By Tenzin Zompa
Dharamshala, June 22: China and Nepal in more than 10 cooperative documents signed on Thursday agreed on building a cross-border railway network to connect the western region of Tibet with Nepal’s capital Kathmandu.
Premier Li Keqiang and Nepal prime mister Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli who is currently on a six-day visit to China signed the pact for this project. The meeting for the agreement was arranged at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.
According the report of the South China Morning Post, on Wednesday the two sides signed eight agreements worth USD 2.4 billion, ranging from hydroelectric to water resources projects, cement factories and fruit production.
“The new line will connect the Gyring trading port in the city of Shigatse, Tibet, with Nepal’s capital Kathmandu”, said China’s Vice-foreign minister Kong Xuanyou at a session after the two leaders’ meeting.
The two countries signed more than 10 agreements involving technology, transportation, infrastructure and political cooperation, according to a notice posted on China`s official government website on Thursday.
Nepal, a tiny Himalayan nation wedged between occupied Tibet and India was once a sanctuary for Tibetan refugees. Until the late eighties, the Nepalese government issued RC (Registration certificate) to Tibetans who came from Tibet as well as their children. A “gentlemen’s agreement” to continue allowing Tibetan refugees to cross over into India was struck between the government of Nepal and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in 1989 following the Kathmandu government refusal to give refugee status to Tibetans.
However, that agreement has since been pushed aside after Nepal started receiving a lucrative patronage from China. The influx of Tibetan refugees has been severely restricted with the once average of 2000 immigrants a year dropping to a lowly 200 since 2008 Uprising in Tibet.
The Nepalese government’s treatment of the Tibetan refugees has taken a turn for the worse in the last few years with China pumping in cheap interest loans and relaxed FDR (Foreign Direct Investment) schemes in exchange for its will to be imposed.