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Qinghai-Tibet Railway to Promote China-S. Asia Ties: Experts

China's Qinghai-Tibet Railway will help promote relations including trade between China and South Asia and tourism in the region, said Nepali experts.


China's Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) is the dreamland for the entire tourists in the world and the tourist flow to Tibet would be doubled within two or three years, Rajeswor Acharya former Nepalese ambassador to China, told Xinhua in a recent interview while commenting on the operation of Qinghai-Tibet Railway service.


China's trade with South Asian countries including Nepal has added new opportunities, as the Chinese products transported via railway will be cheaper, faster and easier to import for the south Asian countries from TAR, Acharya added.


"These opportunities will develop TAR's economy vigorously" and Nepal could also grasp the new opportunities, Acharya said.


The tourists visiting TAR could be attracted to Nepal, as it will be new and the nearest destination from TAR.


"Trans-Himalayan region and birthplace of Lord Buddha at Lumbini of Nepal could be appropriate destinations to the tourists going to TAR," Acharya said.


The railway service will also help promote China-Nepal friendly relations from the people's level.


"More Chinese people can come to Nepal and more Nepalese people can go to China as the fare and time to visit another country by the railway service have been decreased," he added.


The massive infrastructures of roads and railways in China's Tibet have opened a possibility of closer economic cooperation between China and Nepal as well as other countries south of the Himalayas, said Anoop Ranjan Bhattarai, chairman of Nepal-China Executive Council (NCEC).


The NCEC, a non-government China-Nepal business friendship organization of Nepal, has been working for bilateral tourism promotion, trade expansion and investment between the two countries since three years ago, Bhattarai noted, adding, "The railway service has added special and new momentum in these three main mottoes of NCEC."


The railway will also benefit the direct bus service between Lhasa of TAR and Nepali capital Kathmandu, which started operation on May 1, 2005.


The railways have ushered in a new era in the Himalayan region, said Upendra Gautam, general secretary of China Study Center, another non-government friendship organization of Nepal.


In trans-Himalayan relationship, the impact, which it will create in trans-Himalayan relationship, will be historic, Gautam told Xinhua.


"China's Tibet is no more remote part of the world," he added.


Chinese leaders have already declared that the railway is going to be extended further south as far as to the border areas.


The improvement of infrastructures in TAR will have many implications to mountains and hilly regions of Nepal.


"It will also help to maintain supply of essential commodities to these areas of Nepal through TAR," Keshab Poudel, senior journalist of Nepal said.

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