Nepal’s immediate goal is to graduate to middle-income country before 2030: President Bhandari

By Special correspondent Surendra Bahadur Nepali, Beijing, April 26 (RSS): President Bidya Devi Bhandari has said Nepal’s immediate goal is to graduate from LDC status to a middle-income country by achieving the Sustainable Development Goals as well before 2030 AD.

The President who is presently on the nine-day state visit to the People's Republic of China at the invitation of her Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, beginning from April 24 announced this while addressing the high-level meeting of Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation. The meeting was held on the theme of ‘Belt and Road Cooperation: Shaping a Brighter Shared Future’. “Our national aspiration is guided by the motto ‘Prosperous Nepal, Happy Nepali’,” the President apprised the gathering.

President Bidya Devi Bhandari delivers inaugural speech at the 2nd Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing, April 26, 2019. (Photo: RSS)

Stating that the development of ‘Trans-Himalayan Multi-Dimensional Connectivity Network’, including Nepal-China Cross-Border Railway, would boost connectivity not only between Nepal and China but other countries in the region, the President made it clear that Nepal aspired to consolidate its bilateral as well as multilateral collaboration with its neighbours, other friendly countries including development partners to overcome tackle with challenges of development. “The objective of Nepal ahead is to bring about noticeable transformation in people’s living standard in the aftermath of political stability achieved after a prolonged political transition.”

Describing Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) as an important framework for collaboration, for cooperation and for connectivity, she stated that mutual efforts for mutual benefit; inclusive development for fair and equitable world order; and the green development for the good health of the people and planet embodied its spirit. “The far-sighted vision of President Xi to build a community of shared future for mankind through Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) carries a huge potential.”

Terming Asia as a powerhouse of the world economy, the President articulated that for the future of global prosperity, the region was well poised to play a pivotal role. A region with many rich civilizations, Asia’s future should be that of inclusivity and partnership, she asserted, adding that the BRI laid emphasis on boosting connectivity, developing infrastructure, connecting markets and enhancing cooperation among the nations in diverse sectors in the region and beyond.

“It promotes openness in place of isolation, cooperation in place of confrontation and win-win cooperation in place of zero-sum game. Vis-à-vis the huge resource gap in global level, BRI can play an instrumental role in implementing the SDGS.”

According to her views, BRI is the engine for prosperous future where not a single country is excluded from the fruit of development and for a landlocked country like Nepal, connectivity is of paramount importance in its socio-economic development. With enhanced connectivity, vast opportunities for trade, investment, tourism and people-to-people relations will open up.

Expressing firm conviction that the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation would be successful in building up our concerted efforts for a just, fair, equitable, inclusive and rules-based world order for lasting global peace and prosperity, the President expressed her best wishes for the grand success of this Forum.

Stating that the world today was on the cusp of profound transformation and poverty had been reduced in many parts of the world, the President said, “Access to health and education has become easier, and many economies are heading towards prosperity. The unprecedented scale of technological revolution has opened a vista of possibilities.” She was of the view that those achievements would have been unthinkable and thus impossible in absence of cooperation.

However, the new as well as old challenges are conspicuous. The distribution of wealth is strikingly uneven. Promises of development have not yielded for many. Millions of people are still trapped in the vicious cycle of poverty, according to the President.

As she said, the very foundation of cooperation and collaboration is facing skepticism. Protectionism and isolationist tendencies have surfaced. The President further pronounced that such regressive response would not only jeopardize the hard-earned gains, but also be unjust for future generations, underlining the need of acknowledging that the existence of poverty in any corner of the world could be a threat to the whole world. “Therefore, proliferation of several challenges and unfinished pursuit of development call for more collaboration, not less.”

On the occasion, extending the meeting participants warms greetings and best wishes from the Government and people of Nepal, the land of Buddha and Sagarmatha, the world’s highest peak, she expressed her sincere thanks to the Chinese President for the kind invitation to the event and for the warm hospitality accorded to her and her delegation. “I would also like to congratulate the Government and people of China on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of founding of the People’s Republic of China,” the President said.

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