Before the unification of Nepal by late king Prithvi Narayan Shah (P N Shah), major interactions were limited among the “Baaise”- “Chaubise” statelets. A trade route, between then Tibet in the North and many statelets of modern Indian territory in the South, passing via Kathmandu gave it vital strategic importance. Despite the strategic advantage, no major incidents of squabble have been recorded with the states out of modern Nepali territory. With the ongoing unification process of Nepal under the leadership of P. N. Shah, in his 32 years rule (1743 – 1775 AD), Nepal’s ambition of expansion amplified.
King PN Shah was not only a strategic warrior but also a diplomat who knew how to protect his country from foreign powers. His understanding of Nepal as a “yam between two boulders” and suggestions not to dispute with big powers but retaliate only in case of offense are examples of his diplomatic excellence. But his successors could not realize the underlying defensive strategic idea behind his saying, “Jaai Katak nagarnu jhiki katak garnu” that means not to meddle with others unless confronted or attacked. The depth of his strategic economic thinking is explicitly expressed in a saying, “do not let the merchants from the South come up from the border lest they will leave the people poor”, indicating the expansion of the East India Company.
The unification process continued and Gorkhali soldiers were successful in territorial expansion even after the demise of PN Shah. The territories expanded up to “Tista” in the East and “Kaangdaa” in the west across the Satlaj River during the tenure of Bahadur Shah, the prince regent, and Bhimsen Thapa, Prime Minister General. The success fueled increased ambition for further expansion, which led to failure in consolidating acquired territories. In the meantime, the unification process encountered rapidly expanding British colonial forces in the South led to the Nepal-Anglo war. The war that culminated in the defeat of the Gorkhali Forces turned highly expensive. As a consequence, Nepal not only lost one-third of its territory to the East India Company but also was forced to accept an insulting “Sughauli” treaty in 1816. This treaty forced Nepal back to the defensive posture, determined the course of Nepal’s foreign relations beginning political, strategic, and economic dependency on British India. Despite the efforts to disrupt the constriction imposed by the British Empire, inadequate economic and strategic capacity limited the maneuverability of the PN shah’s successors.
The stages of Nepal’s international relations and foreign policy:
1. War with neighbors
It is obvious that any country pays serious attention to relations with its neighbors. The history of Nepal witnesses serious ups and downs in relations with both the neighbors, China (Tibet) and India, largely as a friend and some of the times as foes. The nature of such relations varies accordingly, during the period of war and peace. The history of foreign affairs, two centuries ago, was basically a period of battle and war.
1.1 Nepal-Tibet war
Nepal fought four wars with its Northern neighbor, among them, three were during the process of unification and the other after Jung Bahadur Rana ascended to power.
1.2 Nepal-Anglo War
After Mir Jafar, the army chief of emperor Sirajudullah, in order to become emperor helped East India Company in the war of ‘Palasi’in 1757. The British colonial forces were gradually taking over states of modern Indian Territory, benefiting from the rivalry between those states and power struggles within. The British colonial expansions impelled king Prithvi Narayan Shah to strengthen Nepal by limiting interactions with foreigners. During the same period, British colonialism and Nepal both were expanding by engulfing the various statelets in their respective territories. In due process, Nepal, expanding to modern Indian territories in all the directions annexed ‘Kumoun’ and ‘Garhawal’ in the meanwhile the British colonial forces were advancing towards Nepal. This led to encounters between Nepal and the British colonial forces resulting in Nepal-Anglo War on many frontiers. Despite the heavy loss of lives, wealth, and territory in war the British forces could not colonize Nepal. The gallantry and resistance of the Gorkhali forces impelled the British Empire to end the war that resulted in the Sugauli treaty in 1816 which limited the territorial expansion of Nepal.
As Jung Bahadur Rana consolidated power, in order to settle dispute emerged between Nepal and Tibet, he deployed troops to Tibet in 1855. When, Nepali troops advanced to ‘Kirong’, ‘Guntagadhi’, Jhunga’ and ‘Kuti’, Tibet sent a delegation to Kathmandu for negotiations. In January 1856, Nepal and Tibet reached an agreement to end the war in the ‘Thapathali’ treaty. This treaty allowed Nepal to appoint a courtier conferred with the title ‘Wakil’ in Tibet.
Stage of Appeasement Policy
Jung Bahadur Rana grabbed power curtailing authorities of Shah Monarchy, was shrewd enough to understand the expanding might of the British Empire and access limitations of Nepal, adopted a policy of non-confrontation and friendship with the colonial power. Gradually, the Rana Prime Ministers after him highly devoted to the South transformed policy of non-confrontation and friendship to appeasement.
2.1 Visits to the ‘Great Britain’
Jung Bahadur, being assured of his regime’s stability, visited Great Britain that lasted for more than one year from 15th January 1950 to 6th February 1951. The objective of this visit was to consolidate in the power center, entangled in power struggles and conspiracies, enhancing friendship with expanding powerful British Empire, and also to get recognition from the British and Europeans.
Nepal was recognized as an independent country, for the first time, by the European Powers particularly, the British and French, during his visit. The visit was an achievement that was able to clear the misunderstanding about the status of Nepal among the Europeans, as a colony of the British Empire in the Himalayas, the land of warrior Gorkhali ethnics.
Jung Bahadur visited the British Queen Victoria and other high-rank officials, went to France, and met President Luis Napoleon. In the visit, serious heed was paid to salutations, receiving person, and residence. In addition to being Prime minister, he was also an emissary of the Monarch. His extravagancy – strange Nepali costume, unique culinary and lavish lifestyle –impressed Europeans, was reported in the newspapers.
Prime Minister, Chandra Shamsher, who visited Britain after Jung Bahadur, followed the footsteps of Jung Bahadur. He furthered appeasement policy and prudently maneuvered diplomacy was conscious to protect his own and nation’s dignity. In an incident, he avoided soliciting the inappropriate interest of the British envoy, owing to discontent among courtiers. On 13th April 1919, he had described his dissatisfaction to acting foreign political secretary of British India, Colonel R. I. Halland, regarding ‘his highness award and chaotic revere during his Calcutta and Britain visits:
“In 1904 during my visit to Calcutta, I was received by a two-horse carriage rather than a four-horse carriage. I was tried to convince that a four-horse carriage was not available but the viceroy used the same during the return visit. They could have sent the same four-horse carriage used by the viceroy. In Britain, occasionally they messed up writing my designation even on official programs. I am stating these dissatisfactions because Nepal’s independence and dignity shall be kept in mind.”
During his period Treaty of Perpetual Peace and Friendship was signed in 1923 which recognized Nepal as a sovereign and independent country in South Asia.
2.2 Military Support to British
Gorkha recruitment, begun before the Sugauli treaty, became prevalent in the aftermath. During the period, British India was facing a crisis because of resistance uprisings. In order to quell the resistance, the British colonial administration was, time and again, seeking assistance from Nepali forces. In return to military support from Nepal, the Ranas used to receive wealth and honor, appropriated personally.
(A) Sipoy Mutiny
As per the increasing cordiality of Nepal’s diplomatic relations with British India, troops lead by Jung Bahadur himself to Lukhnow, fought in nine different places to regain control over Sepoy Mutiny. In return, Nepal had regained ‘Banke’, ‘Bardiya’, ‘Kailali’ and ‘Kanchanpur’ as a reward.
(B) Nepal in the First World War
During the First World War, Nepal sent troops to different fronts in accordance with the bilateral coordination with British India. The fronts were Vajirsthan and Afghanistan in 1917 and 1919 respectively.
(C) Nepal in the Second World War
Rana Prime Minister Judhha Shamsher sent Nepali troops to assist the British forces in 1940. The troops had return back in 1945 after the end of the Second World War. Juddha Shamsher had welcomed the Nepali troops at ‘Tudikhel’ in presence of the British ambassador.
(D) ‘Hydarabad’ Problem
After India achieved independence, the crisis began in Hyderabad. Surjit Singh Majithia, the Indian ambassador to Nepal, wrote a letter and requested military support from Nepal. Nepal sent 20 battalions of troops to control the riots, the troops returned back after eight months as the assigned task was accomplished. They were honored jointly by Prime Minister Mohan Shamsher and the Indian ambassador Surjit Singh Majithia, who also thanked each other, organizing a special occasion at Tudikhel on 3rd April 1948.
3. Dubious role of the Monarch
Although Bahadur Shah, son of P N Shah, according to his father’s preceptions to keep foreigners away during Nepal’s expansion, his successors did not follow the teachings. For more than a century, Jung Bahadur seized power and kept monarchs away from state affairs. The Rana rulers, in the family feuds, unlike the Shahs’, began to take asylum in the British embassy marking a new phenomenon in the history of Nepal. A well-known example is that Rana’s family members had taken sanctuary in the British embassy in 1942 while their family tussle was in the climax. In a power struggle between Shahs and Ranas, King Tribhuvan took asylum in the Indian embassy to regain power. Prime Minister Mohan Shamsher sent his son, Major General Bijay Shamsher, and the King’s nephew, Major General Arjun Shamsher to bring back the King but the Indian ambassador Chandreshwor Prasad Narayan Sinha didn’t respond to them. The crisis led to the Tripartite Delhi Agreement resulting at an end of the Rana oligarchy. As a consequence of the nation entered into a democratic era but increased the Indian influence over Nepal from the 1950s.
India after the independence endeavored to sign ‘The Peace and Friendship Treaty of 1950 with Mohan Shamsher, the last Rana Prime Minister with the consensus of King and Nepali Congress which is known as the Delhi Agreement resulting in Rana-Congress transitional government. King Tribhuvan returned from the asylum with an informal agreement with the Indian authorities to grant permission to the Indian ambassador’s participation in the cabinet meetings of the Nepal Government. Besides these all, Indian employee Govind Narayan assumed the high post as the King’s personal secretary in accordance with the press statement released by the King on 24th October 1951. Since then, a new system was introduced that Indian participation in any foreign visits became unavoidable. It is observed as an unnecessary intervention of a foreign power upon the sovereign nation. That exerted tremendous influence on the Nepali political course, thereafter.
Some political observers are of the opinion that if the Nepali political parties had not been formed on Indian soil and King Tribhuvan had not taken asylum in the Indian embassy; the Indian influence upon Nepali affairs would not have been as it is today. In 1955, King Mahendra enthroned, introduced a foreign policy shift of maintaining equidistance between the Northern and Southern neighbors.
King Birendra, enthroned on 31st January 1972 followed the footprints of his father in foreign policy. In addition, he put forward a proposal of ‘Zone of Peace’ (ZoP) amongst sixty representatives from different countries during his coronation ceremony in 1975. Though Zoe was endorsed by 116 countries, only the immediate neighbor, India opposed the proposal because of coveted interests. Indian ambassador Rashgotra has mentioned-
“…rumors had reached me about a plan being hatched in the palace to fire an ‘amodhastra’ – an infallible missile – on India. This came in the shape of Nepal’s desire to become a Zone of Peace…..was a metaphor for neutrality…..I advised the government to neither accept nor reject the ZoP proposal and keep asking the Nepalese what its implications will be for India-Nepal relation.”
King Gyanendra enthroned on the 1st June 2001 after the royal massacre lost credibility from the people, mainstream political parties, and the international community. As he dismissed an elected government and took over state authority on the 1st February 2005, visited African countries that, so far, have no significant interaction and importance to Nepal. During his tenure, the monarch failed to garner any diplomatic support for his takeover, finally, the centuries-old history of the Nepalese Monarchy came to an end on the 28th of May 2008.
4. Nepal’s Foreign Policy
Nepal lies in such a prime geostrategic location, based on which, the foreign policy of Nepal is to be formulated and pursued, neutral and non-aligned foreign policy is the only viable option. Nepal is based on fundamental ideas of the five principles of Panchasheel, the UN charter, role as a committed member of United Nations, leader of the non-aligned movement, and a founder of SAARC, playing an active role in the international arena.
Nepal, defining sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity as its core national interest is committed to pursuing a non-aligned foreign policy. Nepal has always spoken up in international forums like United Nations to promote world peace and has also made significant contributions in the UN peacekeeping missions abroad. Part four (4), Article 50, Sub-article (4) of the constitution-2015 of Nepal under ‘State’s Directive Principles’ provisions:
“The state shall direct its international relations towards enhancing the dignity of the nation in the world community by maintaining international relations on the basis of sovereign equality while safeguarding the freedom, sovereignty, territorial integrity, independence and national interest of Nepal”
On this basis, it can be observed that the Charter of United Nations, non-aligned foreign policy, and five principles of coexistence are foundations to protect the national interest of small and strategically important countries like Nepal. Irrespective to change in any government, the fundamentals of foreign policy are not changeable. But equally, it is a fact that Nepal has not been to adopt and execute stable and effective foreign policy because of the changing priorities of changing governments.
5. Institutional Arrangement
Operations of international relations require effective and dynamic diplomatic institutions. Foreign services should be made highly capable and dignified because of their direct concerns with pride, prestige, and national glory. Nepal had also significantly promoted diplomatic service from the unification era.
- Establishment of Foreign Ministry
Institution to maintain foreign relations in Nepal has been historically initiated from the period of king P N Shah, though they were not named as ‘foreign ministry’, it was called ‘Jaisi Kotha’ charged to look after Tibetan affairs. Later, it was renamed as ‘Munsi Khana’ in the reign of Bhimsen Thapa. That was further specialized under Junga Bahadur Rana into ‘British-India department’, ‘Jaisi Kotha’ and ‘Munsi Captain’s Adda’ and again, it was reorganized into five offices ‘ Jaisi Kotha’, ‘Amin Goshwara’, ‘Simaa Survey’, ‘India-British Bibhaag’ and ‘Munsi Captain’s Adda’ along with a support office ‘Singha Durbar Farmaaisi Adda’ during the regime of Chandra Shamsher. After 1914, in English correspondence, the foreign affairs institution was upgraded to the level of department referred to as Foreign Department and appointed Director-General as the head.
The foreign ministry in Nepal was established in 1951, after the political change. Nepal rapidly initiated and expanded diplomatic relations, accomplished members of the United Nations and the Non-Aligned Movement. Within a decade, Nepal established bilateral ties with 26 countries and also achieved success to present itself as an active member of the international community.
During the regime of King Mahendra, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) was divided into different divisions respective to work allocations. During the Panchayati regime under the king, Birendra’s leading role was played in the formation of SAARC during this period. In this period, Nepal opened embassies in 15 countries, 19 friendly countries opened embassies in Nepal, established diplomatic relations with more than a hundred countries.
Today, Nepal has diplomatic relations with 144 countries, 29 embassies, two permanent missions, and five consulate general offices abroad. Similarly, there are 27 countries’ residential embassies in Nepal. The Institute of Foreign Affairs (IFA) is formed after the restoration of democracy to promote diplomacy. After 2007 a separate ‘Foreign Service Group’ is formed to appoint staff in the ministry.
- Appointment of ambassadors
At the very beginning, Nepal appointed Bahadur Shamsher, the son of PM Juddha Shamsher as its first ambassador to Britain on the 6th of April 1934. He was the Director-General of foreign affairs which were equivalent to the minister at the moment. The embassy in Britain was only the embassy of Nepal abroad for 13 years. After Bahadur Shamsher, the three sons of Chandra Shamsher; Krishna Shamsher, Singha Shamsher, and Keshar Shamsher assumed the post of ambassador to Britain. The second embassy of Nepal was established in India after its independence from British colonialism in 1947. As the first ambassador, Singha Shamsher who had already served in Britain was sent to India. After the inception of democracy in 1950, Babar Shamsher was removed from forest ministry to be appointed as an ambassador to India and Singha Shamsher was called back, but then PM Mohan Shamsher sent his son Bijay Shamsher as the second ambassador to India.
In the diplomatic history of Nepal, 233 ambassadors have been appointed. Among them, 133 are political appointments and 100 are career diplomats. One among them is appointed four times, two appointed thrice, and twenty-eight for twice as ambassadors, out of which 196 of which 121 are political appointees and the rest are from Foreign Service.
The embassy of Nepal to Italy was closed after two ambassadors had worked and in Iran also while the acting ambassador was working. Embassies of Indonesia, Libya, Poland, and East Germany are closed in Nepal and Switzerland has reopened after closing once.
Being appointed four times in the diplomatic history of Nepal, Jharendra Narayan Singh has been opportune to be the ambassador of Nepal to Russia, India, Egypt, and Britain. Among the three times, ambassadors two were the foreign secretaries. Padam Bahadur Khatri became ambassador to the USA two times and to the United Nations once and Sardar Yadu Nath Khanal became ambassador to India, China, and Britain, similarly, Dr. Bhesh Bahadur Thapa became ambassador to the USA two times and once to India.
Some eminent persons like former Prime Minister Matrika Prasad Koirala, former Chief justice duo Anirudra Pratap Singh and Nayan Bahadur Khatri became ambassadors to the USA, Egypt, and China respectively.
In the long history of foreign affairs and ambassadorial appointments, there are four examples of the resignation of ambassadors before the completion of their tenure. They were Matrika Prassad Koirala, Yadu Nath Khanal, Dr. Mohan Man Sainju and Chakra Prasad Bastola. Three ambassadors returned in special circumstances during the Panchayat era. They were Mahendra Bikram Shah, Bishow Pradhan, and Prakash Chandra Thakur respectively from India, the USA, and Japan. After the reinstate of democracy, uncertainty in diplomatic appointments has loomed, ambassadors are removed as if they are employees of private corporations with the changes in government.
6. The burden of unequal treaties
King Rana Bahadur Shah relinquished from power, enthroned his son Girvana, went to seclusion, and tried to resume the power again in 1799 despite disagreement with Kaji Damodar Pande. Surmising over the inevitable war in Nepal, he went to Banaras and requested to the British government for his reinstate in the throne assuring a lion share of Nepali revenue about 50 % of the Terai and 37.5% of Hills. At the moment, the British were looking for an opportunity for domination over Nepal. Amid the power struggles in the Palace, the first Nepal-British treaty of 1801 paved a way to establish the British residency in Nepal was signed that evoked massive dispute in Kathmandu. Ultimately, Captain Knox, the British resident, left Kathmandu in 1803. Following a consequence of wrangling in Kathmandu as well as between the Nepal government and British colonial authorities, General Wellesley, the governor of British India, annulled the treaty in 1804.
The Sugauli treaty of 1816 is another insulting treaty for Nepal. It does only constricted Nepal territorially, losing one-third of its part, sovereignty, and ability to self-determination. To elaborate, the establishment of the British residency in Nepal, the beginning of Gorkha recruitment, mandatory approval from the British government before appointing any foreign employees, restrictions to intervene in the king of Sikkim were some enforced provisions. After defeat in the Nepal-Anglo war, Nepal was forced to agree on unequal agreements. On the 2nd December 1815, a treaty was signed by ‘Raajguru’ Gajaraj Mishra from Nepal and Lt. Colonel Paris Bradshaw from Britain, to be validated after the king of Nepal signs within fifteen days. Following the incident, the people of Kathmandu protested against the unequal provisions of the treaty leading to rejection in four months. As a consequence, the colonial administration got irritated, the British force invaded and arrived at Makawanpur on the 4th March 1816, compelled Nepal to hand over a letter of agreement. The treaty was handed over to General David Ochterlony through Chandrashekhar Upadhyaya. Since then date, Nepal is disenabled to the position to consort the Indian interest. Although in the 1923 treaty, Britain has respected the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Nepal, the wounds of the Sughauli treaty will never be healing.
Another treaty, much-hyped and has politicized, is the Nepal-India Peace and Friendship treaty signed during the period of Prime Minister Mohan Shamsher on the 31st July 1950. This treaty was criticized stating that it has accepted unequal relationships between two countries. The major concern upon the treaty of 1950 has been articulated by the communist parties of Nepal. The discontent over unequal provisions in the 1950 treaty was diplomatically expressed during the communist government, the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Madhav Kumar Nepal during his visit to India in 1995 to the Indian Prime Minister P. V. Narsigh Rao for the first time that was also reiterated by the Prime Minister Manmohan Adhikari in his India visit.
“In fact, the Prime Minister’s visit was presaged by the visit of Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign and Defense Minister Mr. Madhav Kumar Nepal, who had already broached his government’s feelings on all important bilateral issues to the Indian side…..Both Prime Ministers covered different aspects of bilateral relations including review of the Treaty of Peace and Friendship of 1950”
The Maoists, in a memorandum handed over to Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba just before declaring armed insurgency, demanded to discard the 1950 treaty. Later, concern over the treaty was also raised in the visit of Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal.
The issue was previously limited to rhetoric brought into high consideration and an Eminent Persons’ Group (EPG) has been constituted by both parties in order to review all the treaties between the two countries. The EPG is mandated to brood over and recommend to the respective governments regarding modification and amendments of the treaty. The major concern raised over the treaty related to security provisioned in Article-5 that intends to bring Nepal under the ‘Indian security umbrella’ and limits options for arms procurement. That has been reinforced by the letter of exchange between Nepal-Indian 1965 endow with the upper hand to India.
The first Article of the treaty begins, “two countries will respect each other’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, and independence”, and Article-5 states, “the government of Nepal shall be free to import, from or through the territory of India, arms, ammunition or warlike material and equipment necessary for the security of Nepal. The procedure for giving effect to this agreement shall be worked out by two governments acting in consultation”
It has also been interpreted that the provision in Article-5 is the reason behind Nepal’s inability to import weapons from any other country. The Article-1 of the treaty agrees on both country’s independence contrary to Article-5. It can be interpreted that this Article has established Nepal’s right to import arms, warlike materials, and equipment from or through India. This spirit of the agreement is to consult only if Nepal has to import arms only from or through India. Despite that, India interpreted import arms procurement from China in 1988, obviously not through India, as a violation of the 1950 treaty and the letter of exchange, and the Indian foreign secretary K. P. S. Menon written a letter of protest to the Nepali Embassy in New Delhi. In pretext, India imposed eighteen months-long blockades over Nepal during the people’s movement. India also objected when the then Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba had brought arms for the Nepal army from Belgium in 2058 BS.
Another sensational subject concerned to security is – the Letter of Exchange between Nepal and India exchanged on the 30th January 1965 regarding Nepal’s import of weapons. The letter of exchange address many strategic issues, the Indian government agrees to: provide arms, ammunitions, warlike materials, and equipment to around 17000 Nepali military; equip Nepali army with new arms instead of older ones; provide training for Nepal Army on request from Nepali government; train Nepali army officers in India. Similarly, India also agreed to provide logistic support and financial aid to the Nepali military.
The peace and friendship treaty might have been necessary at the time when it was signed. At the time, India was just independent, the Rana regime in the last days might have been in confusion about the policies and priorities. The Nehru’s pursued the policy of the Himalayan frontier considering the Himalayas as security armor of India. In such a turmoil period, some of the commentators have considered that India had respected Nepal’s sovereignty, independence, and integrity as an achievement. The Rana regime was on the verge of collapse due to internal conflict and family disputes as well as at the same time Nepali Congress had launched an armed struggle against the regime and neighbor India was being ruled by Nehru like a stalwart leader after the independence. Comparing to the days gone by, the world has changed a lot, aspirations of the people have come up and requirements of both the countries stimulated. Therefore, the then priorities could not keep the pace with changed context.
Koshi Agreement was signed during the tenure of Matrika Prasad Koirala as a Prime Minister of Nepal on the 25thArpil 1954, and the Gandak Agreement, signed during Bisheshwor Prasad Koirala as a Prime Minister of Nepal on the 4th December 1959, both the agreements are controversial in Nepal.
Since then, voices have been raised that the agreements are in favor of India. Similarly, the Tanakpur treaty signed in 1991 during the tenure of Girija Prasad Koirala as a Prime Minister was also controversial. The Supreme Court had given a verdict for the ratification of the treaty from the parliament; therefore, the treaty was nullified. Additionally, Integrated Mahakali Treaty that India considered as a great achievement, signed on the 12th February 1996 in the tenure of Sher Bahadur Deuba as a Prime Minister was also not free of disputes. Dispute over the Mahakali Treaty divided major opposition party CPN (UML) and several accusations were made to its leaders. Ironically, a treaty conducted with such high risk has not yielded any results in two decades; even a detailed project report is yet to be prepared. Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPPA) signed on the 21st October 2011 to protect Indian investment during the tenure of Baburam Bhattarai was also under controversy and Supreme Court has ordered to halt its execution.
History witnesses that Nepal has not been able to negotiate bilateral treaties based upon mutual benefits. The failure is a result of inadequate preparations, higher sway of the counterpart, and inferiority complex to some extent on our side.
The foreign policy of any country is defined as an extension of its domestic politics. Further, any country’s ability to project power depends upon its internal strength. Any country can be able to define its role in the international arena unless it is economically and strategically strong.
Shall Nepal stay as a yam between two big neighbors as stated by King Prithvi Narayan Shah 250 years earlier or shall it act as a bridge connecting China and India? This is a pertinent question. We can strengthen and deepen our International relations, only on the condition that we are able to cultivate the culture of cooperation with our two neighbors based on mutual benefits.
Let the country be large or small, in size, their sovereignty should equally be honored. For the ages, Nepal has been an independent and glorious country that pays serious consideration to the sensitivities of our neighboring countries and expects the same. Until we explore the economic opportunities to develop self-reliance, we won’t be able to address our strategic and economic vulnerability arisen from dependency.
New Era, the official mouthpiece of CPN (UML), 2016