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Who does an ambassador represent?

By Our reporter
Nepal is identified as a politically unstable country since the introduction of the multiparty democracy in 1990 as none of the political parties were able to run the country for total tenure of five years. And after the introduction of the present “loktantra” the governments are just for nine months. The KP Sharma Oli led government collapsed in nine months and the new Maoist Center led government formed with the support of the Nepali Congress is for nine months as informed by the coalition partners. Such governments, formed for a short period of time, have affected all the sectors including our Foreign Ministry. Along with change in the government, there is the trend of recruiting political activists in all sectors in Nepal,. In the Foreign Ministry as in all other sectors, there is a trend of assigning political leaders as ambassadors and in this way discouraging the career diplomats. The Sushil Koirala led government had assigned former minister and senior NC leader Deep Kumar Upadhaya as the ambassador to India. The KP Sharma Oli led government recalled Upadhaya before completing his tenure on the charge of being close to Delhi and conspiring to topple the Oli government.. Upadhaya has once again been named as the ambassador to India by the new government led by Pushpakamal Dahal. Dahal’s Maoist party was also an active partner in the previous government. The question now arises as to how a person who was said to be non-loyal to the government formed under the coalition of the Maoist Center became qualified for the next government headed by the same Maoist Center?
Last week, the NC-MC coalition government named two ambassadors – one for India and another for China. Normally, the tenure of an ambassador is for three years but if the government keeps on changing, these politically assigned ambassadors will also be recalled by the next government and then it will recruit other party-men. Such a trend of frequent change of the ambassadors as per party politics has made fun of our foreign policy.
No doubt, Lilamani Poudel, former chief secretary and former consul general in Lhasha Consulate Office, is an experienced bureaucrat and his nomination as the ambassador to China is a right decision. In fact, he is not a member of the Maoist Center, rather, known as an independent person who has great concern over national interests. But if the government changes once again, the new government will label him as a Maoist activist and may recall him without completing his tenure.
NC-MC alliance was in a hurry to assign new ambassadors to the two neighbouring countries as PM Dahal is scheduled to visit Delhi soon and also Chinese President Xi Jinping was likely to visit Nepal in second week of October. The ambassador named for India is a NC leader whereas the ambassador named for China is a career bureaucrat, who has the experience of a diplomat as well. But due to the frequent change in the government, whether they can serve on behalf of the nation for their full term is a big question.
Therefore, either the governments should stop political assignment to the ambassadorial position, or there should be consensus among the political parties while making political assignment of the ambassadors. Furthermore, the political parties, rather than recruiting party activists to the ambassadorial post, should give priority in nomination of independent and capable persons. If there will be political consensus in the appointment of ambassadors, they should not be recalled along with the change in the government. The political leaders has to understand that the ambassadors assigned in the friendly countries don’t represent a particular political party but the nation as a whole. Therefore, the parties concerned should not take the appointment of ambassadors as a game of charade.
However, talking to this reporter, the Chinese Embassy spokesman Jiang Wei said that the report appeared in the Annapurna Post on 7 September is not authentic and the ambassador is also misquoted. From the beginning, he was saying that although there are chances of visit of top ranking leaders to Nepal, it has not been confirmed that whether President Xi is visiting Nepal.

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