Ambassadors are the most visible faces of Indian diplomacy in Nepal and they are not always thought to be pursuing diplomacy. Some, like the current ambassador Jayant Prasad’s immediate predecessor Rakesh Sood, was widely believed to be one of the worst examples of Indian intervention and failed diplomacy in Nepal. While in India (or in their Ministry of External Affairs) these people are normal employees, diplomats who don’t attract much attention unless they are involved in major scandal or become foreign secretary. But as soon as they land in Kathmandu with the coveted portfolio of the Indian ambassador for Nepal they become celebrities. Media extensively covers the Indian Ambassadors movements and decisions in Nepal and give high priority to anything that is related to an Indian envoy. That is largely because the Indian ambassadors “implement” the enormously influential Indian policy in Nepal- some by diplomatically and some by offensively interventionist ways. Rarely in the world ambassadors get to hobnob with prime ministers and top leaders of a host country like the Indian ambassadors do with the Nepali leadership. Because of all these factors, we at UWB have decided to keep track of the Indian ambassador in Kathmandu as far as possible. Here are some headlines that give enough idea about the arrival of the current ambassador and his activities in the first week since he assumed office in August 26.
Indian Envoy Meets Sher Bahadur Deuba
SEP 01- Indian Ambassador to Nepal Jayant Prasad met Nepali Congress senior leader Sher Bahadur Deuba at the latter’s residence in Budhanilkantha on Thursday. It has been reported that Prasad enquired about the peace and statute drafting processes during the meeting. The Indian envoy also emphasized the bilateral relation between the two countries. The duo also held discussion on new government formation, Nepal’s peace process, drafting of a democratic constitution, and challenges and opportunities for both the countries.
Indian Envoy Meets Pushpa Kamal Dahal
AUG 31 -Indian Ambassador to Nepal Jayant Prasad has enquired about the peace and statute drafting processes. In a meeting with UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal on Wednesday, the Indian envoy also emphasized the bilateral relation between the two countries. Dahal, on his part, said that the government would work in coalition with the parties.
“Prasad said that the relation between the two countries should be strengthened,” Maoist leader Krishna Bahadur Mahara told the reporters after the meeting. “He [Prasad] said that all the political parties should move ahead being united. In reply, our chairman [Dahal] said that we are trying to cooperate with all the parties for the peace and constitution.”
The meeting was primarily a courtesy call that focused on discussion to strengthen the tie between the two countries, Mahara, who was also present during the meeting, added. At the meeting Dahal also made commitments on behalf of the government and the parties to strengthen the relation between the two countries.
Prasad calls on PM Khanal‚ stresses bilateral ties
AUG 28- Jayanta Prasad, the new Indian ambassador, today paid a courtesy call on outgoing Prime Minister Jhala Nath Khanal at his official residence in Baluwatar. “While congratulating Prasad on his assumption of ambassadorship, he said the age-old ties between the two countries had further developed,” said a press statement issued by the outgoing PM’s external affairs adviser Milan Raj Tuladhar.
“We have received support from our close neighbor India and we hope to receive more cooperation in future,” Tuladhar quoted Khanal. “He said India’s rapid economic growth will have a very positive impact on Nepal and the whole of Asia and we wish to see even further progress in India.”
Khanal recalled his interactions as minister in the interim government in early 90s with Prof Bimal Prasad (Prasad’s father) when he served as ambassador of India. “Ambassador Prasad expressed his happiness for the opportunity to serve in Nepal. He said that our relationship is intertwined and we have special interest in the growth and development of Nepal,” read the statement. “Any adverse development in Nepal will also adversely affect India. He said he would not take a wait-and-see approach with regard to the transitional situation, but work to develop our relationship notwithstanding the political situation here.”
Indian envoy calls on UML leader Nepal
AUG 27- Newly appointed Indian ambassador Jayant Prasad met with senior CPN-UML leader Madhav Kumar Nepal Saturday morning in his first political meeting in Nepal. During the meeting held at Nepal’s residence in Koteshwor, Prasad is learnt to have expressed his concern over Nepal’s ongoing peace process. The two also discussed the latest political developments mainly the parties’ homeworks to form next government.
Prasad, who arrived in Kathmandu on Thursday, presented his credentials to President Baran Yadav yesterday. His predecessor Rakesh Sood had courted controversy by starting political meetings before presenting his credentials.
Prasad, 58, a career diplomat, was special secretary at India’s Ministry of External Affairs before being appointed ambassador to Nepal. He had also served as Indian ambassador to Afghanistan and Algeria. He is Indian Foreign Service’s 1976 batch as Sood.
Indian Envoy Prasad meets NC Prez Koirala
AUG 27 – Indian Ambassador to Nepal Jayant Prasad met Nepali Congress President Sushil Koirala at the latter’s residence in Maharajgunj, Kathmandu on Saturday. Earlier, the Indian envoy reportedly met NC Parliamentary Party leader and prime ministerial candidate Ram Chandra Poudel. After the meeting Prasad said that the meeting was just a courtesy call, whereas Koirala’s words are not known yet.
Prasad assumes office, meets DPM
AUG 26- The new Indian Ambassador to Nepal, Jayant Prasad, presented his letter of credentials to President Dr Ram Baran Yadav on Friday. Prasad also held brief talks with Foreign Secretary Madan Kumar Bhattrai and other Foreign Ministry officials at India House during a toast offered by Prasad. After the toast, Prasad assumed his office at the Indian Embassy.
Later in the day, Prasad paid a courtesy call on Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Upendra Yadav at the latter’s office at Singha Durbar. “It was a courtesy call and we exchanged our perspectives. We briefly touched upon Nepal’s politics and took a cursory look at bilateral relations,” Yadav said after the meeting.
Prasad was of the view that peace and stability are imperative for Nepal at the moment and that India is always ready with its support, according to Yadav. “Our progress and prosperity are intertwined. India and Nepal today share the same challenges of peace, of stability, of national integration, and of bringing the fruits of development to their people,” Prasad told reporters upon his arrival in Kathmandu on Thursday.
Newly appointed Indian envoy arrives
AUG 25- Newly appointed India Ambassador to Nepal Jayant Prasad arrived in the Capital on Thursday. He is scheduled to present his credential to President Dr. Ram Baran Yadav tomorrow. Talking briefly to the media persons at the Tribhuvan International Airport today, the Indian envoy said he would strive to strengthen the relations of the two nations and make it more productive for both sides.
Jayant Prasad arriving today
AUG 24 – More than two months after his appointment, the new Indian ambassador to Nepal, Jayant Prasad, is finally arriving in Kathmandu on Thursday (25th). Prasad will present his letter of credentials to President Dr Ram Baran Yadav on Friday. Former ambassador to India, Prof Lok Raj Baral, who knows Prasad since his college days, said Prasad is “soft spoken and decent.” “We cannot say that there will be a paradigm shift in Indian policy in Nepal as speculated in Kathmandu, but some changes could take place.”
As the South Block recently saw a major reshuffle including the appointment of the new Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai and Joint Secretary, Nepal-Bhutan Desk, Akhilesh Mishra, foreign relations experts say Prasad’s arrival in Kathmandu is seen as India’s “new crusade.” “Notwithstanding India’s vital security and economic interests in Nepal, Prasad is likely to reach out to all sections that includes politicians,” Baral said.
“His inter-personal skills are quite good,” a senior Indian Embassy official said of Prasad. Prasad was a Harvad fellow and the Indian Foreign Service (IFS) topper of the 1976 batch.Outgoing Indian ambassador Rakesh Sood and Prasad are batch mates.
Surprising coincidence between Prasad and Sood: While Kathmandu is already abuzz with the differences between Prasad and Sood, little has been talked about the many commonalities the two diplomats share. As during Sood’s appointment, Prasad will also be arriving in Kathmandu at a time when Nepal’s politics is witnessing an upheaval. Sood landed in Kathmandu immedately after the Constituent Assembly elections and when parties were wrangling over the post of the first president of Republican Nepal.
As Prasad arrives on Thursday, he will witness another political wrangling over the election of the 35th prime minister of Nepal. In what is being seen as a surprising coincidence, both have been entrusted with common foreign assignments one after the other over the many years. Both of them also joined the Indian Foreign Service in the same year–1976. At different times, both of them served in various capacities in Indian diplomatic missions in Brussels and New York. They also have an experience of disarmament division at the Ministry of External Affairs. Prasad worked as the deputy secretary at the division which was later headed by Sood as the joint secretary.
While Prasad succeeded Sood as ambassador and permanent representative of India to the UN conference on Disarmament, Geneva, on December 2, 2003, Sood became the ambassador to Afghanistan from November 4, 2004, until Prasad replaced him on November 26, 2007. Sood was then appointed the Indian envoy to Nepal on December 2007, and again, Prasad is here to succeed him.
Arrival of new Indian envoy at least a month away
MAY 7: The arrival of Jayanta Prasad in Kathmandu as new Indian envoy to Nepal is likely to be delayed even as the agreemo proposing his name has already been approved last week, diplomatic sources said.Indian Ambassador to Nepal Rakesh Sood, who is one of the senior-most career diplomats at Indian External Affairs Ministry (EAM), will be staying in Nepal for at least a month as there are no vacant positions suiting his bureaucratic hierarchy at the moment. The three-year diplomatic assignment of envoy Sood expired in April end.
Ambassadorial positions in India’s High Commission in London, Indian embassies in France and the United States of America and the post of Foreign Secretary at the EAM are going to be vacant in July. “It is expected that the movement of senior diplomats who would be assigned in these positions will start only from the first week of June,” said a diplomatic source.
Envoy Sood is considered one of the most seasoned diplomats at the EAM. Besides serving as India’s Ambassador to Afghanistan and Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, Sood has also served as Deputy Chief of Mission in the Embassy of India in Washington DC, First Secretary and Counselor in India’s High Commission in Islamabad and First Secretary in the Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations Offices in Geneva.
Ambassador Sood was joint secretary heading the Disarmament and International Security Affairs at EAM before his diplomatic assignment in Kathmandu three years ago. “AmbassadorSood is likely to be given key position either within the ministry or diplomatic mission in a major country abroad,” the source further said.
As such, former ambassador of India to Nepal Shiva Shanker Mukharjee was deputed to India’s High Commission in London and Shyam Sharan was promoted to the post of foreign secretary after completion of their diplomatic assignment in Kathmandu.
Both Sood and Prasad joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1976. A son of former IndianAmbassador to Nepal, Bimal Prasad during the 1989-1990 political crises, Prasad is currently serving as Additional Secretary at the EAM.
New Indian envoy’s ‘agreemo’ approved
KATHMANDU, APR 28 – A letter has been sent to the Indian Embassy after the ‘agreemo’ on the name of the new Indian Ambassador to Nepal, Jayant Prasad, proposed by the Indian Foreign Ministry, has been approved.
As the ‘agreemo’, that had reached the President’s office via the Foreign Ministry, recommending Jayant Prasad’s name has been approved, the current Ambassador Rakesh Sood would now be returning after completing his tenure, which ends this week.
Jayant Prasad’s name was recommended to improve the relations between Nepal and India, as it is believed that many anti-Indian activities thrived during Sood’s tenure. Jayantprasad’s father Bimal Prasad was the Ambassador of India to Nepal during the 1990 democracy movement.
Prior to this, Jayant Prasad has served as the Indian Ambassador to Afghanistan and Algeria. Moreover, he has also served in different sectors of the strategic departments of Geneva, Paris and Brussels. He has served under the Indian Foreign Ministry only for one a half years.
Prasad set to replace Sood
FEB 24 – India is all set to send senior diplomat Jayant Prasad as its next envoy to Nepal. However, the Indian Ministry of External affairs (MEA) is yet to confirm Prasad’s selection.
Knowledgeable sources said Prasad is likely to assume his new office in Kathmandu in the last week of April after the tenure of the incumbent Indian ambassador to Nepal, Rakesh Sood, ends in March.
“If Jayant Prasad is appointed the ambassador to Nepal, he should focus on greater cooperation and trust,” said KV Rajan, former Indian ambassador to Nepal.
“If Prasad is appointed, he will be an excellent choice,” Rajan added. Prasad, who is currently a special secretary at the MEA, recently worked as Indian envoy to Afghanistan. Prasad also has experience working with Indian missions in Algeria, Geneva and Brussels.
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For a Indian bureaucrat, Ambassadorship of Nepal seems to be like playing Call of Duty in Play station 3. One player lost and another player is entering in the field.
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