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What could be Nepal’s foreign policy?

By PR Pradhan
pushpa-columnOur foreign minister has formed a taskforce to formulate Nepal’s foreign policy. It seems, Nepal had no foreign policy in the past and thus the minister is in a hurry to draft a foreign policy for the country! Earlier too, when MahendraPandey was the foreign minister, he had also made efforts to formulate a foreign policy for the country. Since the Panchayat days, Nepal had maintained the non-aligned foreign policy. Prithivi Narayan Shah the Great, founder king of Nepal, in his Divine Counsels, had stated that Nepal was a yam between two boulders, therefore, he had advised for equidistance relations with the two neighbours. Until the last years of the Panchayat days, the nation maintained the Great King’s counsels as the base of Nepal’s foreign policy. However, since the introduction of the multi-party democracy in 1989, the leaders in the government gradually started to develop special relations with India by undermining our other neighbour China. Nevertheless, due to the presence of the king, although, though in capacity of a constitutional monarchy, to some extent, the political leaders were unable to adopt a pro-Indian foreign policy like now. After the dawn of this “loktantra” the leaders totally scrapped Nepal’s foreign policy and introduced India-dominated foreign policy. Today, it has become a tradition to pay a visit to Delhi by any of the Nepali prime ministers immediately after they are elected to the PM’s post. PushpakamalDahal, after he was elected the prime minister for the second time, by following the tradition, visited Delhi to present credence to the Indian leaders. Furthermore, he signed one agreement in which both the sides had agreed to make similar views on international issues, that is, Nepal would support the Indian policy on international issues. Talking about the present foreign minister, he has already visited Delhi more than six times since he assumed the post. As he is practicing the India-protected foreign policy, why does he need a different foreign policy? Nepal was the founding member of the nonaligned movement and always Nepal’s head of the nation or head of the government had participated in the summit of the non-aligned movement. Today, India believes herself as a power and she might have no interest to remain under the non-aligned movement, thus, in the last summit of the Movement, she sent the country’s vice president to attend the summit. By following the Indian footsteps, Nepal also sent the ceremonial vice president to attend the summit. Next month, China is hosting the One Belt One Road summit in Beijing. India has not liked this Chinese initiative. Therefore, it is expected that India can send a junior-level delegation to attend the Summit. PM Dahal, during his visit to China, has made verbal commitment to sign on the Belt and Road initiative before the Summit. However, he has not endorsed the decision from the cabinet. Whether he is going to endorse the decision from the cabinet, it has not become clear yet. Although Dahal has expressed the commitment for participation of Nepal’s high-level delegation at the Summit, who is going to lead the Nepali delegation, it has not been disclosed who will actually participate. It would not be a surprise even if the Nepali delegation is again led by the ceremonial vice president. Nepal is missing tremendous opportunities by delaying in signing the OBOR initiative. The previous government had signed ten key agreements with China, which, the present government has kept pending. When Nepal is maintaining a pro-Indian policy, why she needed to draft a new policy? Yes, every Nepalis know this is India’s puppet government and it has no courage to go against the Indian interests, so why is the minister performing the drama of formulating Nepal’s foreign policy!

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