Nepal Foreign Affairs (KATHMANDU, 15 October 2017) – Diplomatic engagements with our two immediate neighbours continued to remain a topmost foreign policy priority in 2016/17. Such engagements got inspired by Nepal’s policy of maintaining a balanced relationship with India and China and further deepening good neighbourly relations. Our efforts were reflective of the intent to enhance a solid partnership with both neighbours, based on historic tradition, common culture, civilization and close linkages at people’s level.
Nepal-India relations witnessed substantial engagements over the year. They derived strength from close and multifaceted linkages, respect of each other’s aspirations, consolidation of development cooperation and renewed resolve and determination to enrich bilateral relations. The exchange of high-level visits, conclusion of important instruments and a focus on ‘fast-tracking’ the implementation of joint economic 3 projects and agreements characterized the engagements in 2016/17.
The year saw a number of high-level visits from both sides. The President, the Prime Minister, the Special Envoy of the Prime Minister, and the Minister for Foreign Affairs visited India. From the Indian side, the President, the Finance Minister, and the Minister of Railways visited Nepal. These high-level contacts contributed to strengthening the partnership between the two countries for development and prosperity. The visits proved instrumental in enhancing the mutually beneficial cooperation based on trust and mutual understanding.
Important agreements in the areas of road, infrastructure, energy, and post-earthquake reconstruction were concluded during the year under review. Engagements under different mechanisms also got intensified. Fourth Meeting of Nepal-India Joint Commission led by Foreign/External Affairs Ministers made a comprehensive review of all aspects of Nepal-India relations. Other Mechanisms on sectoral issues, Working Groups and project specific Steering Committees reviewed progress made in the respective areas and charted out future course of action.
The issue of implementation of joint economic projects and agreements received priority. A Joint Oversight Mechanism was formed under the joint chairmanship of Foreign Secretary on the Nepali side and Ambassador of India to Nepal on the Indian side. The Mechanism has been fully functional vis-à-vis its mandate to regularly monitor the progress made in the implementation of bilateral projects and agreements.
With northern neighbour China, relations continued to grow during the period under review. Regular exchange of high-level visits, conclusion of important bilateral agreements, meetings and consultations under different mechanisms and intensified people-to-people contacts contributed to further widening and deepening of NepalChina ties. Underlying these engagements was the emphasis laid by both sides on making economic cooperation and connectivity central to their bilateral cooperation strategies.
Visits to China from the Nepali side included that of the Vice-President, the Prime Minister, the Speaker of the Legislature Parliament and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance. From the Chinese side, State Councilor and Minister for Defense, Chairman of the People’s Congress of TAR and Minister for State Administration for Industry and Commerce, among others, visited Nepal. During these high-level contacts, political, economic, social, cultural and all other major aspects of Nepal-China relations featured prominently.
The Agreements and MoUs signed between the two countries strengthened bilateral cooperation in areas such as infrastructure, connectivity, education and industrial development. Of them, the MoU on Cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative signed by the two sides in Kathmandu on 12 May 2017 is expected to promote mutually beneficial cooperation in various fields including connectivity, trade, investment, technology and people-to-people contacts.
The eleventh meeting of Nepal-China Joint Consultation Mechanism held this year in Kathmandu reviewed the progress made in the implementation of agreements/MoUs 4 reached between the two sides in the past. Similarly, various sectoral mechanisms including in the areas of trade, connectivity, post-earthquake reconstruction assessed the status of progress and agreed on future directions. The focus of all such frameworks was on promotion of cooperation between the two sides in order to further cultivate mutual understanding and enhance close cooperation in all sectors.
With reference to other countries in South Asia, our priority was to build on Nepal’s friendly and cooperative partnership subsisting with them. Besides the bilateral engagement, friendship and collaboration at sub-regional, regional and multilateral frameworks also continued to characterize our relations. Exchange of high-level visits, deliberations at different mechanisms, and interactions at various levels contributed towards the shared goals of development and prosperity.
This is a part of MoFA’s annunal report. MoFA has urged all for the constructive commnets.