BEIJING, Aug. 26, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- A news report from China.org.cn on China-Nepal cross-border railway:
Have you ever imagined traversing through the middle of the mighty Himalayas by train?
This seemingly "crazy" idea may soon become reality. Following recent discussions between the foreign ministers of China and Nepal to speed up feasibility assessments into a cross-border railway, China plans to dispatch surveyors to Nepal as soon as this year.
On top of thorny enough obstacles like challenging topography and high altitudes, linking the two countries by railway requires tunneling through the Himalayas — an unimaginably complex feat of engineering. The bulk of the railway within Nepal will pass along bridges or through tunnels, involving huge costs and formidable construction difficulties. That being said, the project is still well worth pursuing.
As a landlocked country, Nepal has long been impeded by transportation issues. The mountainous terrain hinders travel locally, which in turn has restricted the nation's economic and trade development. Completion of the China-Nepal Railway will connect three major cities in Nepal, making commuting much easier. Never again will Nepalese citizens have to choose between just cars and planes when going abroad. The designated section of this mammoth project within China's borders meanders across Tibet Autonomous Region. In the first half of 2022 alone, the region has received more than 17 million tourists. Assuming only one-tenth of these travelers visit Nepal by train via Tibet, Nepal's tourism industry would still enjoy an enormous boost. Railways will also reshape Nepal's dependence on India for maritime transport and thereby driving its foreign trade and socio-economic growth. Laos, another landlocked nation, repivoted its market structure upon securing a major transportation channel through the China-Laos Railway project. Likewise, the China-Nepal Railway will no doubt fuel Nepal's national development and allow more of its citizens to enjoy the benefits of development.
The China-Nepal Railway has been a long time in the making. However, progress has been slower than expected due to the project's sheer intricacy, compounded by the impact of COVID-19. China and Nepal have been close friends for generations. China has already assisted Nepal in building key infrastructure projects, most notably the Pokhara International Airport and Kathmandu Ring Road. During the pandemic, China was Nepal's largest supplier of medical aid and vaccines, while the zero-tariff treatment for 98% of the taxable items that China granted to Nepal will also come into effect on Sept. 1 this year.
The decision to further the China-Nepal Railway falls aptly under the Belt and Road framework. Projections by the World Bank suggest that if all transportation infrastructure construction under the Belt and Road Initiative is completed, we can expect $1.6 trillion in revenue to be generated annually by 2030, 90% of which will be shared by partner countries. Low- and lower-middle-income countries will be the greatest beneficiaries.
Tangible progress is now being made in the development of the China-Nepal Railway, the latest testament to the friendship between the two countries, and a new chapter in the Belt and Road journey. This ingenious feat of human engineering will shine in the Himalayas as a beacon of common prosperity and community with a shared future.