Nepal’s new Prime Minister K P Oli has said he wants to deepen ties with China to explore more options and get more leverage in his dealings with India “in keeping with the times”.
Oli, widely regarded as pro-China, also said he wants to “update” relations with India “in keeping with the times” and favours a review of all special provisions of the Indo-Nepal relations, including the long-established practice of Nepalese soldiers serving India’s armed forces.
The Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist) leader and Prime Minister of Nepal, Oli, will restart a Chinese-led US$2.5 billion hydropower project that was pulled by the previous government considered friendly towards India, and wants to increase infrastructure connectivity with Beijing to ease the country’s reliance on New Delhi, a report in the South China Morning Post on Monday said.
Nepal based Kathmandu Post reported Oli as saying, “Respect to sovereignty, national unity, people’s security, institutionalise rule of law, good governance, stability, development and prosperity will be the government’s future guide line.”
Highlighting that the country has reached this stage by overcoming various obstacles, PM Oli, who is also the Chairman of CPN-UML, said, “a mega campaign has been started to bring happiness in the face of Nepali people by fulfilling their desires.”
“Political prejudice or pressure from rival companies may have been instrumental in scrapping of the project. But for us, hydropower is a main focus and come what may, we will revive the Budhi Gandaki project,” Oli had told This Week in Asia in an exclusive interview, his first since taking office.
Earlier, Pakistan had withdrawn a request to include a strategic $14-billion dam project in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) after Beijing proposed strict conditions, including ownership of the project, a senior official had said.
China’s foreign ministry had deflected questions on the Diamer-Bhasha dam in Gilgit-Baltistan being withdrawn from the CPEC, a key part of the Belt and Road Initiative, saying it had no information about the development.