He also raised the issue of Indian blockade of key border trade points with India at the Commonwealth Summit in Malta, warning that it will create extreme humanitarian crisis in the country already reeling from the devastating earthquake.
Addressing the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting of the 53-member bloc, president of Chaudhary Group (CG) and President Emeritus of Confederation of Nepalese Industries (CNI) Binod Chaudhary said that Nepal already devastated by earthquake is pushed into economic crisis by the ongoing blockade. "The blockade has crippled daily lives of people and virtually shut down industries and businesses in the country," the only Nepali billionaire listed by Forbes said, addressing the meeting on 'Connecting Asia: Accelerating Regional Integration and Development’, today. Though Nepal is not a Commonwealth member country, Chaudhary was invited as a guest. Heads of nations, heads of governments and private sector leaders from around 80 countries are participating in the meeting. The meeting is an important international forum in which the heads of nation and government discuss common challenges, new opportunities, and priorities.
Stressing on the need for liberal leadership for regional integration in South Asia, he said that it would be possible only, if the leading country India shows liberal attitude towards its neighbours. "India should play as liberal role as Germany did during European Union’s establishment."
Chaudhary also expressed concern over the land-locked country’s deprivation from free transport facility. Pointing that Nepal has not received support from anywhere for ending the blockade, he said the situation has put the relevance and usefulness of SAARC under question. "SAARC is known as the weakest regional organisation in the world," a statement quoted Chaudhary, adding, "Despite occasional good initiatives and plans, the region has always lagged behind on regional integration and development due to mutual disagreements."
Development of infrastructure is a precondition for the development of SAARC, which is home to 40 per cent of the world’s poor. But due to mutual distrust and lack of cooperation, there hasn’t been any progress towards building infrastructure such as cross-country road networks, and institutions such as SAARC bank,” he added.
Stressing on the need of transportation network for regional development and integration, Chaudhary said in lack of it the cost of production and distribution among SAARC nations is high. Development of inter-national road network and unrestricted access to transportation is inevitable for the region that is home to landlocked countries like Nepal and Bhutan.
Nepal has been reeling under severe shortage of medicines and other essential goods due to unrest by Tarai-Madhes-centric parties, which are protesting against the new Constitution, and blockade of key border trade points by India.
Though, India maintains that there has been 'no blockade' and the problem is political in nature which has to be resolved by the Nepalese leadership through dialogue, Nepal is reeling under acute shortage of essential goods including petroleum products and even medicine, due to restriction on customs, where there is no protest.