KHATMANDU: India today said it was keen on linking Nepal’s capital with New Delhi and Kolkata through a railway network in a bid to strengthen cross-border connectivity amid China’s strategic push into the landlocked Himalayan nation.
“We need to build the railway tracks connecting Kathmandu with Delhi and Kolkata as soon as possible,” Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu said.
“If we could build these two railway tracks soon it would increase Nepal’s connectivity with India,” Prabhu said while addressing the ‘Nepal Infrastructure Summit 2017’, which concluded in Kathmandu today.
“I will give priority to building such networks soon,” he said.
Prabhu’s remarks came amid China’s investment push into Nepal with rail and road connectivity through Tibet.
Noting that infrastructure was a prerequisite for attaining higher economic growth, Prabhu called the Nepal government and private sector to ramp up investment in construction of physical infrastructure.
“If you invest in infrastructure in a country with wide infrastructure gap, you will get good return on investment.
Also, economic growth triggered by infrastructural development will provide additional benefits to investors,” he said.
He added that India was ready to share its drone technology and experience with Nepal for monitoring the project.
According to experts, this move a counter to China’s bid to expand its rail network towards Lumbini via Kathmandu.
Prabhu held separate meetings with Nepal President Bidhya Devi Bhandari,Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Minister of Physical Infrastructure and Transport Ramesh Lekhak, Civil Aviation, Culture and Tourism Minister Jiwan Bahadur Shahi and Energy Minister Janardan Sharma.
He also met Nepalese business leaders, political leaders, industry heads, with whom discussed a wide range of infrastructure development issues.