India's efforts to remain influential to its northern neighbour Nepal have received a setback after Nepal confirmed that in a pre-feasibility report, the railway link with China was deemed feasible. Currently, India is the only country through which Nepal carries out trade with other countries.
"Pre-feasibility studies for the trans-Himalayan railway have shown that it is feasible. Now we will do a feasibility report and then work towards implementing it," Nepal Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali said on Friday while briefing media about "Sambaad Sagarmatha".
Sagarmatha Sambaad is a multi-stakeholder dialogue forum committed to deliberate on the most prominent issues of global, regional and national significance.
As per the consensus reached between the two nations, China will carry out all the technical works such as aerial mapping, surveying, and geological testing while Nepal will conduct Environmental Impact Assessments and prepare resettlement plans for the people to be affected by the proposed railway project.
The years-long dream of Nepal to cease being a landlocked nation witnessed a major drive last year, when China officially included the Nepal-China Trans-Himalayan Multidimensional Connectivity Network in its joint communiqué at the second Belt and Road Forum in Beijing.
Later, in October, during his historic visit to Nepal, Chinese President Xi Jinping signed a preliminary contract related to the highly ambitious project. As per the plan, China will lay a cross border railway network from Lhasa in Tibet to Rasuwa in Nepal.
The network will further connect to the country's capital city, Kathmandu. As per the plan, Lumbini, just 29 km from the Indian border, will also be the part of this connectivity project.
While trying to maintain equidistance between the two Asian giants- India and China- Nepal strives to gain prosperity through connectivity, which has remained a significant impediment before the government for decades.