Monday, October 19, 2009

Two emerging giants battle: Nepal benefits

The battle between China and India for regional influence will potentially benefit Nepal. A positive externality (for Nepal) from competing economic policies for regional influence by two emerging giants.

Indian Railways has chalked out a comprehensive plan to build rail links with Nepal and Bhutan in an apparent bid to counter the recent Chinese move to build rail links in South Asia. China is building a 1,956-kilometer rail route connecting Qinghai province and Tibet with Kathmandu across the Tibetan plateau.

China is also planning to build an internal railway network in Nepal linking it to Pakistan via the Karakoram Highway and Bangladesh via Myanmar. Indian Railways proposes to build six rail links with Nepal and three with Bhutan on a priority basis. Recently, the railways has mooted a proposal to link India directly with Nepal to achieve its all-round development and enhance connectivity between the two neighboring countries.