Thursday, May 26, 2016

By Express News Service   25th May 2016 

President Pranab Mukherjee being received by China’s Foreign Affairs Vice-Minister in China on Tuesday| PTI


NEW DELHI: Having already expanded its influence in Nepal with road and rail links through Tibet, China is looking to stretch its rail network to Bihar. The move is a bid to improve connectivity with India and South Asia, as reported by state-run Chinese media on Tuesday.

Reports suggest that a cross-border railway link to the Rasuwagadhi area in Nepal has already been discussed by the two countries, with the rail expected to reach the Nepal border by 2020. This rail line will allow China to have quick access to India as Birgunj, which borders Bihar is only 240 km away from Rasuwagadhi, the article said. For Bihar, trade with China through the rail link will be easier along the route than through Kolkata, saving time, cost and distance, it said.

“The railroad connection to China not only is important for Nepal and Nepalese people’s future development, but also has the capacity to build connectivity with the whole of South Asia. The government of Nepal has the chance to make history,” the article said. Bihar’s Rasuwagadhi border point is a reasonable distance from Kathmandu but the district is a very popular site for tourists, thanks to its pilgrimage routes. As it is not very densely populated, empty land is available.

Meanwhile, President Pranab Mukherjee reached Guangzhou in China on a four-day visit that will see significant political and economic pushes to bilateral ties while irritants like Beijing’s opposition to India’s NSG membership and the blocking of a UN bid to blacklist JeM chief Masood Azhar will also be discussed.

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