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Machhapuchre Bank

Doesn’t Nepal have foreign policy?

By Our Reporter
Nepal has been the oldest nation of Asia. King Prithvi Narayan Shah who unified Nepal some 248 years ago was the first ruler in the world to have a permanent army. He also formulated foreign policy which was well documented in the Dipyopadesh.
Even after the demise of Prithvi Narayan Shah, the kings and even the Rana  prime ministers successfully managed to safeguard sovereignty and national integrity.
Nepal has since long been following a balanced foreign policy.  After becoming UN member in 1955, Nepal has adopted more systematic  foreign policy. However, in recent years, Nepal’s foreign policy has weakened due to the political leaders who are ready to make any U turn to grab power and accept any suggestion from any force to gain power.
Moreover, the politics of Bhagbanda has badly affected Nepal’s diplomatic strength over the years. It is all because of  the ineffective implementation of the foreign policy formulated in the past.
However, the activities and claims of Foreign Minister Prakash Sharan Mahat show otherwise.  His claim to form a team to formulate a new comprehensive foreign policy has only created a stir in the diplomatic circle as if Nepal had no foreign policy till now.
Dr Mahat recently said a timely ‘review’ was needed to match our external policy and conduct in accordance with the changed domestic as well as global contexts.
His remark  though sounds encouraging has drawn mixed reactions from foreign policy analysts and practitioners.
Mahat was not the only foreign minister to float such a scheme. Almost every foreign minister who assumed their office in the last 11 years had announced the need to frame a new foreign policy charter.
Two such documents were drafted in the last decade.
Does foreign policy have to be formulated under every new government? It is not. But our foreign minister seems to think that each government needs to review foreign policy in the same way they review the domestic policy.
In the past two documents were prepared to this effect but they were not implemented due to frequent change in the leadership of the foreign ministry.
Of course, the foreign policy cannot be changed frequently no matter which party forms government. The parties should maintain uniformity in handling the foreign policy of the country. But in Nepal, the political parties have not yet developed this culture and they are often divided over the foreign policy.
The political parties have often divided opinions in regards to Nepal’s relations with India.  It is all not due to lack of policy but the tendency of pleasing India as a ladder to reach power.

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