Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (L) shakes hands with Nepalese Prime Minister Babu Ram Bhattarai at the Tribhuvan International Airport in Katmandu, Saturday, January 14, 2012. (Photo/AP/Binod Joshi)
DHARAMSHALA, January 16: China has reportedly responded positively to plans of extending its railway line right across the Himalayas, from Tibet’ capital city of Lhasa to the Nepalese capital city of Kathmandu.
According to media reports, the rail link could be further extended to Lord Buddha's birthplace Lumbini, located close to the Indo-Nepal border.
In reports carried by PTI
, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, during a meeting with his Nepalese counterpart Baburam Bhattarai on Saturday, said Beijing would consider Nepal's request for a railway line from Tibet as a "serious matter".
Nepalese Deputy Premier Narayan Kaji Shrestha said Wen was requested to extend the Chinese rail network up to Kathmandu and also build a domestic railway line within Nepal to connect Lumbini.
"As China has already formulated a plan to extend its railway line up to China-Nepal border, there is the possibility of extending it within the Nepalese land as per the request made by the Nepal government and we will consider this as a serious matter," Wen was quoted as saying by Shrestha.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai on Sunday tried to justify his government’s decision to keep the visit of Premier Wen under wraps until the very last minute, saying that the measure was taken to fend off possible protests from Tibetan refugees.
“The visit was not announced, [fearing] as the Tibetan activities have intensified recently. This should not be taken otherwise,” the prime minister was quoted as saying by Nepali news portal Republica
Speaking at his official residence Prime Minister Bhattarai also disclosed that the Chinese side had “suggested” against announcing Wen´s visit in advance.
Apparently, only “two ministers and four government secretaries” were kept in the loop of Wen’s visit. Information on the visit itself was given to the Nepali government only on Thursday morning, some 48 hours before Wen’s actual arrival.
Wen made a short stopover in Nepal on Saturday en route to a six-day visit to three Gulf nations. The premier was scheduled to visit Nepal on December 20 last year on a three-day visit but “unilaterally” postponed his much anticipated visit sine die at the eleventh hour.