Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr Prakash Sharan Mahat has said that the incumbent government is sensitive on the issue of how the country could be benefited from its two big neighbours, India and China, while keeping its national interest at the centre.
Addressing an interaction organised by the Association of Former Career Ambassadors of Nepal at the Ministry in Singha Durbar today, the Foreign Affairs Minister opined that Nepal could not reap benefit from the prosperity of the neighbours as the foreign policy had been used for political interests since the past.
He reiterated that Nepal should be able to take benefit from its neighbours’ economic prosperity in the areas through road connectivity, trade promotion and foreign direct investment. The country signing on China’s OBOR project would help the economic development of Nepal, he asserted.
“Whatever comments were made outside, Nepal has signed the MoU related to OBOR after doing thorough home work and it is done in the country’s national interest and need,” he said.
Stating that following his assumption of the Ministry portfolio, issues of facilities and concessions that Nepal should get in terms of various agreements and treaties have been put on the ‘diplomatic table’ several times as well as improvement of relations with India, he said many works have been accomplished in this regard but the protest on the streets rather than these positive achievements were getting the coverage.
“Our weapon is to get an upper hand to put forth our views through dialogue on the diplomatic table. We have become successful in this task,” Foreign Affairs Minister Mahat said, adding that signing of the OBOR with China and the efforts at promoting ties with India regarding the facilities that Nepal should get, would give a big and long-term benefit in this region in the coming days.
Minister Dr. Mahat mentioned that several initiatives have been undertaken of late towards reforming the foreign policy as per the national interest, like restructuring of and developing the Institute of Foreign Affairs as a viable ‘think tank’, assigning the ambassadors with the responsibility of carrying out works as per clear terms of reference for the first time and the assignment of annual work time-table to the Nepalese diplomatic missions abroad.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs urged the former ambassadors to extend cooperation as the government was making timely reforms in the country’s foreign policy on the basis of national consensus and interest in an all-acceptable manner. He also called on the former ambassadors to use the knowledge and experience they have gained working as ambassadors to various countries for enriching the country’s foreign policy.
On the occasion, Foreign Secretary Shankerdas Bairagi, shedding light on the achievements made of late in the country’s diplomatic front, stated that the Ministry has formulated the strategy as to how the country could be benefited from the experience and knowledge of the former ambassadors.
The former ambassadors suggested for developing a roboust foreign policy as a document of national consensus and which does not change whichever government is at the helm. RSS