Thursday, 25 April, 2024

Insightful prescription, say experts


By Ritu Raj Subedi

Kathmandu, Oct. 12: Chinese President Xi Jinping’s article ‘Toward Greater Progress of China-Nepal Friendship across the Himalayas’ published in this daily on the eve of his visit to the Himalayan nation has drawn enthusiastic response from a cross-section of Nepali people.
Xi’s opinion piece contains ‘pragmatic outlook’ and ‘insightful prescription’ to carry forward Nepal-China relations in a new era that the two neighbours have entered. It amply indicates ‘multi-scale cooperation and connectivity beyond classical geopolitics of state-to-state relations.’
“President Xi’s visit to Nepal offers a wonderful opportunity, as per his own message, to ‘adopt a strategic and long-term perspective’ to boost Nepal-China relations,” says Dr Sridhar Khatri, an expert in international relations.
Dr Khatri noted that the long-term strategic policy between the two countries must be based on trust and empathy that had always been the foundation of their relations.
The relations between the two nations are guided by Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence and Nepal is active to take benefits from mesmerising development of the second largest economy. In 2017, it joined Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a signature global development drive of President Xi.
While calling China and Nepal as good brothers, Xi has stressed deepening strategic communication, broadening practical and security cooperation and expanding people-to-people exchanges to take bilateral bonhomie across the Himalayas to a new height. He has envisioned drawing a strategic blueprint to enhance comprehensive partnership between the two nations.
Prime Minister’s foreign affairs advisor Dr Rajan Bhattarai said Xi had clearly spelt out that bilateral relations were guided by mutual trust and benefit. “His visit will help Nepal-China relations leapfrog. As the two nations implement the past deals, this will have far-reaching impacts on bilateral bonhomie.”
Political scientist Dev Raj Dahal termed Xi’s visit as a ‘historical milestone’ and added that the implementation of BRI, infrastructure, energy and trade and transit projects would upscale bilateral relations, enabling Nepal to play suitable regional and global roles.
“In his write-up, the Chinese President has underlined two vital factors of mutual interest - more exchange and experience sharing on governance and development to deliver greater benefits to the two peoples, and strengthening Nepali state’s capacity to carry on law enforcement and broader defence contacts to fight international crimes more effectively,” said Dahal.
Senior journalist Yuba Raj Ghimire stated that Xi had presented a very insightful prescription about how Nepal-China relationship could be taken forward for mutual benefit.
Ghimire said: “Xi has made it clear that the forward-looking bilateral relations need to take into account their historical background and past initiatives positively. China is fully working in support of Nepal's sovereignty and collaborating with the state, without ever promoting anti-state activities. That makes President Xi's prescription more credible and trustworthy.”
Xi’s article offers deep insight into the bilateral economic cooperation between the two neighbours.
Former president of Confederation of Nepali Industrialists Hari Bhakta Sharma said that it reflected China’s goodwill towards the Nepali people. “We have to focus on taking benefits from China’s expertise in industry, infrastructure and technology to create jobs and reduce trade deficit. But connectivity is a prerequisite to this end.”
Dr Khatri viewed that China’s contribution to Nepal’s development efforts in the coming years would no doubt be even more significant with the realisation of the BRI.
He suggested Nepal-China bilateral ties should be grounded on respect for each other’s needs and sensitivities. “In order to help sustain a stable and prosperous Nepal, Chinese policies should continue to support the growth of a vibrant democratic order while considering the delicate geopolitical realities under which the country had always steered throughout its history.”
Nepal now has a strong government able to make independent decisions in improving its relations with the mighty neighbour. But Dahal insisted that Nepali leaders should strengthen public institutions and administration and make them capable to execute statecraft on the historical experience of national self-determination, sovereignty, identity and image to benefit from China’s prosperity.  
Former ambassador Dr Dinesh Bhattarai said both the nations should pay attention to their core interests. “Nepal should cautiously manage the geopolitical conditions and power balances while promoting its relations with China.”

(With inputs from GC journalists Narad Gautam and C.K. Khanal)

CCTV interview of media workers on the signed article