For Immediate Dispatch
The first edition of One Belt One Road Nepal Conference 2017 commenced here in Kathmandu on Thursday. The program attended by Honorable Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr Prakash Sharan Mahat in capacity of Chief Guest came to an end with a 10-points Kathmandu declaration.
Prof Li Tao, Executive Director of South Asia Studies at Sichuan University, Zhang Shubin, Deputy Director of Nepal Study Center (NSC) at Hebei University of Economics & Business (HUEB) and Prof Di Fangyao, executive director — Institute of South Asian Studies at Xizang Minzu University had presented a key note speech during the program, organized by BP Koirala School of Public Policy.
One Belt One Road (OBOR), also known as Belt and Road initiative is a strategy and framework proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping after taking helm of Chinese leadership in 2013. The strategy focuses on connectivity and cooperation of China with the Eurasian region. Post 2013, OBOR has become a crucial factor in determining China’s foreign policy goals. China has been promoting it as an economic tool for promoting its external goals and has been reaching out to several countries. China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) with an investment of USD 46 billion is one of the major examples replicating China’s vision with OBOR strategy.
Like the CPEC, China has also been floating the idea of China Nepal Economic Corridor that eventually can be converted into a corridor turning the concept of China-Nepal-India trilateral cooperation into a reality.
Views shared by prominent speakers:
- Hon Dr Prakash Sharan Mahat, Minister for Foreign Affairs
The government of Nepal stands by and abides by the agreements forged by previous government with China. We are committed to strategic cooperation and enhancement of connectivity. However, China needs to understand that Nepal has a geopolitical complexity. Nepal is committed to One China Policy. We will not allow any activity against the China in our land. Not just China, we will not allow activities against India too. Nepal – India – China should come together for larger and win-win cooperation.
- Li Tao, Executive Director of South Asia Studies at Sichuan University
A strong people to people connection is developing and that is helping Nepal China relationship foster. Nepal is a gateway for China to enter the South Asia and hence, we cannot undermine the role of Nepal in fulfilling the core motive of One Belt One Road initiative. OBOR goal is to connect governments, infrastructure and people.
- Rajesh Kaji Shrestha, President, Nepal Chamber of Commerce
While we talk about enhancing cooperation in line with One Belt One Road framework, we are not being able to establish institutions that can bridge the gap between the two neighbors. For enhancing trade, connectivity and business, there is a need of establishing a bank with Chinese joint venture in Nepal. This is a prerequisite for taking Nepal – China relationship to greater heights.
- Dr Shambhu Ram Shimkhada, former ambassador to the United Nations
We maintain different relationship with China and India. These are two different civilizations. For the development of these two civilizations, Nepal’s development and stability is essential.
- Prem Raj Joshi, Chairman, BP Koirala School of Public Policy
From what we have understood and agreed so far, OBOR is a framework for socioeconomic development. Nepal should not be missing it out. Policy makers, bureaucrats and politicians alike are not fully aware about the OBOR framework. It is now up to the discourses as these to responsibly aware stakeholders about OBOR.
- Zhang Shubin, Deputy Director of Nepal Study Center (NSC) at Hebei University of Economics & Business (HUEB)
Nepal lacks favorable investment climate. A number of Chinese companies have been willing to come here, but there isn’t certainty. Nepal should be open and vocal about its development strategy. President Xi Jinping is willing to come to Nepal. But there isn’t any substantial base for his visit.