NEW DELHI :
Chinese President Xi Jinping on Sunday pledged to help Nepal realise its dream of becoming a “land-linked" country, announcing support for a large number of connectivity projects between the two countries as Nepal looks to maintain “strategic autonomy" from southern neighbour India.
The two countries on Sunday signed a preliminary pact on a long-awaited rail link connecting the Tibetan capital Lhasa to Nepal’s capital Kathmandu as well as 19 other agreements, during Xi’s visit, according to a Reuters news report from Kathmandu.
Xi is the first Chinese president to visit Nepal in more than two decades. He said a feasibility study of the trans-Himalayan railway link would begin soon and a more reliable facility with easier connectivity between the two countries would be established, a PTI report from Kathmandu said.
Xi arrived in Kathmandu on Saturday. He said China will provide assistance to the tune of 56 billion (Nepalese) rupees over the next two years to help Nepal’s development programmes. China will also support the construction of a tunnel road through the Himalayas connecting Kathmandu to Kerung, a town near the Chinese border, Xi said. “We want to support Nepal in realising its dream to become a land-linked country from the landlocked country," he was quoted as saying by PTI.
Xi also promised help to upgrade the Arniko Highway linking Kathmandu with Tatopani transit point.