Kathmandu / AFP
Nepal has secured a deal for China to supply it with fuel, as the energy-starved Himalayan nation seeks to deepen ties with Beijing and reduce its reliance on India.
The agreement was signed during a visit by Nepali Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli to Beijing, following months of frosty relations with New Delhi, traditionally the sole supplier of fuel to landlocked Nepal.
“Both sides agreed to conclude a commercial deal on the supply of petroleum products from China to Nepal”, the two countries said in a joint statement released in Beijing on Wednesday, without giving further details. Nepal’s acute dependence on India was underscored by a recent months-long border blockade by demonstrators from its Madhesi minority, who were protesting against a new constitution.
The blockade, which ended last month, sparked severe shortages of gas, medicines and other vital supplies and forced Nepal to turn to its only other neighbour, China for emergency fuel.