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Neighbourhood first

10 5 0

After his much hyped visit to India, where the Chinese President Xi Jinping failed to impress most, Xi landed in Nepal bearing gifts and sweet talk. And he certainly managed to impress most. Xi's visit was the first by a Chinese leader to the Himalayan country in 23 years.

It resulted in a pledge of around $500 million in economic aid for Nepal and the signing of 20 agreements across a range of areas from health and agriculture to tourism and infrastructure. While Xi promised to upgrade the Arniko Highway linking Kathmandu with Tatopani transit point, the highlight was the pact to conduct a feasibility study for an ambitious Chinese-built railway through the Himalayas.

Xi Jinping's visit to Nepal was the first by a Chinese leader to the Himalayan country in 23 years.(Photo: Reuters)

With the proposed cross-border railway spanning 70 kilometres, connecting Kerang in Tibet with Nepal's capital city of Kathmandu, the Chinese President could underscore his intent to "help Nepal realise its dream of becoming a land-linked country from landlocked one".

Good neighbours

Nepal has already signed onto Beijing's Belt and Road Initiative and sees enhancing its connectivity options as key to reducing its dependence on India. China has a critical role in this. Not surprising, therefore, that Xi was euphoric in expressing his sentiments.

"China and Nepal are bound by........

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