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Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s recent state visit to China has bagged mixed reactions. The critics have said that Prime Minister failed to live up to the expectation of the Nepali people from the China visit. However, Prime Minister Oli himself and his party- Nepal Communist Party (NCP) – have a claim that the recent official visit to China not only became success but also exceeded the objectives. Prime Minister Oli had said upon his arrival at Tribhuvan International Airport that the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Cooperation for Railway Connectivity with China was itself an important achievement of his visit. Though the letter and spirit of the agreements seem rousing, it has left sufficient space to suspect that the agreement would not translate in practice thanks to the failure to specify the time frame and the funding modality. It is being doubt that the agreements signed between the two neighboring countries would limit as the agreements in principle. Prime Minister Oli’s own statement delivered while responding to the queries of the media persons upon his arrival at Tribhuwan International Airport (TIA) would be sufficient to suspect that no projects will take off any time soon. In a jokey style, Prime Minister Oli had said on the queries about funding and timeframe of the agreement regarding the implementation of the projects that those who have money will be investing in the railway and connecting to the railway is not a magical and methodical fashion.
Not only the people in general but also the Prime Minister Oli and his party had the expectation that the two countries would be able to expedite the implementation of the agreements reached between Nepal and China during Oli’s first visit as the prime minister in 2015. As Primer Oli’s recent visit to China was the second time in two years after the successful conclusion of the protracted political transition in Nepal and the formation of a historically powerful government commanding over a two-thirds majority in parliament, no one had such a doubt that the visit would fail to see the breakthrough to bring into implementation the past agreements including the protocol of Transit and Transport. The agreement signed between the two countries seems nothing than the vogue deal as practiced earlier. It is used to hear since a decade or long that every leader particularly the leaders of the communist parties used to parrot to bring Chinese investment in Nepal. But nothing progress is made yet to attract the Chinese investment, thanks to the dual political character of the leaders and diplomatic failure. If we believe in the statement of the Prime Minister Oli, the two countries would be able to sign it by July. But Chinese side has not given yet its nod to implement the past agreements as of the expectations of the Nepali side. It seems that there is no point to be euphoric to implement the agreements immediately for the reason that China would not agree to build the rail link through grant funding as expected from the Nepali side.
Prime Minister Oli’s first visit to China as prime minister in 2016 March was eulogized as had made in the mean time when India had imposed an unofficial blockade in Nepal on the name of its displeasure to the constitution. As Prime Minster had explored the idea to opt China as alternative to import fuel, he was highly praised as the blockade imposed unnecessarily by the India had caused an acute shortage of daily essentials and fuel. It is obviously the marvelous incident that the issue did not figure out during the recent visit of Prime Minister Oli’s visit to China to avoid a similar fuel scarcity in the future. Another surprising part is that Prime Minister did not mention about Nepal’s position to transform Nepal as a bridge between India China to achieve what the government used to parrot to achieve the goal of prosperity from the gigantic neighbors. Likewise, other outstanding issues regarding the border dispute including the Doklam and Pipu Lek was also not pronounced during the meeting. As Nepal is like a sandwiched between two big countries, it would have better if the issues were raised boldly with the Chinese leaders. Prime Minister Oli should not hesitate to realize that his recent visit to china remained not only erratic fickle but also tarnished the image of his nationalist posture.