By Shristi Kafle
KATHMANDU, Sept. 9 (Xinhua) — Dadhiram Bhandari, Section Officer at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had a pre-assumption that Tibet is a marginalized and a primitive place, that was both barren and underdeveloped.
But when he arrived in Lahsa in 2011, his whole image of Tibet changed within the blink of an eye. Bhandari served in the Nepali consulate there for four years and every four months, he noticed significant changes.
“Development of Tibet is incredible. Despite the topographical harshness and climatic conditions, the Chinese government has made development a reality. We have so many things to learn from them,” Bhandari told Xinhua this week while Tibet was celebrating 50 years of autonomy.
Despite having a similar topography, Tibet has taken a heightened step in development whereas Nepal is still crawling, with political instability and minor issues, the official maintained.
He is of view that Nepal should learn the dedication of the Chinese government and its commitment towards the development of Tibet.
Naindra Prasad Upadhyay, Secretary at the Ministry of Commerce and Supplies who is also a former Consul General for Tibet, told Xinhua, “Tibet has done an impressive job with education and health development. Even in rural areas, we can find every facility. The living standard of people is high.”
The commerce secretary, who stayed in Tibet for four years from 2007 to 2011, regards this time as a wonderful experience full of hospitality and cooperation.
“Socio-economic development is taking place very rapidly in Tibet. The infrastructure development has provided a good opportunity for the people,” Upadhyay added.
Their praise of Tibet comes at a time when festivities were held marking the region’s founding on Tuesday.
Tibet’s economy has grown in a short period, partly due to the development of its tourism. Large numbers of domestic Chinese tourists visit Tibet throughout the year.
The tourism union in Nepal is of view that the Himalayan nation could benefit if only 10 percent of Tibet’s tourists could be brought to Nepal.
Rajesh Kaji Shrestha, President of Nepal’s Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry told with Xinhua, “We need to develop a strong cooperation with Tibet, especially with the nearest city Lhasa for trade and tourism.”
Shrestha, who visited Tibet for the first time 22 years ago, is lured by the economic activities in Tibet.
He added, “Tibetans are curious to do trade with Nepal. We can import anything from there but we need to make an environment for export focusing on specific goods.”
Tourism and ethnic handicrafts are very popular in Tibet, which is similar to those in neighboring Nepal, which draws nearly 800, 000 tourists per year but less than half are Chinese tourists.
Now that the effect of the April 25 earthquake has diminished, Nepal, eager to draw more tourists and boost the country’s economy, seeks to learn different avenues from Tibet to achieve significant growth.