As Nepal and China mark the 60th anniversary of the establishment of their diplomatic relations, Nepal Army and Chinese armed policemen have jointly initiated the opening of the blocked Araniko Highway in Sindhupalchok district.
The 37-km stretch between Tatopani and Khadichaur was blocked by landslides at several places following days of heavy rainfall. Opening of the major trade route between the two countries is crucial for the post-earthquake reconstruction of Nepal.
Monsoon and frequent aftershocks have worsened the situation in the district, which was the epicentre of the May 12 earthquake. Sindhupalchok is the district worst affected by the earthquake.
Engineering teams of the Nepal Army, the Chinese Armed Police and other security agencies in Nepal have been involved in clearing the road. The government had decided to hand over the task to the Army after China assured its full support in the process.
The reopening of Araniko Highway is one of the Chinese-supported projects in Nepal and will play an important role in improving the trade and deepening friendship between the two neighbours, the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu said on Saturday. “This sets the best example of friendship between China and Nepal and writes a moving chapter of being a friend in need, a friend indeed.” Nepal and China established diplomatic relations on August 1, 1955.
Nineteen engineering and 20 supporting equipment from China have been mobilised to clear the debris. According to the Army headquarters, the Chinese security team plans to work in Nepal during the day and return across the border at night.
Traffic in the most important road section connecting China and Nepal has not been fully operational since the devastating earthquake on April 25. The road was briefly opened to allow containers stranded in Tatopani to leave. The Army estimates to complete the task within three weeks.