Rishi Dhamala: The long-awaited suspense has finally been broken for the people of Nepal. After 23 years, Chinese president will be officially visiting Nepal starting from today. Grand preparations have been made and our government is planning to provide a warm welcome to the leader of our northern neighbor. This visit will be made successful not because of need, but the willingness to further bilateral relations and shape ties with the second-largest economy of the world, and major global power.
It will be marked as the most important visit for Nepal in recent history. President Xi Jinping is not only charismatic in his home country but he also has an image of a global leader. He will be hosted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the coastal town of Mamallapuram as part of their second unofficial dialogue before he will arrive in Kathmandu.
It is an opportune and advantageous time for Nepal, and we hope that our government takes full advantage while our northern neighbor has been extremely cooperative and understanding toward our needs. More so because Nepal Communist Party (NCP) shares similar ideological ties with Communist Party of China (CPC). The recently concluded joint training program was a subject of contentious debate but it has paved the way to shape a bilateral relation strong enough to guide both nations into a future of continuous and a long-standing partnership.
Let us look deeper into why this visit is crucial for Nepal. The personal relation between PM Modi and President Xi has been cordial. Both understand changing times while they have also resolved their issues without confrontations. Nepal can and will only develop if it understands and plays a role in maintaining the cordial relation between its two neighbors.
Nepal will not progress if it tends to be one-sided or tilt in favor of the other. The necessity and priority of the hour is to be neutral. While we share an open border and culturally assimilate with our southern neighbor, we have similarities in the ruling government ideology, and trade relations with our neighbor in the north.
Nepal will have to prioritize and have a concrete plan of action that will take its development model forward. We are hoping to have lucrative investments in the field of hydropower, roadways, transmission lines, and railway wherein the aide and technological support from China will be able to change the outlook of our nation which lacks quality infrastructure.
Nepal indeed has prioritized relations with China under Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and his government. This has to be taken to the next levels which need to include a developmental paradigm that would be mutually beneficial for both. China has assured that it is willing to help Nepal to come at par with the changing technological and infrastructure development trends.
Nepal for the moment needs aid that would be utilized for the benefit of both and investment opportunities through private sponsors. We need to safeguard and work toward building Nepal that will not be a burden on our future generations, but we have to take strides in economically productive ventures that will provide opportunities that will enable our masses to be economically sound and thriving.
Xi and Modi are towering personalities and their countries are emerging as economic and military superpowers. We need to take advantage of the situation and create an environment of mutual trust, confidence and the space for investments in the sectors that will be crucial determinants of our economic future.
The prospects that Nepal can envision is the one of infrastructural development, investment, and connectivity that would enable it to be self-sufficient while at the same time providing returns on investments made on its various ventures. Our potential is not limited. Hydropower, tourism, agriculture, and minerals are some of our core strengths. Most of these areas are untapped and with necessary investment and the right logistics, we would be able to generate necessary income, and provide opportunities at home for our people.
President Xi Jinping’s visit must be successful and it will be. Opportunities like these come rarely. This is happening after 23 years. Let us all hope and unite to make the visit successful, and at the same time honor our neighbors without whom our prosperity will not be possible.
(The author is the President of the Reporters Club and the Chairman of Prime Times News Channel, this article was originally published in My Republica a National English daily)