BEIJING: China and Nepal have taken joint steps to intensify economic relationship and drastically reduce Nepal’s dependence on India on several issues including supply of petroleum products, railway connectivity and use of Chinese seaports.
Nepali prime minister KP Sharma Oli returned Chinese financial generosity with a statement that might cause some alarm in New Delhi. Nepal will not allow any activity on the Nepali territory that will impair China’s interests, the official Chinese media quoted Oli as saying.
He even tried to match Pakistani leaders in their flattery of China when he said that “Nepal’s relationship with China is higher than the Mount Everest, and superior than the Great Wall.” Pakistani leaders often say the relationship between their country and China is higher than the Himalayas.
Oil joined Chinese officials in signing agreements and releasing a 15-point joint statement about economic cooperation.
China has promised to build oil storage facilities to help Nepal overcome the problem of petroleum shortages. It has also agreed to to carry out feasibility study on oil and gas resources research in the Himalayan kingdom.
Beijing has offered to allow Nepali companies to use its seaports for international trade. At present, 90 percent of Nepali foreign trade flows through India.
Analysts are divided on whether China would make major financial sacrifices by investing in expensive Nepali projects that generated little returns.