CHINA TO HELP NEPAL REOPEN TATOPANI BORDER POINT
China has agreed to provide assistance to Nepal to bring back into operation the Tatopani border point, which remains closed after the devastating earthquake of April 2015.
KEY-DETAILS OF THE PLAN
- China has agreed to provide Rs. 48 billion assistance to Nepal for the purpose of development in the region.
- The main purpose is a post-disaster recovery plan for the strategic ‘Tatopani border point’.
- The other areas include hospital reconstruction in Sindhupalchowk and reconstruction of Jiri Secondary School.
- Both countries have been stepping up efforts to improve road connectivity while speeding up plans to build a railway line connecting to Nepal’s border after a Transit Trade Treaty signed in 2016 with Beijing.
REASON BEHIND THE DEVELOPMENT OF TATOPANI BORDER
- Tatopani (Tato-hot &pani-water) border point assumes significance for China as it is a major trade route between Nepal and China but it has remained close since the 2015 earthquake, that killed nearly 9,000 people and injured nearly 22,000 after it suffered massive damage.
- Tatopani border is located at 112 km west from Kathmandu at Sindhupalchowk district.
- Since Tatopani was not in operation, the Kerung port or Rasuwagadi has been in operation for the cross-border trading and tourism.
- The Rasuwagadi-Kerung border crossing is the second largest border point for a trade after Tatopani, it connects Nepal to China’s region of Tibet.
- The development Tatopani project includes repairing of buildings, establishing protection measures to prevent from secondary disasters, including debris flow and landslide, and improving trade clearance capabilities.
DEVELOPMENTS BETWEEN CHINA & NEPAL
- Post-2015 earthquake, China had pledged to help Nepal with post-disaster reconstruction in five areas- infrastructure, livelihood recovery in hilly regions, cultural heritage renovation, capacity building of disaster prevention and health.
- Till now, 22 China-Aided projects have already been initiated and are in the process of implementation.
- Now, considering the construction of border inspection station, both sides have been discussing the reconstruction of the border bridge.
CONCERNS FOR INDIA
- The growing links between China and Nepal is a concern for India. Concluding the past, Nepal has always tried to maintain a balance between the two neighbors and remain neutral when they come into conflict.
- Last year, Nepal has joined China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative which was alarming for India, as it has always opposed China’s policy.
- Like other neighbors, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Pakistan, Nepal is also tilted towards China, especially for economic reasons.
- However, the recent project does not possess any direct threat to India and if India wants the transit point can be developed as a trade point between China and India too.
Tatopani transit point between China and Nepal is the only border point, linked to roadways to connect the two countries. It has the capacity to generate Rs. 7 billion revenue annually and trade through this point amounts to Rs. 106 billion. With this, China wants to resume the point of development. As agreed by both sides, Chinese teams will start the construction soon and finish the remaining construction of Tatopani border point as soon as possible. The recent development between the two sides highlights the economic aspect of regional cooperation.