Priminister’s visit to China: An historic opportunity for Nepal
Right Honorable Priminister, KP Sharma Oli
First of all, let me congratulate you on your recently concluded state visit to India in a politically turbulent and difficult situation. The state honor, respect and the political attention you received in India was, indeed, very spectacular and was uniquely different from any Nepali priminister’s visit to India in the past. Everybody’s eyes were set on you during this visit carefully watching whether you would enter into a secret deal with India undermining Nepal’s national interest for political gain as it happened in the past with other priminsterial visit to India. Nepali people feel proud of you for the stand you took and maintained which is reflected in the political dialogue with your Indian counterpart during this visit.
Now you are heading to China on a state visit. We all know China is a very dependable neighbor of Nepal. China had never tried to interfere into the internal affairs of Nepal and had always provided generous developmental assistance to Nepal without any political string attached. As a landlocked country (rather India locked) and in the light of the lessons learned from India’s blockade and Nepal’s total dependence on India, your state visit to China has been deemed as politically the most significant event that can have a far reaching political and economic repercussion for Nepal and Nepali people in the modern days of economic globalization. This is, indeed, a historic opportunity for you, Nepal and Nepali people to strike a long term trade and transit treaty with China. A transit and trade treaty with China in the light of China’s planned extension of its railway network to the Nepal border within a few years will have a historic significance which will open a new vista for Nepal’s economic development. History has provided you this unique opportunity to demonstrate how patriotic and visionary you are and, once again, everybody’s eyes are set on you. Let me just pinpoint few points for your consideration during your state visit to China:
Press has repeatedly stated that China is extending its railway network from Singhatse to Kerung (border town of Nuakot district) in the next five years. If that is the case, then why Nepal should not take advantage of this development
1.Nepal must and should request China to extend its railway to Kathmandu or Pokhara and enter into the trade and transit treaty with China to materialize this possibility.
2.Keeping the possible extension of China’s railway line to Kerung in perspective, Nepal should seek China’s assistance to build dry-port-shipment infrastructure in the border town of Nuwakot district
3.Nepal should encourage China to invest in the hydro-electricity development project in Nepal.
4.It is stated that during your visit, Nepal will sign a trade treaty with China for 30 % of fuels and gasoline needs of Nepal. Why to limit to only 30 % ? The prudential approach would be, minimum 30 % and up to 60 or even 70 %. Why not to be bold enough to go up to 60 %. ?
History gives opportunity to certain individuals at certain time. You are that priminister of Nepal at this time. The time is the most important thing and this is the right time to do this. A visionary leader is the one who can navigate the future with a dream for his people and his country. Perhaps, the history has given you this opportunity and you will be remembered for what you can do for your people and the country today. You have repeatedly said that you do not have much time left. Do not miss this historic opportunity. I wish you all the best in your endeavor for the good you do for Nepal.
Gopi Upreti, Fairfax, Virginia, USA