Nepal eyes railway deal with China
Kathmandu: Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Nepal on Saturday on a state visit for talks with Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and both sides are expected to sign a deal expanding a railway link between the Himalayan nation and Tibet, officials said.
Xi, the first Chinese president to visit Nepal in 22 years, arrived here after a two day informal summit with PM Narendra Modi. President Bidya Devi Bhandari greeted Xi on arrival at the airport. Thousands of people stood along the flower festooned route to welcome the Chinese leader as he drove from the airport to the hotel.
Xi will meet Oli on Sunday and the two leaders are expected to witness their officials sign a slew of deals, including the planned extension of the rail link from remote, mountainous Tibet to Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu, officials said. The link will be part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, Xi’s signature project that Nepal joined in 2017.
Nepal, a natural buffer between India and China, sees the rail link with China as an alternative to its dependence on India. New Delhi accounts for nearly two-thirds of Nepal's trade and is the sole source of its fuel supply.