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Pokhara International Airport is not under BRI: Minister Kiranti

Pokhara International Airport is not under BRI: Minister Kiranti
Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Sudan Kiranti clarified that the Pokhara International Airport is not a project under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) as claimed by China. Responding to a question raised by Nepali Congress lawmaker Ram Hari Khatiwada, Minister Kiranti said that the world knows about it. He made it clear that Nepal and China signed the BRI agreement only in 2016.

The minister was of the view that the construction of the airport started in 2012.

He urged the lawmakers not to believe in rumors. During a program held at the Pokhara International Airport on Wednesday, Chinese Ambassador to Nepal Chen Song had claimed that the airport was a project under its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), raising eyebrows in Kathmandu. Despite Nepali leaders’ repeated assertion that this is not a BRI project, China continues to put it under the BRI which is likely to cause diplomatic friction between the two countries. “The construction of Pokhara International Airport started in 2023. It was designed and constructed with the help of the Chinese government. It was built by Chinese engineers. This is a project under the BRI,” Ambassador Chen said. During the opening ceremony of the airport in December last year, Chargé d'Affaires at the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu Wang Xin had said that Pokhara airport is a part of China’s ambitious BRI project.