China’s Ambassador to Nepal, Chen Song, criticized India’s approach towards its neighbors, including Nepal, just days ahead of the G-20 summit in New Delhi, which Chinese President Xi Jinping decided to skip. In his remarks, Mr. Song characterized India’s policies as unfriendly and insufficient in promoting economic growth, despite India being a vast market.
He emphasized China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) as a valuable tool for fostering rapid economic development in developing countries. Mr. Chen acknowledged that India, with its vast market potential, could be a beneficial neighbor for Nepal. However, he pointed out that Nepal’s agricultural sector had weakened, leading to imports of agricultural products from India. He also noted a trade deficit in electricity, even though Nepal had exported electricity to India.
Regarding Nepal’s economic situation, Mr. Chen urged the government to prioritize agriculture and address its reliance on industrial imports from India. He highlighted that China’s economy was thriving due to its strong foundation, contrasting it with India’s economic growth.
Mr. Chen expressed China’s commitment to global engagement, including with Nepal, as it sought to escape the middle-income trap. He emphasized that countries participating in the BRI experienced accelerated economic growth, citing examples from Africa, Southeast Asia, and South Asia.
On the topic of electricity trade between India and Nepal, it was revealed that Nepal had a surplus during certain seasons but faced difficulties meeting domestic demand during winters due to the nature of its hydroelectric projects.
Despite ongoing negotiations between Nepal and China for a cross-border transmission line, no substantial progress had been made. Mr. Chen expressed his desire to learn more about Nepal’s reality and explore potential cooperation between China and Nepal, aiming to enhance the quality of life for Nepalese citizens.
In recent years, Nepal’s hydropower production had increased significantly, with plans for further expansion in the coming decade. This included the development of new hydropower plants and the potential for increased energy exports.
Overall, Mr. Chen’s remarks shed light on the complexities of Nepal’s economic relationships with both India and China and the potential for future collaboration to improve Nepal’s economic prospects.