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Published on : Oct 27, 2015

China will be stepping in to supply gasoline to Nepal for the first time, responding to a severe shortage of fuel caused by disruptions in the supply lines with India. On Sunday, an official with Nepal Oil Corporation announced that China will supply 1.3 million liters of fuel, which will be transported from the border to Kathmandu via 100 tanker trucks.

It was in mid September that crucial supplies stopped flowing from India across the India Nepal border after Nepal ratified its new constitution. The Tharu and Madhesi ethnic groups have been protesting against the constitution stating that it will render the groups underrepresented in the government of Nepal. India has urged Kathmandu authorities to address their growing concerns. As a result, several Nepalese consider halting the border trade an unofficial hurdle that they hope will pressure the Nepal government to change the constitution. 

Laxmi Prasad Dhakal, Home Ministry Spokesperson for Nepal had said late in September that the government believed that the blockade was an act of vengeance because the Indian groups were not pleased with the new constitution in Nepal. This was an unofficial trade blockade.

The fuel shortage resulting from the protests has given China a great chance to strengthen ties with Nepal. The problem, however, is that the Nepal China border has been closed off since the massive earthquake that rocked Nepal on April 25, the foreign ministry in China said earlier this month. 

After the border crossing reopened at Jilung in mid October, China appears to be ready to start supplying gasoline to Nepal. Hua Chunying, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson said that the Chinese side is willing to offer the required assistance at the behest of the Nepal government. When it comes to relieving the shortage of fuel supply, Hua said that Nepal and China have been in close communication.