TravelBizNews Reporter –
Kathmandu: Scholars representing different countries of South Asia have emphasized on strengthening cooperation between China and South Asian countries through the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in a seminar held here on Monday.
The Belt and Road Initiative refers to the Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, a significant development strategy launched by the Chinese President Xi Jinping with the intention of promoting economic cooperation among countries along the proposed Belt and Road routes.
Scholars and diplomats from China , India , Bangladesh , Pakistan and Nepal focused on various issues of China’s Belt and Road Initiative at the seminar entitled “ Contours of the Belt and Road Initiative for South Asia “ organized by Nepal – China Friendship Forum ( NCFF).
Addressing the inaugural session , Ambassador of People’s Republic of China to Nepal Yu Hong said the BRI participant countries are working together to achieve the goal of connectivity in terms of policy, infrastructure, trade, finance and people-to-people relations and build a community of common interests, common future and common responsibility by enhancing political mutual trust, economic integration and cultural inclusiveness.
“South Asia has a population of over 1.7 billion, accounting for a fifth of the population of the world. South Asia enjoys rich human resources, great potential market, superb geographic location and bountiful natural resources. China shares 5000 kilometers border with countries in South Asia and the western part of China and South Asia shares great potential of road connectivity.”
‘Since the Belt and Road Initiative was proposed in 2013 , the trade between China and South Asian countries has grown steadily. The trade volume in 2016 exceeded 110 billion US dollars, an increase of 14.8 % than that in 2013. Direct investment of China to South Asia in 2016 reached 1.46 billion US dollars, increased by 114.7% compared to that in 2013. China now is one of the major investors in South Asia’, she added.
Ambassador Hong informed that the number of Chinese tourists visiting Nepal increased by 60 percent during January to September in 2017 compared with the same period of last year.
On the occasion, former foreign minister of Nepal Mahendra Bahadur Pandey and Finance Secretary Shankar Prasad Adhikari opined that the BRI offered tremendous opportunities of economic transformation to the South Asian countries including Nepal.
Prof. Atiur Rahman from Bangladesh, Prof. Prabir De from India, Prof. Dr. Suchang He from China, Shafqat Munir from Pakistan and Dr. Shankar Sharma from Nepal shed light on diverse issues of the Belt and Road Initiative at the thematic presentation session of the workshop.
President of Nepal – China Friendship Forum (NCFF) Dr. Kalyan Raj Sharma stressed on strengthening multilateral cooperation between China and South Asian countries for the benefit of people living in South Asia.
The Belt and Road Initiative will extend from the Chinese mainland to Europe and include more than 60 per cent of the world’s population living in 65 countries across Asia, Europe and Africa.
Nov. 13 , 2017