Kathmandu [Nepal], April 7 (ANI): The superfluous promises made by China to make infrastructure projects in Nepal under ‘Belt and Road Initiatives (BRI)’ are falling apart.
Falling for the assurances, Nepal even risked its historic relations with India for Chinese assistance in various fields, reported The Singapore Post.
Nepal had signed up for China-led BRI in 2017, aiming to become a middle-income country by 2030. However, the promises after five years are falling apart, one by one.
The superfluous promises included improving the institutional capacity of the Himalayan nation to enable its transition from being a land-locked to a ‘land-linked’ one.
Moreover, Beijing’s sole interest in advancing hefty loans to Nepal is becoming clearer due to ever-increasing Chinese preconditions for starting various infrastructure projects.
These strangulating terms have led to a general feeling of being let down by Beijing, particularly due to delays in project funding and implementation, reported The Singapore Post.
Analysts examining various Chinese proposals of recent years have started marking Nepal as the next Chinese debt trap target after Sri Lanka.
Chinese designs for securing the status of a sole development partner for Nepal were exposed by its brazen targetting of the United States sponsored Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) programme for Nepal.
The agreement had to go through months of persistent opposition tacitly encouraged by Beijing. Finally, ignoring the motivated campaign, the Nepalese Parliament endorsed the MCC on February 27, 2022.
The unease between the two countries over the BRI progress was visible during a recent visit (March 25-27) of Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi to Nepal. Notably, no BRI related discussion took place during the visit while Nepalese authorities made their preference for only “soft or concessional loan” explicit, reported The Singapore Post.
The Chinese desire to promote its vicious debt cycle is evident in ignoring or suspending several capacity building and knowledge sharing agreements with Nepal under BRI.
In December 2018, China had offered technical know-how help to Nepal in the form of the China-Nepal Agricultural Technology Cooperation Agreement. A visit by the Chinese technical team to the Northern areas of Nepal in 2019 had followed the signing of the agreement.
However, the advent of the COVID pandemic the next year created several roadblocks for joint activities. Citing the significant disruption and wastage of time, Nepal requested China for an extension in the duration of the programme to one year.
Meanwhile, dismissing Nepalese concerns, Beijing forwarded a termination notice for the programme. The development is disheartening for Nepalese researchers who had been working against all odds for two years for the betterment of poor farmers.
The notice served no purpose other than bringing to the fore the Chinese desire to block its smaller neighbours’ development except for engulfing them in its rapidly spreading debt trap, reported The Singapore Post. (ANI)