Himalayan nation Nepal gets first modern train tracks

Photo: AFP

The competition between two Asian giants, India and China, for influence over tiny Nepal is yielding a bonanza in the form of the Himalayan mountain nation's first modern railway - and possibly more to come.

New shiny rails connecting the 21 miles between Janakpur in southeastern Nepal and Jay Nagar in the Indian state of Bihar are raising hopes for more business and pilgrimages.

The railway is India's latest bid to keep its foothold in South Asia, a traditional sphere of influence, as China spends billions on its massive Belt and Road Initiative, supporting infrastructure projects across an arc of countries from the Pacific to Europe.

Once the new $80 million rail line launches, it might be extended deeper into Nepal. Now only a dusty trail connects Janakpur to India.

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