DPMs to visit Delhi, BeijingThe government is sending Deputy Prime Ministers Bimalendra Nidhi and Krishna Bahadur Mahara as special envoys to India and China.
The government is sending Deputy Prime Ministers Bimalendra Nidhi and Krishna Bahadur Mahara as special envoys to India and China.
A Cabinet meeting on Thursday decided to send DPM Nidhi to New Delhi and Mahara to Beijing.
DPM Mahara told reporters after Thursday’s Cabinet meeting that the government decided to send special representatives to India and China “to maintain cordial relations with the neighbours”.
Sending “special envoy(s)” to neighbouring countries has not been a trend in Nepal though. The government decision, at the initiative of Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, to send two DPMs to New Delhi and Beijing is being seen as a political message after the regime change in Kathmandu that Nepal wants balanced, friendly and cordial relations with its neighbours.
“For sending a special representative, there has to be a special reason—something like mending ties or clearing misunderstandings or boosting confidence,” said a foreign ministry official. “Such move is not a regular case in diplomacy,” he added, indicating PM Dahal’s bid to affirm Nepal’s position that it is for maintaining balanced relations with both the neighbours. But nonetheless, officials said the decision could have been taken because Nepal does not have ambassadors in both the countries.
“The government might have done without sending the DPMs if we had ambassadors in New Delhi and Beijing,” said the officials.
Boosting confidence with both the neighbours could also be one reason behind this decision, as PM Dahal appears quite concerned about the geo-political positioning of the country.
Relations between Nepal and India had soured after the constitution promulgation last year, resulting in months-long Tarai protest and border blockade, which led to acute shortages of daily essentials, fuel and medicines.
The erstwhile KP Sharma Oli-government’s initiatives to reach out to China then were perceived as Kathmandu’s bid to tilt towards Beijing. Oli during his visit to Beijing in March had signed some agreements with an aim to lessen Nepal’s dependency on India.
Though the misunderstandings between Nepal and India were said to be cleared following Oli’s visit to New Delhi in February, bilateral relations were taking time to be back on track.
Amid all this, Maoist Centre Chairman Dahal succeeded Oli last week.
PM Dahal seems to have realised the urgency to maintain equally good relations with both the neighbours, as he has already announced that the agreements signed with Beijing by the Oli government would be implemented.
Nepal is also willing to host the presidents of both the countries in near future.
According to DPM Nidhi, one of his tasks as the government’s special representative in New Delhi will be securing the visit of Indian President Pranab Mukherjee to Nepal. The government is planning to invite Mukherjee on the occasion of the Constitution Day on September 20.
Similarly, DPM Mahara will make a bid to secure Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Kathmandu in October. During his visit to China, DPM Mahara will do his best to finalise the date of Xi’s visit to Nepal, said Nidhi.
A visiting delegation of a Chinese thank tank—Institutes of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR)—under China’s State Council has already discussed Xi’s proposed visit with PM Dahal and two former prime ministers— Oli and Sher Bahadur Deuba.