What should be Nepal’s foreign policy like: Outcome of 8th Citizens gathering on “What next for Nepal”

This 8th meeting focused on Nepal’s Foreign Policies and the relationship with its immediate neighbors. All participants were asked to suggest or give their view on the what our Foreign Policy should be like: Here are some recommendations.

  • Formulating India friendly foreign policy initially to systematize the current economic mess.
  • Frequent self assessment of problems to seek active ways towards self dependency.
  • Making short term, mid-term, Long term foreign policy strategies.
  • Focusing on long term vision while signing long term bilateral and multilateral treaties.
  • One door foreign policy and uniform line of communication
  • Adopting SWARAJ campaign to link to support Nepali native products and skills thereby promoting the Nepali entrepreneurship.
  • Stimulating the economic growth by kicking off with the Capitalist modality of economy then moving on to socialist model as wealth comes in.
  • Exploring the causes of the current situation that is beyond India: Analysis of role/interest of other Countries and Donor driven developmental dynamics in Nepal

The direct intervention of the foreign diplomats in the political issues and demystifying conspiracy theories was the kick off point for the discussion.

Politicians of Nepal’s disregard of diplomatic norms and beggar attitude with Foreign diplomatic missions is one of the main reasons for the access foreign interventions.
One interesting analogy for the re-occurrence of constant foreign intervention in the political and policy matters within Nepal was that we have created this mess ourselves.
If we happen to keep our premises filthy, dirty and stinky, one day our neighbors themselves will be compelled intervene with their own cleaning tools and take care of our mess as the smell from our mess was giving them a hard time.

The propaganda that our political leaders been using against their opponents when their authority is questioned, but not with academic and logical response. They have branded their opponents as one of the spy agents of the foreign land and so on. And, mainly India has been mostly blamed for everything. As a result, if some Indian company comes to Nepal for investment their presence is neither appreciated nor respected. Anything Indian has been looked from the point of hostility, culture of defaming India has often been used to express the Nepalese nationalist feelings.  As an example: If the Indian Company and the US Company are given the hydro project in two different places over the same terms of conditions the act of giving Indian Company a contract will be taken as something equal to non-nationalist act.

The level of political lobbying and the foreign policy in Nepal is not uniform, even within one political party the their approach to India or any other country is dealt by many leaders in different capacities making it easier for the foreign counter parts to have their strong grip over our fragmentation and weaknesses.

There should be common national foreign policy agenda based on National Consensus and defined line of communication with the foreign counterparts. The political forces should get together for the forming the national consensus and not getting divided among themselves. One-door foreign policy and the national consensus may be only possible where there is a majority government; if that is so they should strive for getting clear majority in the parliament and not fighting and fragmenting among themselves. Majority government is also one of the bases of stability which is vital for economic prosperity.

One opinion was that  during the Panchyaat the Paanchsheel was a successful foreign policy because then Nepal had one door foreign policy. One door foreign policy is also possible in democracy but it depends on the character of the politicians.

On economic lines, comparative study of other BIPPA agreements Nepal have with other countries need to be done concluding its advantage, disadvantage or relevance. However, some participants also highlighted that the BIPPA agreement with India lacks a clear vision and is not in favor of Nepalese economy as it has backfiring provisions to compensate Indian investors for their loss even due to the load shedding.

The challenges as well as the opportunities from the geopolitics of the country gives us lots of opportunities to flourish between to economic giants. The concept of Inter-dependence was floated. For example economic links should be sought between Nepal and India for e.g. promoting the religious touristic possibility between the birth place of Buddha and his tomb, between the Ramjanma Bhumi and Janakpur and many more, which can extract lots of economic benefits to the Nepal.

One of the participants made a very interesting observation in Nepal’s relation with India. According to him it is not only the political or economic debate that is in stake rather the most of the social aspects of Nepalese population is related with India. Mostly the western Nepal’s economy has been since very long is dependent with India for employment.  Similarly, the one of the biggest Indian Military Regiments consists of Nepalese nationals and their pension stations are situated in almost all the districts of Nepal, hence India has been in control of these spheres in Nepal in many ways both hidden and on surface.  India might look like a giant enemy for many but has its big supporters in the rural Nepal and this has been one of the India’s successful strategies in retaining influence in Nepal.

See you this coming Saturday 9:45 am GAA, Thamel.