India-China rail link through Nepal suggested

Written by: Nairita Das
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New Delhi, Dec 15 (ANI): Stating that Nepal looks upon both India and China as new opportunities for development, Nepal's Former Foreign Minister Dr. Prakash Chandra Lohani on Wednesday proposed a trans Himalayan rail link, connecting the two Asian giants through the Himalayan Republic.

Dr. Lohani, the co-chairman and parliamentary department head of Rashtriya Janashakti Party (RJP), said developing this new connectivity as a rail link would immensely help all the three nations, especially India and China, world's top emerging economies, whose bilateral trade is increasing rapidly.The notion of regional connectivity and Nepal as the link is a big challenge," said Dr. Lohani, while making a presentation on "Nepal's evolving relations with India and China" at Observer Research Foundation, a public policy think tank headquartered at New Delhi.

Pointing out that Nepal will remain sensitive to the "minimum national interests" of both China and India, Dr. Lohani also called for cooperation between these countries to utilize the Himalayan water resources in the best possible way.

"Water is going to be a big issue in the region. With India growing so fast, it requires lots of water for its needs," Dr. Lohani pointed out, stressing that already Nepal is providing huge water resources.

Dr. Lohani said India and China, in consultation with the international community, should make it clear to parties in Nepal that leading the State through constitutional means is the only acceptable route to power and not street revolution to "capture the state" as advocated by the Maoists.

"A democratic and strong Nepali state - ideologically democratic, economically liberal and linked with the rising giants in our neighbourhood is in the best national interest of India, in all three areas - political, economic and security," he argued.

Dr. Lohani further said the big neighbours should also resist the temptation to manipulate or micro-manage Nepali politics, which he described as the viceroy syndrome.

Saying that the perception of nationality and nationhood is emerging in a strong way in Nepal, he said Nepali people are not anti-Indian but only pro-Nepal.

"Raising issues with India on trade, water resources, and even aspects of security is not being anti-India. It is just trying to see it from the interest of Nepal and seeking on a common space that is acceptable to both," Dr. Lohani contended.

"Being a pro Nepali is not against India's national interest on all three areas - political, economic and security," he said.

Dr. Lohani also stressed that there is a need for candid communication and no name-calling, understanding each other's objectives and constraints.Development of trust based on dealings that are seen as being just and fair" is the need of the hour, he said.

Former Ambassadors to Nepal, experts and academics took part in the discussion, which was chaired by M. Rasgotra, President of ORF Centre for International Relations and a former Foreign Secretary. (ANI)

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