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India, China seek influence in Nepal as infrastructure projects stall

India, China seek influence in Nepal as infrastructure projects stall

2024-03-29

Projects are at a standstill in Nepal, as India and China compete for influence in the Himalayan country. Meanwhile, the Nepalese people are growing frustrated at the lack of development. Voice of America’s Henry Wilkins has more.

These rough, dusty tracks are where the Kathmandu-Terai Expressway was due to be finished this year. But the project that was supposed to link the capital to the country’s south is only one-quarter of the way done, local media reports say. And officials say it won’t be completed until 2027, at the earliest. Residents along the route say they’re tired of the lack of progress. Berung Tamang is a farmer, he says.

Berung Tamang
Farmer
The faster it is built, the faster the citizens of Nepal can develop. Also, this is an open area. The dust from the current road even makes it into our house. For the cows and animals, the dust gets into their food as well.

Road construction has been held up in a court battle between Indian and Chinese companies who bid for the project. India and China are vying for influence here largely by offering development projects and financing for them. The country is strategically important for both as the Himalayan mountain range, which runs through Nepal, forms a barrier between them. Analysts say Nepal is walking a tightrope to stay neutral.

Shankar Tiwari
Analyst
They just try to work attuned to their interest. Both the countries put their interest first before serving us. We need to tread consciously while taking any help from them. We don’t want to fall in the geopolitical quagmire.

Pokhara International Airport serves one of Nepal’s tourism hotspots. It was built by Chinese contractors with Chinese financing and opened in January 2023. It is yet to welcome any scheduled international flights, however. Local media say India is dragging its heels in allowing flights to go there because of the airport’s Chinese connections. Politicians say that India is a more natural partner for Nepal.

Arjun Narasingha K.C.
Nepali Congress Party
We are situated in between two giant countries, so we have to borrow the technology and resources of both sides. But you know, because of geography, because of history, because of religions, we are close to India. That we must say. At the same time, our relations with India must not give any negative impact to China.

As Nepal continues the balancing act, this stretch of the ring road round the capital, Kathmandu, recently expanded thanks to a Chinese-Nepali joint project.

Resident
Now shoe shops, hotels, cell phone shops have all opened here.

As delays to other projects continue, so too does India and China’s battle for hearts, minds and roads in Nepal.

Henry Wilkins, VOA News, Kathmandu, Nepal.

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印.中爭奪影響力 尼泊爾許多建設陷入停滯狀態

2024-03-29

在尼泊爾,由於印度和中國在這裡爭奪影響力,許多進行中的專案計劃陷入停滯。尼泊爾人對於這種情況感到越來越不滿。來看美國之音的報導。

加德滿都到特萊的快速公路,原本應該在今年完工,現在還是塵土飛揚。根據當地媒體報導,這個本該將首都與國家南部連接起來的專案計畫,僅完成了四分之一。官方表示,最快也要到2027年才能完工。住在路途中的居民對於緩慢的進度怨聲載道,農民Berung Tamang就是其中之一。

[[農民 Berung Tamang ]]
“建設得越快,尼泊爾的發展就越快。還有,這裡是開放區域,道路上的灰塵甚至會飄進我們家裡。對於牛和其他動物來說,灰塵也會落在牠們的食物上”

投標的印度和中國公司間打起法律戰,讓道路的建設停滯不前。印度和中國透過專案計畫和資金,試圖在尼泊爾取得影響力。尼泊爾對於兩國來說都具有戰略重要性,因為穿越尼泊爾的喜馬拉雅山脈,形成了他們之間的屏障。分析師說,尼泊爾正盡力保持中立。

[[政治分析師 Shankar Tiwari]]
“他們只是試圖按照自己的利益行事。兩個國家都把自己的利益放在幫助我們之前。在接受他們的幫助時,我們需要謹慎行事,我們不想陷入地緣政治的泥沼。”

位於尼泊爾的旅遊景點的博卡拉國際機場,由中國承包商建造並提供資金,已於2023年1月開幕,至今卻沒有何定期的國際航班。當地媒體表示,由於機場與中國的關係,印度從中作梗。政治家說,印度是尼泊爾更自然的夥伴。

[[尼泊爾大會黨 Arjun Narasingha K.C.]]
"我們位於兩個大國之間,所以我們必須借用兩邊的技術和資源,但在地理、歷史、宗教的考量之下,我們必須承認與印度更為相近。但是與印度發展關係的同時,必須避免對中國產生任何負面影響”

尼泊爾盡力保持平衡的同時,首都加德滿都環城公路的這個路段,最近因為中尼聯合計畫而擴建。

[[居民]]
"現在鞋店、旅館、手機店都在這裡開業了”

隨著其他專案的延宕,印度和中國持續爭奪著尼泊爾人民的好感。

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