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.

“After signing the agreements, China would go slow on the projects. It will watch India’s reactions before implementing them. China does not want to harm its own relationship with India, which is a much bigger market,” Pramod Jaiswal, senior research officer at the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies in New Delhi told TNN.
China has agreed to resolve issues that have blocked the flow of financial assistance to the proposed Pokhara Regional International Airport.
Chinese and Nepali officials have discussed a range of projects in which Kathmandu needs assistance. Beijing has indicated it is ready to speed up the ongoing feasibility studes on projects such as maintenance of Araniko Highway, Syaphrubesi-Rasuwagadhi Highway and building a bridge over Karnali River at Hilsa in Nepal.
Kathmandu has also sought Chinese assistance for the preparation of Detailed Project Report (DPR) and construction of a dedicated two lanes Kimathanka-Khandbari-Dhankuta Road and upgrade Kathmandu Ring Road 2nd Phase.
[Source:-The Times Of India]