Nepali Congress, Foreign Policy and Global Politics

K.P Sharma Oli and Madhav Kumar Nepal; the duo collided, shaken the communist movement as well as degraded the 2/3 majority ultimately became deadly for the future of the country.  In more realpolitik sense, the collision has proven most advantageous to Nepali Congress(NC). The outcomes of this collision made NC president Sher Bahadur Deuba as the new Nepali Prime Minister(PM).  NC is again operating the  machinery of the statecraft but this time the situation is different—Covid-19 pandemic, new emerging trends in global politics triggered by ‘anti’ Chinese sentiment, BRI Vs B3W in the South Asia. Above all these, the 14th NC General Convention is very near. NC has to accommodate all these features in its party policy.  In the process, NC has to prepare for its General Convention as  well as lead the country in one of the ‘disturbed’ time of this decade due to Covid-19 massive surge. 

Running government with new FP

PM Deuba in his Vote of Confidence Speech in parliament showed signals of shifting Nepal’s foreign policy; centering around immediate neighbors i.e. India & China as the first priority of Nepal’s Foreign Policy(FP).  Secondly,  the US, European Union(EU), Japan on the second layer. We are dictated by hard and bitter geopolitical realities of India & China( both are ideologically and strategically opposing). These two power blocs represent different poles in global politics. So, underlining this fact, granting assurance to India( Water and Security issue) and China( Tibetan issue) and getting ‘umbrella of protection’ from these giants is a hardcore job our FP. Not only these power blocs, Nepal also to have uninterrupted international political life.  And for this the US is another key element in our FP. That is why, bringing together India, China & the US on the same board and preserving, securing and promoting our vested interest—-is not a ‘childish’ game. For this, we need a second-term Bush presidency era FP strategy i.e. De-hyphenation. This means, our relations with the US stands of its own without getting affected by Nepal’s relations with China. This is also same with Nepal-India-China.

Except Japan; which has been purely our development partner. The all other partners like India, China, US and EU has a leverage to influence in Nepal’s Development, Diplomacy and Defense(3D). These countries has also ‘political’ ambition in Nepal. This can be observed from the past trends of their engagement. Our state machinery including our Foreign Ministry(FM) should be able to distinguish among 3D. Every development grant is now brewed with Defense and Diplomatic elements. This can be further elaborated with the merger of Department of International Development(DFID); the British Development agencies into Foreign & Commonwealth Office( FCO); the FM of UK. The current PM of UK, Borish Johnson had said;  our distributed aid should fulfill our vested interest not just the interest of the receiving partner. Thus, in upcoming days every aid will become strategically driven and partners looks for their direct benefit. In that scenario; we need to be very prepared.  The replica of the UK aid model will soon traveled to other parts of the Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development(OECD) Development Assistance Committee (DAC) group.

Addition to this, recent conclusion of the G7 summit in UK decided to initiate new development infrastructure project in developing world known as ‘Build Back Better World(B3W), which has been seen largely counter to the China’s BRI project. The US for sure as a friendly gesture will try to initiate this project in Nepal and most probably Chinese side will show some sort of dissatisfaction. We have no options. Rather to prepare on this upcoming ‘diplomatic tsunami’.  All above all, securing vaccine without geopolitical meddling and its successful rollout is a key.

NC 14TH General Convention

NC is holding its 14th General Convention dated September1-4, 2021 in Kathmandu.  NC is the largest and historical democratic force in Nepal. As we all know, the most of the richest, well off and powerful nations in the world has a ‘democratic leaning’ except China( which has its political policy as communist but follows full fledge capitalism as its economic policy).  This makes us, revitalization of the democratic force is necessary. As NC is historical derived from the ‘hot’ temperature of Kolkata and Varanasi must need retrofitting at this time of Twitter ignited era. 

More specifically, the FP of NC should be revisited. We need to prioritize our neighbors as already mentioned above.  India, China as first layer and the US, EU, Japan as second layer and rest. Secondly, Nepal should also able to take( if necessary) a bold step of becoming part of alliance building or resting under security umbrella; (if hard choices has to be made). As the world scenario is changing, the lesser influential country in the world like Nepal are forced to take a side. NC which is the front runner of democratic force in Nepal will sure get the solidarity from the global democratic forces and government, if Nepal enters on such basis.

In conclusion, prioritizing our immediate and sky neighbors as well as revisiting our panchaseel in NC 14TH General Convention policy as well as re-strengthening democratic force lead by NC in Nepal is must.

Saurav Raj Pant
Saurav Raj Pant
PhD. Student of International Relations & Diplomacy of Tribhuvan University, Nepal