OLI DOCTRINE, New Balancing in the Neighbourhood

Prime Minister K.P.Sharma Oli has completed his official visit to the two giant neighbours-India and China- within a month. When Oli became Prime Minister, the external situation was adverse; India‘s blockade was continuing. Even the northern neighbour China had a doubt over the ability of Nepali leadership- whether or Nepal could protect her independence in these most difficult times of history.

But Oli, who has now been hailed in Nepal as the new icon of nationalism, put Nepal’s national interest at the top. As the saying goes – there are no permanent friends and foes in diplomacy, but what remains permanent is the interest. Oli indeed represents the permanent interest of the country, which was always plagued by the petty and partisan interests over the last decades.

Before embarking on the state visit to India, Prime Minister Oli had reiterated that he wouldn’t bring a shopping list, will seek to restore a just friendship that had evaporated at the propaganda of some sections of Nepali and Indian politics. He had also said that he would restore normal relations between our two countries, clearing the air of misunderstanding. And, the Prime Minister did so. His India visit has been successful to normalize relations. Oli stood with Modi not as a weak Prime Minister of a sovereign and independent nation but as a bold Prime Minister with firm national commitment. This was hailed at home.

Then, Prime Minister Oli went to China for his second official visit, which has been a historic success. It has added new dimension in bilateral relations signing the historic agreements such as transport and transit agreement, free trade agreement (FTA), agreement of exploration of petroleum and gas resources of Nepal. These agreements have long term impact. Similarly, both the countries agreed to hold bilateral trade on petro-products, which will start soon after completing much needed homework. China’s support to construct Pokhara International Airport, Upper Arun hydro project, cross border transmission  line, extension of railway to Nepal border etc. are the other significant developments.

For the first time in bilateral relations of 60 years, KP Oli made a history by signing transport transit agreement with China that ended the Indian monopoly of transit to Nepal. In history, Oli will be remembered as a Prime Minister, who diversified trade with China, identifying himself as a sovereign and independent Prime Minister. In fact Prime Minister Oli’s approach to neighbors can be called “Oli Doctrine” that signifies the much-needed balancing act to both of Nepal’s neighbors.

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