On Foreign Policy
The book highlights different aspects
of Nepalese foreign policy
Nepal's Foreign Policy: Issues
Published by : Institute of Foreign
Affairs in cooperation with Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung
By KESHAB POUDEL
Although Nepal is a small land-locked
country, it has immense problems in dealing with foreign
relation issues. Sandwiched between two great powers of
Asia, handling foreign policy is always a complicated
task for Nepal.
Despite such strategic importance of
the country, only few people talk about the importance
of Nepalese foreign policy and its constraints.
In cooperation with Friedrech-Ebert-Stiftung,
Institute of Foreign Affairs organized national seminar
on August 20-21 to discuss the issues and options of the
Nepal's foreign policy. Based on report proceedings of
the National seminar, the book highlights different aspects
of Nepalese foreign policy.
Foreign policy needs a strong and broad
national consensus as it is the basis to protect national
interest and sovereignty. That diplomacy is said to be
successful that promotes national interest.
In a country where questions related
to foreign policy are hardly debated and discussed, there
is naturally confusion and contradiction on policy matters.
After the restoration of democracy, Nepal has seen frequent
changes in its foreign policy.
After the restoration of democracy in
1990, the first elected goevernment of Nepali Congress
preached that democracy and human rights are the top agenda
of foreign policy. It did not last long as a small nation
Nepal could not protect its national interest by preaching
At a time when the country's foreign
policy is in confusion regarding its appraoch to achieve
the goal, the debate and discussion of experts helped
to identify issues and options.
The article contributed by professor
Krishna Khanal discussed a review: Prospects of consensus
and Reorientation. In his paper Khanal evaluated different
aspects of the foreign policy and commitment of all major
Professor Khanal also discussed the
evolution Nepal's foreign policy talking about non-aligned
movement and regional cooperation SAARC as historic perspective,
Khanal discussed foreign policy of King Prithvi Narayan
Shah to Rana regime and the democratic Nepal within the
context of 1950 treaty of peace and friendship with India.
Professor Lok Raj Baral in his article
Bhutanese Refugees in Nepal: Quest for New Confidence
Building Measures discussed the refugee problem. Former
Royal Nepalese ambassdor to India (also accredited to
Bhutan), Dr. Baral explained the Nepal-Bhutan relations
and status of refugees. According to Dr. Baral, it is
Nepal's fault to accept Bhutanese as refugees during the
time of their arrival and argued that Nepal should have
done more homework before accepting them as refugees.
"The manner and spontaneity with which Bhutanese
were received in Nepal could have been done on the basis
of cool and calculated approaches to the issue instead
of hugging them in competitive manners," Dr. Baral
says in his article.
Dr. Yuba Raj Khatiwada in his article
Globalization Cooperation and National Prorities discussed
about the role of the country in the context of globalization.
Dr. Khatiwada discussed role of integrated regional and
international trade and difficulties to the country.
He suggested that Nepal needs to review
overall policy matters and geographical reality before
joining the gloable trade organizations. "Nepal's
linkage with the global market is possible only with her
easy acess to the sea. Therefore, her priority would be
the development of transport infrastructure and transit
facilitation among the SAARC countries where India is
a major player by the size of her economy and central
location," said Khatiwada in his article.
Prabhakar SJB Rana in his article Nepal's
pursuit of economic diplomacy stresses the need to change
the tradional concept on Nepalese diplomacy and shift
it with a greater emphasis on economic diplomacy.
"There is a remarkable shift-particularly
in the last two decades-from state control to market oriented
economy brought about principally by the collapse of the
colonial empires and the emergence of independent states
in Asia and Africa known as third World," says Rana.
In an other paper Nepal's Economic Diplomacy
Challenges and Prospects, Phanindra Subba argues the need
to review the challenges of diplomacy. He argues that
economic diplomacy has been an important component of
Nepal's total foreign policy ever since her emergence
as modern state more than two centuries ago.
The concept of economic diplomacy is
not new for Nepal as she has pursued an activist trade
policy and her foreign policy was focussed on her trading
interest during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
"The thrust of Nepal's economic diplomacy was then
directed primarily towards achieving, consolidating and
safeguarding her position as the only entreport in the
trans-Himalayn Trade routes," says Subba.
The seminar held after a long time to
discuss and identify the thrusts of Nepalese foreign policy,
however, failed to appropriately address the more pressing
demands of the changing geo-politics.
The National Newsmagazine, Vol. 19, February 17, 2000.