Kathmandu, May 19, 2016:Â A two-day conference on the key trends in China-Nepal-India relations and new development strategy for Nepal has opened in the capital today.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Physical Infrastructure Transport Management, Bijaya Kumar Gachchhadar, inaugurated the conference organised by South Asian Institute of Management, the Institute for Integrated Development Studies and Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
In his inaugural statement, DPM Gachhadar said that in consideration of the recent developments in terms of China announcement in 2013 to revive the Land-based Northern Silk Road and the Great Maritime Highway under the ‘One Belt, One Road’ and India’s recent policy of ‘neighbours first’ and ‘look east and act east’ with both countries emphasising on improved connectivity within Asia and the rest of the world, it was high time for Nepal to review its past, understand the present and chart a suitable strategic path for its development.
Nepal lies between two fast growing nations of the world – India and China and this in itself provides a great opportunity for Nepal, he said.
“China’s shift in its economic policy and gradual tilt towards private sector, its entry into WT, expansion of manufacturing base and activities, increasing role in the global trade have made China a very attractive market,” DPM Gachchhadar, said, referring to the economic opportunities that could be capitalized by Nepal for its economic development..
Stating that China’s recent attempts to revive Land-based Northern Silk Road and the Great Maritime Highway under the ‘One Belt, One Road’, announced in 2013 are expected to enhance connectivity of Asian nations with those of Europe, he said a country like Nepal facing the problem of high trading costs could benefit from this improved connectivity withinm asia and also globally.
“At the same time, India has always been a trading partner of Nepal from the time immemorial. Nepal’s binding with India culturally, socially, religiously and economically has always been a solid basis for relations which lies above petty squabbling between the two nations noe and then. India’s recent policy of neighbour first and ‘look east and act east’ is expected to add a new dimension to the relations between Nepal and India,” he said.
Noting that the earthquake of April and the unpleasant situation created through disruption of supply of essential goods last year made the lives of people difficult and hard, he said despite the grave problems facing the nation, people showed their patience and unity, which is highly appreciable. “Nepal is currently passing through a time which is tumultuous as well as challenging. The people showed that they are eager to solve the problems through mutual understanding and cooperation, despite of some discrepancies and misunderstandings here and there,” he added.
Chairman of the South Asian Institute of Management and former Foreign Minister Dr Prakash Chandra Lohani said both China and India are Nepal’s well-wishers but Nepal has much connection and interaction with India due to the open border and the cultural and religious ties.
He stressed that Nepal needed to collaborate both with India and China for the proper development of its vast water resources.
SAIM Dean Prof Dr Bijaya KC, IIDS executive director Dr Bishnu Dutta Panta and professor of the Nanyang Technological University Ming Jiyang emphasised on the need of focusing the Nepal’s strategic location between India and China for the prosperity of the three countries.
Former Indian ambassador to Nepal Rakesh Sood, Nepal expert Mahendra P Lama, professor Jiyang, former Finance Minister Madhukar Shumsher JB Rana, water resource expert Deepak Gyawali, former vice-president of the Asian Development Bank, Bindunath Lohani, former Finance Secretary Rameshwar Khanal, among other experts will present working papers in the conference.