tourism industry and poverty reduction efforts. Listed in Nepal's National Pride Projects, the airport began official operations on January 1st, 2023.
"As an important project under the BRI, we also support the railway that will stretch from Kerung to Kathmandu and Lumbini," he noted.
In the interview, he stated that the Nepalese government supports the projects like Pokhara International Airport and Gautam Buddha International Airport in terms of increasing connectivity with China. Moreover, we have been putting effort into better managing road infrastructure. We have started creating seven "corridors" to connect Nepal with India in which Nepal can be used as a link to help South Asia connect with China.
Nepal-China relations: to advance steadily in the right direction
"Asia is also very close and connectivity is essential and inevitable," noted Pokhara, while he also reviewed the long history of friendly bilateral relations.
Pokhrel introduced that in the Tang Dynasty(618–907), Princess Bhrikuti Devi of the Licchavi kingdom of Nepal got married with Songtsen Gampo, founder of the Tupo Kingdom, promoting the spread of Buddhist teachings in Nepal.
Besides, during the Yuan Dynasty(1271 to 1368), Araniko, a Nepalese architect, presided over the construction of the White Stupa of the Miaoying Temple, currently located in the Xicheng district of Beijing. As the only complete relic of Yuan Dynasty relics preserved in the capital city of Yuan, the building also bears witness to the history of exchanges and mutual learning between the two countries.
"We believe that China and Nepal relations should be looked at from different dimensions. State-to-state relation is crucial and so is people-to-people relation. Nepal is also linked to China through cultural exchanges which also makes the relations between two countries important," said Pokhrel.
During this period, China won the tough battle against poverty and carried out the plan of integrated development of coastal areas and the land-locked areas. In Pokhrel's eyes, the effort of Chinese government to connect Chongqing and Chengdu to build an important economic center will help the economic development of the western region of China and naturally, Nepal will also benefit from this development in the future.
"We are hoping to cooperate in three sectors mainly in terms of agricultural development, tourism development and industrial development sector. We should cooperate in these sectors to achieve cooperative development with the BRI," suggested Pokhrel.