Kathmandu: Nepal’s move to import fuel from China was not directed against any country, Nepal’s Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli said on Sunday without naming India.
Oli, in a televised address to the nation, said: “The decision (to import fuel from China) is not directed against any country. It is a step to make Nepal’s trade relations diversified and balanced.”
Nepal has formally asked China to supply petroleum products after it suffered a huge crisis as India allegedly blocked all supplies. India has categorically denied the allegation.
Following the request, China signed a framework agreement with Nepal in October for supply of petroleum products.
“The roads connecting China will be upgraded and efforts to bring fuel from other friendly countries would also be initiated,” Oli was quoted as saying by Xinhua.
A team has already reached Bangladesh to discuss the possibility of importing fuel from there, local media earlier reported.
The prime minister said the Nepalese people had to suffer as a result of over-dependence on a single country (India) when the southern neighbour imposed “undeclared embargo”.
He said Nepal was pushed to the brink of a humanitarian and economic crisis after fuel, medicine and food items were stopped on the Indian side of border.
“This incident has shown that Nepal’s trade relations are unbalanced and one-sided,” said Oli. “It will be our duty to take steps to develop a self-reliant economy.”