By Gopal Khanal (KATHMANDU, 11 June 2020) – ON June 9, the House of Representative unanimously endorsed a proposal to consider the constitution amendment bill, which will replace Nepal’s national emblem with the updated political map. The updated map includes Limpiyadhura, Kalapani and LipuLekh, Nepali territories in Darchula district, which have been controlled by India since the 1960s. The bill amends the map of Nepal included in Schedule 3 of the constitution, in which Nepali lands up to Limpiyadhura had not been included.
The updated map will be used in all official and administrative documents including the coat of arms after the amendment bill is endorsed through parliament. Putting to rest a speculation about the difference over the amendment bill, the political parties represented in federal parliament including newly formed Janata Samajbadi Party (JSP), solidly made a uniform position. Nepal government on May 18, had endorsed the new political map, which was made public officially two days later. On May 30, Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Shivamaya Tumbahamgphe had tabled the bill for discussions. The amendment bill will be passed by parliament through national consensus with due process.
The issue of international border and sovereignty should not have been the issue of domestic contention and it didn’t happen so despite the initial reaction of ‘Ifs and Buts’ from a meagre section of Nepali politics. All the parties should come together to forge unanimity to reclaim the Nepali land encroached by India and ultimately it was ascertained. This achievement, no doubt, manifests the transformed Nepali political entity towards protecting national interest, leaving aside the petty domestic differences. The next move will be to bring back the usurped territories from India, which seems challenging, but not impossible. When the leaders of Madhesh, Hill and Himalaya, stood up at one place and vowed to get back the land, this amalgamated national power will obviously succeed. It might take time but would be resolved diplomatically.
In the issues of foreign policy (FP) and relations, there should not be different and diverse opinions among the national political parties. FP deals with foreign relations, which is always an asset of the nation, not a particular political party and ideology. FP guides the activities and relationships of one state in its interactions with other states. Diplomacy is the tool of foreign policy, and war, alliances, and international trade may all be manifestations of it. Diplomacy is always for peace, not for conflict. The development of FP is influenced by domestic considerations, the policies or behaviour of the states, or plans to advance specific geopolitical designs.
But Foreign policy is not just an extension of domestic policy. In fact, it is different from domestic policy. Even if there are conflicts and contradictions within the domestic political players on domestic affairs, they do leave them in corner when the matters of foreign relations come. The parties should come out from their political ideologies and affinities while dealing with the external affairs since this exhibits weakened national position. A country’s foreign policy has to safeguard its national interests and achieve its goals by engaging with other countries and with non-state actors. It is a dynamic process and reflects the current worldview of a nation’s policy.. Nepali political parties prepare manifesto for elections, which are the only public documents of the parties to know what they think of their country and people. Unfortunately, Nepali politicos have never been in similar position in perceiving Nepal’s relations with friendly nations and external communities.
During the second Sino-Japanese war, which suspended the Chinese Civil War from 1937 to 1941, the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the Chinese Nationalist Party (Kuomintang or KMT) fought jointly against the Japanese invasion. The Second United Front was the alliance they had made and demonstrated the unity against the external enemy. After the war, Chiang Kai Shek and Mao Zedong attempted to engage in peace talks and the effort failed and by 1946 the KMT and CPC were in all-out civil war. The CPC was able to obtain seized Japanese weapons and took the opportunity to engage the already weakened KMT. In October 1949, Mao established the PRC, while Chiang fled to the island of Taiwan.
India has practically maintained its national consensus on foreign policy since the establishment of independent India in 1947. India’s policy towards China always remains the same irrespective of which party elevates to power. India’s relation with the US is not fundamentally different in the tenure of Man Mohan Singh and Narendra Modi except the style of their execution and personal impressions. Singh signed nuclear agreement with the US and Modi has been making relation of strategic partnership with Trump.
In Donald Trump’s ‘America first’ policy, no contention has seen throughout US since it is principally a nationalist policy. Americans, like otherd, seek guarantee of their lives and Trump had represented them rhetorically. But practically, the policy could not represent the common American; it took a racial shape in domestic politics. The American, still, would be in one position when Trump launches war against terrorism, talks of building border wall Mexico and stages politics against the communist powers. Nepali leaders were habituated to grow in humiliated mentality of being small between China and India. But the history of humiliation has ended now. A new era of neighbourhood relations has begun with the rise of KP Oli in Nepal’s power and politics. An era of sovereign equality has begun. The political leaders, until recently, used to remain silent while making discourse on Nepal-India relations with fear that their statements might hurt Indian establishment. Even during the undeclared blockade, Nepal was not unified, which was unfortunate.
In short span of five years – from the promulgation of the new constitution to the incumbent Oli’s second inning as Prime Minister- Nepal inked historic deal with China making Nepal lank-linked from land-locked status, and updated Nepali political Map. These are key accomplishments. Furthermore, the political parties of Nepal have demonstrated unprecedented unity in protecting Nepali territory, a top national interest of any foreign policy. Nepali people would like to see such uniformity in other issues of foreign relations to achieve the goal of ‘Prosperous Nepal, Happy Nepali’.n