Nepal eyes rail­way deal with China

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times City -

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.

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