Beijing: Superior infrastructure in Tibet will provide China an “upper hand” over India by being a “gateway” to Nepal and Bangladesh for greater trade and investments, Chinese media said today.
“The competition of China and India over building railways in Nepal will influence the future development of Nepal and Bangladesh. It will also bring more challenges to Tibet,” an article in the state-run Global Times here said today.
“In the next decade, if India continues on its high growth track and speeds up the development of infrastructure and manufacturing, this will impose multi-dimensional pressure on China, of which Tibet will bear the brunt,” it said.
Fortunately, as the central government has attached great importance and offered considerable support to the region, “Tibet has gained the upper hand over India in terms of infrastructure development and has established sound economic cooperation relations with neighbouring provinces and cities”, it said.
How to further open up Tibet exploit its advantages over India to deal with challenges and exercise an influence over the region while maintaining Tibet’s stability needs policy support, it said.
“It also requires coordination among all western provinces, cities and autonomous regions,” it said.
India and Nepal are linked by comparatively good roads.
For years, India has occupied 60 to 70 per cent of Nepal’s total trade while China has only 10 per cent.
During his visit to India, Nepal’s new Prime Minister Prachanda revealed that the two countries would discuss the possibility of India helping build a railway connecting Mechi and Mahakali, it said.
“If this comes true, a network not only connecting India, but also Tibet and Bangladesh will be formed,” it said.
The article said Tibet is emerging as an important part of the China-initiated “One Belt and One Road” (Silk Road) initiative.
“Geographically, as a hub of critical value in connecting China and South Asia, the autonomous region is playing an increasingly important role in regional networks with the acceleration of India’s development and the boosting of Sino-Indian economic relations,” it said.
“Over 200 kms northeast of Bhairawa, a Nepali city close to the border with India, is Nepal’s capital Kathmandu. 100 kilometers northward from Kathmandu is Kodari, a border crossing from Nepal into China. The three cities make up one of the most important passageways connecting China and the Indian Subcontinent,” it said.
The other side of the border from Kodari is Zhangmu, a Chinese customs town and port of entry in Tibet.
The town accounts for around 82 per cent of bilateral trade between China and Nepal and 90 per cent of that between Tibet and Nepal, it said.