Tag Archives: nepali diplomacy

Who is the ‘international community’ in Nepal?

As a sovereign country of Southasia, if we have to listen to international opinion, does not Nepal also need to heed the views/feelings of Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Burma/Myanmar, or should we continue to go by the amorphous and selective use of ‘international community’?

Kanak Mani Dixit

893035_558874680856096_914955205_oAmidst the current jousting between Government of Nepal/ruling parties and certain members/combines of the ‘international community’, I would like to know who do we refer to when we say/accept the usage of ‘international community’. Are we talking of the entire community or selected members/combines? Are we talking of the European Union, in which case do the statements/activism that have been emanating therefrom include, say, Germany? Where does South Korea stand? What about the embassies unrepresented in KTM but with interest in Nepal? Do we mean ‘West’ when we say ‘international community’? When we do say ‘West’, is the focus mainly on a US-EU combine, or do we include Australia and Japan and Canada? Is there absolutely unanimity among the ‘international community’ and the “West’, or is it he who makes the noise that gets heard? When the UN Resident Coordinator puts out a note in the name of the ‘international community’, who is included – the multilateral agencies, the Bretton Woods institutions (IMF, WB, IFC), and which all embassies, and should we not have a listing at the bottom of all statements to clarify rather than add to the murk?

The broadest use of ‘international community’ in Kathmandu seems to include India and China. As a sovereign country of Southasia, if we have to listen to international opinion, does not Nepal also need to heed the views/feelings of Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Burma/Myanmar, or should we continue to go by the amorphous and selective use of ‘international community’? Let us have some clarity!!

(Note: I believe that the ‘international community’ has a right and duty to speak for the protection of democracy and human rights of any country, including Nepal. (In that sense, my own use of ‘international community’ includes every country from Bangladesh to Belgium.) However, the members of the diplomatic corps, from countries near and far, must keep off the terrain of constitution-writing so the Nepali people and political forces are left to themselves on this matter.)

(This article was originally posted as facebook status by Mr Kanak Mani Dixit. We have reproduced here with his permission.)

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Nepal-India Relations: Open Secret Diplomacy

By Bishnu Pathak, PhD

Setting:

The United Maoist-led Government resigned as of May 4, 2009 and its resignation has been accepted. Almost three weeks back, the senior UML leader, Madhav Kumar Nepal, who failed to win people’s trust in two constituencies he challenged in the last Constituent Assembly (CA) election, was unanimously elected as the second Prime Minister of republican Nepal on May 23, 2009. The largest party with 238 members out of 601, the united Maoists, boycotted the election, protesting against the move of the president. The ceremonial president reinstated the CoAS to let him continue in his office despite the executive decision. India has now become the butt of controversy among all players – political parties, media, civil society, etc. -both in and outside the land. This article attempts to address India’s role in Nepal, its next-door neighbor in the central Himalayas.

Problem 1: Treaty of Segowlee (Sagauli Treaty)

Nepal received a draft on December 2, 1815, but only signed it 93 days later (March 4, 1816). It is marked by territorial concessions. An excerpt of the treaty has been given below:

• Peace and friendship shall be perpetual between the East India Company and the Rajah of Nipal (art. 1)

• Nipal renounces all claim to the lands which were the subject of discussion between the two States before the war and acknowledges the right of the Company to sovereignty of those lands (art. 2).

• Nipal cedes the following territories to the Company (art 3) such as

• The whole of the low lands between the Rivers Kali and Rapti (art 3.1).

• The whole of the low lands (except Butwal) lying between the Rapti and the Gunduck (art 3.2).

• The whole of the low lands between the Gunduck and Coosah (art 3.3).

• All the low lands between the Rivers Mitchee and the Teestah (art 3.4).

• All the territories within the hills eastward of the River Mitchee including the lands of Nagree and the Pass of Nagarcote leading from Morung into the hills, together with the territory lying between that Pass and Nagree. The aforesaid territory shall be evacuated by the Gurkah troops within forty days from this date (art 3.5).

• The Chiefs and Barahdars whose interest shall suffer by the alienation of the lands, the British Government agrees to
settle pensions to the aggregate amount of two lakhs of rupees per annum on such Chiefs (art 4).

• Nipal renounces for himself, his heirs, and successors, all claim lying to the west of the River Kali and engages
never to have any concern with those countries or the inhabitants thereof (art 5).

• Nipal shall not disturb the territories of Rajah of Sikkim; but agrees, if any differences shall arise between them shall
be referred to the arbitration of the British Government (art 6).

• Nipal hereby engages never to take or retain in his service any British subject, nor the subject of any European and
American State, without the consent of the British Government (art 7).

•To secure/improve the relations of amity and peace hereby established between the two States, it is agreed that
accredited Ministers from each shall reside at the Court of the other (art 8).

• This nine article treaty shall be ratified by the Rajah of Nipal within fifteen days from this date, and the ratification
shall be delivered to Lt. Colonel Bradshaw and deliver to the Rajah the ratification of the Governor-General within
twenty days, or sooner (art 9).

Observation: Buddhi Narayan Shrestha states, “The result of the treaty was that Nepal lost almost-one third of its territory on the east, south, and west.” Nepal lost its unified and expended land Tista in the east, Kangara in the west, and nearly the confluence of Ganga and Jamuna in the
south1. Sugauli has been called an unequal treaty, where Nepal only lost but the British Empire gained a huge territorial advantage, despite the equality, mutual friendliness, and understanding language within the treaty. The treaty was signed unwillingly by Nepal. Budhi Narayan writes:

“The British East India Company prepared the draft of the treaty with the signature of Lieutenant Colonel Paris Bradshaw on December 2, 1815. It was sent to Nepal with a 15-day ultimatum for counter-signature and asked to return it to them. Nepal did not like the terms and conditions of the treaty, so it did not sign within that period. The British then spread rumor that they were launching attack on the capital, Kathmandu, and
even carried out troop movement to show Nepal that it was serious. When Nepal thought that the attack on the capital was inevitable, it was forced to accept the treaty. As it was a treaty imposed on Nepal, the King and high ranking officials did not want to sign it. But as Nepal was under duress to accept its terms, Chandrashekhar Upadhyaya, who had accompanied Pandit Gajaraj Mishra to the British camp at Sugauli, put
his signature on March 4, 1816 and gave it to them. As Nepal had signed the treaty under coercion after 93 days against the 15-day ultimatum, the treaty came into effect from that day2.”

The British Governor General had a fear that Nepal might not implement the treaty fully, as the king of Nepal had not signed or followed article 9. The treaty had cumulative effects, particularly on sovereignty, due to the final decision over any conflict arising between Sikkim and Nepal resting with the British. The treaty did not last forever as per article 3, as Nepal restored its sovereignty over the plains between the Koshi to Rapti within nine months of the signing3.

By the Sugauli treaty, Nepal lost 120,394 sq. km. and was confined to 147,181 sq. km. The present clamor for greater Nepal is the concept of gaining the 45 percent more land – what had been lost by the Sugauli treaty. Wikipedia states that greater Nepal is a concept referring to the state of Nepal extending beyond present boundaries to include territories ceded to the British East India Company under the Sugauli Treaty that ended the Anglo-Nepalese War in 1814 – 16. Some
Madhes-Terai land was restored to Nepal in 1816 under a revision of the treaty and more territory was returned in 1865 to thank Nepal for helping to suppress the Indian rebellion of 18574. The idea of a modern Nepal or ‘greater Nepal’ covering the same territories is raised by some Nepali nationalist groups5.” In Prachanda’s last speech to Constituent Assembly (CA) in the capacity of Prime Minister he said Nepal has remained a semi-colonized state ever since the country signed
the Sugauli Treaty with British India and that Nepal has “failed in the historic necessity to redefine and develop bilateral relations as per the [recent] change.”6

1 http://www.geocities.com/sugaulitreaty/nepal?20091.
2 http://www.geocities.com/sugaulitreaty/nepal
3 http://www.geocities.com/sugaulitreaty/nepal
4 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_of_Sugauli
5 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greater_Nepal#cite_note-Telegraph_Nepal-0
6 Kathmandu Post. May 23, 2009. Relations with India Need Redefining. Kathmandu: Kantipur Publication

No Need for Panic, India

One word can’t describe India’s unnecessary concern about Nepali prime minister’s Beijing visit. That’s the combination of hypocrisy, double standard, childishness and hegemony. When their Sonia and Rahul Gandhi can visit China and meet Chinese leaders, why can’t the Nepali prime minister do so?

Nepali Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal’s first foreign trip to China has set off a controversy (and it was created by no other than our southern neighbor India). Obviously, PM Dahal visited Beijing and met Chinese President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao before attending the closing ceremony of the Beijing Olympics. And this visit has irritated New Delhi, a section of Indian politicians and the media who still see China through the 1962 Indo-China war. Nepal’s ambassador to India Durgesh Man Singh sought to allay anxieties in Delhi about PM Dahal’s five-day visit to China. He defended the trip by saying that Nepal’s ties with India were different, and that choosing China as the first foreign destination should not have raised anybody’s hackles. The first port of call for a new Nepali prime minister has customarily been Delhi. However, the break with tradition has stunned Delhi hawks as they fear that Chinese influence over Nepal would further corner India. Continue reading No Need for Panic, India

Paradigm Shift in Nepali Nationalism

Through out Nepal’s history, past regimes have tried to advocate for nationalism to balance diplomacy between China and India.

By Krishna Giri

Thanks to the CA members who have managed to appoint a Prime Minister after exhausting four months, 1/6th of the total time allocated to write the new constitution for new Nepal. They have not only wasted the most valuable time but also whacked over 3billion rupees for the salaries and services payments. One of the poorest people in the world has paid enough prices; money, lives, destruction; for the appointment of this new Prime Minister. Soon after his appointment, the PM was off to China to complete a disgrace tour started by de-facto minister Pradeep Nepal. Until now, every decision taken by CA assembly has waged serious questions about nationalism and patriotism. Taking the oath by VP in Hindi to costumes worn by new PM during official ceremony has rewarded unprecedented apprehensions about the paradigm shift in Nepal’s nationalism and patriotism. Equivocal nationalism demonstrated by VP and PM has unlocked doors to cease the state base nationalism and adopt ethnic and stateless nationalism. All will catch a clear picture once Upendra Yadav meets his Indian counterpart and possibly Indian PM in Madhesi attires. We are going to observe a historic inauguration of nationalism in new Nepal. Continue reading Paradigm Shift in Nepali Nationalism

Dogs and a Piece of Bone

This is a typical third world story, the story of poverty and frustration and greed and anger and feud. For poor and deprived, every opportunity however small that may be, comes as an equivalent to the piece of bone for hungry stray dogs. Those people fight like those dogs. I am talking about the current feud among political parties and leaders regarding the representation of Nepal in the SAARC summit in Sri Lanka this week. As Kathmandu Post news editor Ameet Dhakal argues in the article below, the whole issue is such a trivial that it doesn’t really deserve the attention and time that it is getting from the so called big, powerful and influential leaders of this country.

Not that I am FOR Prime Minister Koirala’s participation in the summit because I like him but I am also not AGAINST the participation of Nepal in the summit because the absence of Nepal will result in the postponement of the summit itself. And this feud and personal clash between Koirala and Pushpa Dahal doesn’t qualify to be the reason for the postponement of the summit. But this is the question I want to ask: What if, for example, Nepal suddenly comes under attack now? Won’t we fight under the leadership of THE CURRENT Prime Minister regardless of his status- caretaker or not? Will Pushpa Dahal and company argue, in such situation, that we should fight until he is appointed the PM? The other day Continue reading Dogs and a Piece of Bone

Undiplomatic Diplomats: Primitive Foreign Ambassadors in Nepal

Traditionally, ambassadors bridge cultural and economic gaps, strengthen ties with the country they represent and shun making any kind of political comments in public. The basic job of ambassadors is to get their government’s message across. All diplomats should respect the integrity and sovereignty of the country where they are posted. They must possess the ability to comment on negative situations in a tactful manner, to refrain from speaking negatively in public about anyone or anything, and to draw discreet attention to something that is considered wrong or to highlight it through anecdotes. Continue reading Undiplomatic Diplomats: Primitive Foreign Ambassadors in Nepal

A Day After Nepal Monarchy Abolished, International Recognition

Congratulations to Nepali people for abolishing monarchy and establishing republic! Here are the press statements we received from the UN via its mission in Nepal, the US embassy and the British Embassy welcoming the historic decision of the CA yesterday to abolish the monarchy in Nepal and congratulating the people of Nepal.

CARTER CENTER CONGRATULATES NEPAL’S NEW CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY
30 May 2008. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE. CONTACTS: In Kathmandu: Darren Nance, +977 1 444 5055/1446, In Atlanta: Deborah Hakes, +1 404 420 5124

The Carter Center congratulates the people of Nepal, the government, and the political
parties on the first sitting of the Constituent Assembly on May 28, 2008. This is a
testament to the commitment and dedication of the Nepali people and their political
leadership to sustainable peace and multi-party democracy. Continue reading A Day After Nepal Monarchy Abolished, International Recognition

Powell Meets Prachanda (America and Nepal Maoists Patch Up?)

The following is the press release issued by the American embassy in Kathmandu today:

U.S. Ambassador Powell Meets with CPN-M Chairman Pushpa Dahal

U.S. Ambassador Nancy Powell met yesterday with CPN-M Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal to discuss the outcome of the April 10 elections, CPN-M plans for the Constituent Assembly, and the future of U.S.-Nepal relations. This was their first meeting. The meeting occurred in advance of Powell’s return to the United States for consultations on U.S.-Nepal relations.

Powell provided an overview of current U.S. government assistance to Nepal designed to help create a more prosperous, democratic, and stable Nepal. She sought assurances that the new government would respect current donor agreements and ensure the safety of those implementing them.

She encouraged Dahal to ensure that all Maoist organizations illustrate their commitment to the political process through their words and actions.

Seeking an Appointment FOR the Nepali Ambassador in Washington

The US ambassador to Nepal is like a celebrity, what she says and does and thinks is a big deal in Nepal but in America? No one has time to meet the Nepali ambassador. Efforts to seek appointments with congressmen and senators almost always go futile. An experience of a Nepali girl who dialed a lot for such appointments only to be disappointed at the end:

By Nepali Keti in Washington DC

Back in high school most papers I wrote started with my obligatory introduction, “Nepal is a small country sandwiched between the giant China and India”. But, until today I had not nearly comprehended what I’d written. ‘Small’ to me described Nepal’s physical stature, her geographic mass- which really is small (absolutely and relatively)…comparable to Florida or one of the Kiwi islands. Today though I got a taste of how small we actually are. Continue reading Seeking an Appointment FOR the Nepali Ambassador in Washington

News from India: BJP Welcomes Change in Nepal

King Gyanendra’s asylum to India a “hypothetical issue”: Amid speculation that Nepal King Gyanendra could seek political asylum in India, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee was evasive on the issue, describing it as hypothetical, reports Press Trust of India. “I do not know whether anybody has sought any asylum. It is a hypothetical question,” Mukherjee said when asked by a reporter about the speculation that the monarch could take shelter in India as Maoists have emerged victorious in Nepal Constituent Assembly polls. Reports have suggested that Gyanendra could come to India using his family connections in India, says The Hindu. Continue reading News from India: BJP Welcomes Change in Nepal