(KATHMANDU, 21 February 2019) – Prime Minister Oli has injected visionary dynamism into Nepal since the assumption of his office a year back in Feb 15, 2018. As a nationalist leader, Oli has envisioned several steps ahead than any contemporary leaders can do. Conceivably, his long term vision for Nepal may be failing to meet Nepalis immediate and more urgent needs, today.
Despondently, from the day Oli took oath of office, some of the critics started scrolling blindly him down of his vision rather than supporting morally. They tried defaming Oli’s vision and achievements without making any sincere judgments and rational analysis. Some other argued that Nepal’s rising engagement with India and China is a constricted concept in Foreign Policy. But, we must comprehend, without comfortable regionalization process and sustainable bi-lateral relations with immediate neighbors, country like Nepal can hardly uplift its economy and bi-lateral relations.
In the domestic front, institutional process has been gaining momentum, under Oli’s Premiership, in all the three tier architecture where several mechanisms have been set up- planning, staffing and restructuring of human and physical infrastructures. The integration of employees and several tasks related to federalism has been under progress. For instance, Social Security Scheme of the government- a three tier architecture in savings, investment and security which is equally beneficial to employees, employer and the government. That would leave a profound impact in social protection of the employees in hundred years to come.
The post-earthquake reconstruction is taking its pace in full swing. The preparation of railway connectivity project survey on China-Kathmandu, India-Kathmandu and East-West railway has been taking its pace and progress. The construction of Gautam Buddha International Airport, Bheri-Babai Diversion Project and Upper-Tamakpshi Hydro Project are gaining momentum and in final phase. Oli government has taken progressive initiative to reform the education system and has passed the medical education bill by both house of the parliament.
According to the government sources, IMF has predicted the economy growth to 6.5 % in this fiscal year which is highest ever in the history of Nepal; revenue collection has increased to 32% as compared to the first half of the year. Capital expenditure has increased to 25.33% where as government expenditure has decreased from 43% to 14% than in the last year. Oli government has been laying the ground work for all round development of the country. All these deeds will leave profound impact in the future course of development in Nepal.
On the bilateral front, Nepal signing of ten agreements in various sectors during PM Oli’s visit to China in 2016 and consequently being granted access to four Chinese seaports, for trading with third country, has been a new achievement in Nepal-China strategic relations. The soft partnership in BRI project and rail and road connectivity with India and China may leave a profound impact on Nepal’s bi-lateral relations and socio-economic enhancement in domestic sphere in centuries to come.
PM Oli has been meticulously successful to influence immediate neighbors. He has extended cordial hands towards both the countries to think, invest and collaborate that have reflected equi-proximity of the relations. As a result, Nepal’s neighborhood policy has been balanced and consistent. The withdrawal of Indian consular office in Biratnagar without any mêlée with India, and formation of joint committee to minimize the loss from floods reflect a successful handling of bilateral diplomacy.
Recently, Nepal-Japan relation has been invigorated; direct flights between Nepal and Japan are resuming near soon. Earlier, Nepal has made bilateral agreements with Cambodia and Myanmar for air connectivity. All these show, Nepal is making paradigm shift in bilateral diplomacy- through proactive to perceptive diplomacy.
On the multilateral front, the gallant presence of PM Oli in the 73rd session of United Nations General Assembly has drawn immense praises at home and afar, where he projected nation’s image with a broad vision on Foreign Policy. Instead of pleading for sympathy and grants, he nobly reiterated to address the emerging transnational issues through Global Governance. This shows, Nepal is in a position to strong defend its sovereignty and is equally standing in international arena through the paragon of Multilateral Diplomacy.
PM Oli, who even dares to call the heads of diplomatic missions based in Kathmandu and briefed about the government’s Foreign Policy priority back in March 27, 2018. The goal was to promote the image of Nepal at the international level. He facilitated the second briefing of heads of diplomatic missions in Feb 1, 2019 where Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali briefed about the progress on peace process.
Regarding the escalating diplomatic quandary created by Venezuelan crisis, PM Oli emphasized that US-Nepal relation is momentous and carries significant values, and it should not be derailed by any diminutive issues,
On the Global front, PM Oli has been invited to address the annual meeting of World Economic Forum (WEF), Davos, from January 22-24, 2019. Oli has been the first sitting head of government from Nepal to address the movers and shakers of world politics and economy in such global forum. PM Oli’s participation in WEF could be a new beginning for Nepal to enhance its co-existence in global economy, trade and diplomacy.
Nonetheless, PM Oli has to deliberately apprehend the current domestic political inducements and geo-political frictions. Nepal is being assumed to be a cockpit of playground where the some major powers are projecting Nepal as their strategic partner for specific containment to one over another. For instance, projection of Nepal in the front line leadership on Indo-Pacific Strategic Partnership or inclusion as a partner in BIMSTEC military drill show Nepal’s possible exploitation for their respective containment strategy. Rather, Nepal has to equally leverage from all the powers by maintaining its relations through strategic-hedging since Nepal is in a system affecting position right now. Nepal has never believed in alliances and bloc politics. And, it should not. It should rather maintain its neutral, trustworthy and acquiescent values as always.
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Oli, a life time Marxists, has to have several idea of handling economy, society and politics and has to well-marshal the power and intelligence to devise strategy and better handle society, economy, politics and diplomacy.
Oli, a visionary leader, must use his conviction, knowledge and intelligence while making decision in sensitive issues, and has to think beyond the box and espouse perceptive policy. A patriotic statesman like Oli has to listen equally his fellow citizens, foreign policy experts around, his comrades in the bash, and the opposition in dash. He needs to bring the major political parties into confidence to develop a consensus on significant domestic and foreign policy issues. Yet, diplomatic intelligence, economic patriotism and defence-driven leadership need to be the core of the efforts of Oli to advance the national interest.
Acharya is a researcher and analyst who holds an M.Sc. in Computer Science, M.Sc. in Statistics, MPhil in Management (Studied) and M.A. in International Relations and Diplomacy (Research Progress).