Belt and Road Initiative is also in interest of India, says Foreign Minister Mahara

Krishna Bahadur Mahara

KATHMANDU, Sept. 6 (Xinhua) — Nepalese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Krishna Bahadur Mahara has said that his country is fully committed to pushing forward bilateral cooperation with China under the Belt and Road Initiative.

“We have already signed the Memorandum of Understanding on participating in the Belt and Road Initiative proposed by China,” Mahara told Xinhua in an exclusive interview here just before his embarking on a six-day official visit to China on Wednesday.

The Nepali government has made sincere efforts to push forward bilateral cooperation on multiple areas such as trade, transit, energy, agriculture, connectivity, investment, among others, under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative, he said.

The deputy prime minister said that the Nepalese government had set up two separate mechanisms to identify and accelerate cooperation projects between the two countries under the initiative.

“The two panels composed of senior government officials from inter-governmental agencies are working to identify concrete projects to be proposed to China in the near future.”

Mahara expressed his confidence that cooperation under the initiative is a win-win situation for both Nepal and China. “We are hoping that the practical cooperation under the initiative will help to improve our economy on the long-term,” he added.

The deputy prime minister, who is also a senior leader of the ruling CPN (Maoist Centre), said that political parties in Nepal have always been positive toward strengthening the age-old close and friendly ties with China.

Nepal is willing to earnestly implement the agreements and understandings reached between the leaders of the two countries, he said.

Mahara also told Xinhua in the interview that Nepal is seeking to diversify its trade with China and the rest of the world.

The China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative aims at developing good relations with neighboring countries like Nepal and the rest of the world, and working together to achieve the common goal of economic development and prosperity, Mahara observed.

The deputy prime minister said the initiative will be beneficial to all South Asian countries including India. “I believe that the Belt and Road Initiative is also in the interest of India.”

Lauding China’s support for Nepal in developing infrastructure projects, Mahara said that enhanced connectivity within Nepal and between Nepal and China are the top priorities of the government.

Nepal and China signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on bilateral cooperation under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative on May 12 this year.

The initiative, proposed by China in 2013, aims at building a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient trade routes.

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