KHATMANDU: A high-level Chinese team arrived in Kathmandu on Monday for talks with Nepalese authorities on the possibility of extending proposed cross-border railway links, part of efforts to expand connectivity with Nepal.
A Chinese firm has conducted a feasibility study for cross-border railway lines that will link Kerung or Gyirong in the Tibet Autonomous Region to Kathmandu, Pokhara and Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha near the border with India.
China’s efforts to build railway links to Nepal are part of its ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a flagship project being pushed by President Xi Jinping.
“After holding talks, the Nepali and Chinese teams will leave for a field visit to the border near Keyrung on Tuesday,” said a Nepalese official who participated in the talks.
A vice minister from China’s National Railway Administration is leading the 23-member Chinese delegation.
Transport infrastructure at Kerung was recently upgraded by the Chinese in order to make inroads into South Asia through Nepal under the BRI.
The feasibility study carried out by the Chinese firm in 2016, which was accessed by Hindustan Times, states that three railway lines will be built between China and Nepal. The total investment is estimated to be around $4 billion.