Himalayan nation Nepal gets first modern train tracks - 1310 NEWS
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Himalayan nation Nepal gets first modern train tracks

In this Nov. 28, 2018 photo, elderly Nepalese people watch the construction of Janakpur train station at Janakpur, from where a new rail line connects to Jay Nagar in the Indian state of Bihar. 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. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha)(Hold for Nepal-India train Story)

JANAKPUR, Nepal — 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.

The Associated Press

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