Full speed aheadPolitical intelligence and economic patriotism are needed to drive the nation forward
Nepal is expected to move ahead under the pragmatic leadership of Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli. In order to do that, the country needs to ensure economic growth and attract investment. For this, the Oli administration must be flexible with respect to regulations and bureaucratic processes. The government must be open to business, information and communication technology (ICT), artificial intelligence (AI) research and development, entrepreneurship and start-up culture, tourism, water technology and green revolution by taking every measure to support economic growth. Moreover, the government should make a synchronised move with the immediate neighbours and the rest of the world to move Nepal ahead on the road to progress and prosperity.
Nepal has already declared that it will develop itself as a bridge for trade between two emerging economic giants, China and India, and this will greatly contribute to boosting the economy through tourism, arts and culture, green revolution, green technology, hydropower, herbs, mines and carpet, pashmina and garment industries. If we can create a conducive climate and entice movie directors from Hollywood, Bollywood, Europe and Asia to shoot their movies in Nepal, it will help promote our culture and tourism. Likewise, the pure Himalayan water available here can quench the thirst of 1.7 billion people if it is processed and promoted well. Medical and spiritual tourism have high potential in this land due to the weather, environment and geo-location.
Crossing the Ts
These economic moves should be based on the nine Ts—target, track, trade, tax, tariffs, technology, tact, tone and trust—between the partner countries. To promote trade and trust, taxes and tariffs have to be applied on a reciprocal basis. The countries must project a balanced tone to respect each other’s core and genuine interests. Each of the trade partners, including the immediate neighbours, should allow greater collaboration realising each other’s economic, technical and soft potentiality. Nepal can move ahead in the ICT sector by creating ample space and investment climate for the qualitative growth of ICT entrepreneurship. It should also provide a wider perspective on the global entrepreneurship and start-up culture, as young Nepali technocrats have managed to adopt new technology quickly and proven their strength and existence in the global technical sphere.
Nepal can benefit from Nepali cultural norms concerning ethics and data privacy. For this, a centralised platform must be established in which emerging ICT entrepreneurs can invest heavily. The government should be proactive and promise to establish its own satellite server and satellite-based data centre for data security, disaster recovery and cost savings. Prime Minister Oli needs to bring the major political parties into confidence to develop a consensus on significant domestic and foreign policy issues. Political intelligence and economic patriotism needs to be the government’s new guiding principle.
Diplomacy is key
Oli, a visionary leader, must leader with conviction, knowledge, intelligence and an ability to maintain steady relations in the domestic and international political spectrums. Political intelligence and economic patriotism are required to drive the nation towards national integration and economic prosperity. Defence-driven leadership, political intelligence and economic patriotism should be at the core of the efforts to advance the national interests, and Oli knows this well.
Even when there has been a strong and stable government, this nation has been influenced by a highly sensitive geo-political chess game. To counter these challenges and grease the geo-political friction, we need to develop a comprehensive intelligence capability and project a dignified defence diplomacy. More importantly, a sound intelligence culture is needed to ensure national security as well as territorial integrity. However, these challenges can be transformed into opportunities if we can make a smart strategic move.
As we were in the midst of a diplomatic crisis in Indo-Nepal relations in the past, developing strong neighbourly relations has become more important and urgent than ever in order to not affect our relation and trade in the future. For this, a conscious relationship road map needs to be traced by both countries that can help take bilateral relations to newer heights and wider perspectives. Bilateral ties should not be centred on the construction of roads and donation of buses. Border security, territorial integrity and revision of various unequal treaties need to be discussed. For this, a diplomatic mechanism needs to be set up to renew, refresh, rebuild and reshape our relations with the immediate neighbours and other countries.
Nepal has to strategically promote and protect its national interests, preserve geo-integrity, comprehend geo-cultural reality and exploit its soft power while dealing with the immediate neighbours. A country can move ahead not by erecting walls of words and echoes but by opening its border to economic and socio-cultural exchanges with immediate neighbours. Nonetheless, Nepal should play a strong hand, politically and diplomatically, in bilateral and economic relations with its immediate neighbours and the rest of the world.
Acharya holds an MSc in computer science, MSc in statistics and MPhil in management