N P Saud, Nepal’s foreign minister, stressed the need of further deepening the Himalayan country’s connections with both India and China on Monday. He also emphasized that the relationships with one neighbor should not be compared to those with another.

“Both of our neighbors are gaining economic strength and influence… Speaking to the House of Representatives’ International Relations Committee, Foreign Minister Saud stated, “Nepal boasts a longstanding affinity with both of its neighbors, which needs to be further developed.

According to his office, he said that one neighbor’s relationship shouldn’t be compared to another’s.

When it comes to Nepal’s relationships with its neighbors, he said, “We should not feel psychological pressure and we need to express our concern in a transparent manner.”

He said that “owing to our open border, two-thirds trade links, and transit facilities, our relations with the southern neighbor holds significance” and that “Nepal’s relations with India are historical and special.” The ‘one-China’ policy is something that Nepal is dedicated to, according to Saud, who also emphasized the necessity for Nepal to prevent the use of its territory against its neighbors.

In an effort to establish a balance in ties with both China and India, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, or “Prachanda,” plans an official visit to China in September.

Prachanda will be traveling abroad for the second time since taking power in December of last year. Prior to that, the 68-year-old head of the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (CPN-M) traveled to India last month for the first time since taking office.

Land-locked India is a major source of transportation for products and services in Nepal.

“As far as Nepal’s development relations are concerned, our relations with the USA and European Union are important from a development perspective,” he said.

He emphasized the necessity for the US and EU to mobilize as much aid for development as possible. He also let the parliamentary committee know that the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), which is funded by the United States, would start operating in August.

Nepal and the US had agreed to launch a financial aid program of USD 500 million for Kathmandu, mostly for the upkeep of road condition and the construction of cross-border transmission lines.

The minister informed the House Committee that there have been conversations about implementing the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) agreement that Nepal and China signed. However, it has not yet been put into practice.

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