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Modi-Xi Wuhan Summit: Will China-Nepal-India Trilateral Corridor Take Shape?

The corridor proposed by China earlier this month seems to be off India’s priority list.

Aishwarya Kumar | News18.com@aishwaryak03

Updated:April 27, 2018, 10:18 AM IST
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Modi-Xi Wuhan Summit: Will China-Nepal-India Trilateral Corridor Take Shape?
File photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
New Delhi: As Prime Minister Narendra Modi begins a two-day summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Wuhan, the plush capital of Hubei province, speculation is rife on the agenda at hand.

The meeting is billed as an informal, ‘heart-to-heart’ summit with no joint statement or agreement signing expected at the end. One factor which will be in focus for geopolitical concerns is the India-Nepal-China Economic Corridor.

China had earlier this month proposed an India-Nepal-China economic corridor with multi-dimensional connectivity through the Himalayas as it seeks to expand its influence over the new Nepalese government headed by KP Sharma Oli, widely regarded as pro-Beijing.

China's proposal came after visiting Nepalese Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali held talks with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi.

Back in India, however, the proposed trilateral seems to be off the priority list. Sources privy to the top leadership said that India’s focus was on ensuring bilateral relations with both nations.

“The proposed economic corridor is not something that the authorities have given much thought to. It’s not discarded but it’s not on the priority list either. India’s focus remains on excellent bilateral ties with Nepal and China,” a source told News18.

China and Nepal have already signed an MoU on China's multi-billion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in which connectivity cooperation is a part.

India has been critic of the ambitious project, saying that Xi’s initiative compromises on the sovereignty of India. China is building a rail-line connecting Lhasa and Gyirong in Tibet Autonomous Region, a project that Beijing said it will help Kathmandu build as a part of BRI.

"We believe that such a well-developed connectivity network can also create conditions for an economic corridor connecting China, Nepal and India. China, Nepal and India are natural friends and partners. We are neighbours connected by rivers and mountains. This is a fact that cannot be changed by whatever changes taking place in the world and inside the three countries," Wang had said.

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| Edited by: Nitya Thirumalai
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