Nepal’s foreign policy is based on panchasheel: Prime Minister Dahal

We will not give even an inch of our territory in the context of the border, neither do we want an inch of our neighbour's territory.

KATHMANDU- Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ has reiterated that Nepal’s foreign policy is conducted on the basis of panchasheel or the five principles of peaceful co-existence.

Replying to queries from lawmakers in the meeting of the House of Representatives today, he said Nepal’s foreign policy would be advanced taking into consideration the national interest. Lawmaker Dilendra Prasad Badu had asked the PM how the government was planning to pursue Nepal’s foreign policy. Similarly, Raghuji Panta had asked whether discussions would be held on the Nepal-India Treaty of 1950 and the protection of Nepal’s border and territory during the PM’s visit to India.

In reply, PM Dahal said, “We will not give even an inch of our territory in the context of the border, neither do we want an inch of our neighbour’s territory. We will state this during the India trip. Nothing that affects Nepal’s national interest and unity would be done.” To a question by Deepak Giri as to when the Tarigaun airport in Dang would be upgraded, the Prime Minister said the government was serious regarding upgrading the airport and asserted that works would be initiated soon towards that end.

Stating that corruption and misrule has been increasing in the country, Bidya Bhattarai asked what has the government been doing regarding corruption control and taking action against the alleged corruption scams related to the ex-Maoist combatants’ camp, the Lalita Niwas and the fake Bhutanese refugee scandal. In reply, PM Dahal said, “The government will not spare the corruption and organized crime. The issue of the fake Bhutanese refugee scam has become the topic of Nepal’s prestige. The government has adopted the policy of zero tolerance on corruption and the government is committed to it.”

On a question by Ramhari Khatiwada on post-earthquake reconstruction and the latest economic situation of the country, PM shared that there has been a notable improvement in the remittance inflow and foreign currency reserve. He added that the public trust towards the State and government has increased due to the improved public service delivery. He also stated that the remaining installment of the amount earmarked for the earthquake victims would be distributed within the deadline.

On the occasion, PM Dahal presented statistics on the progress made in education, health, literacy, economic development, agriculture, among other sectors following the establishment of republicanism in the country. Government has kept peace process in priority Likewise, in course of the question-answer session, the Prime Minister said that the government has kept taking the peace process to conclusion in its priority and made it clear it would be completed as per the letter and spirit of the Comprehensive Peace Accord. “The remaining works of the peace process would be moved ahead with priority. The Bill related to Truth and Reconciliation and Enquiry on Enforced Disappeared Persons Commission is under study. I have been making efforts to forge broader political consensus on this topic,” he added.

Lawmaker Purna Bahadur Gharti Magar had asked the PM as to when the peace process and transitional justice would be concluded. The PM also reiterated that the government is ready to provide quality education in government schools and it has plans to provide employment to the youths within the country. There are several programmes for enhancing the capacity of teachers as well. Lawmaker Ishwori Devi Neupane had asked about the government’s plan of enhancing the quality of education in government schools and providing employment to youths within the country itself. Stating that all are aware about the overall economic development facing problem due to the setback on the economy, PM Dahal said programmes creating employment opportunities were in the government’s priority. He also said that the government has been working to cut back on unnecessary expenditure and strictly checking revenue leakage.

The head of the government said there is a plan to encourage foreign direct investment and aiding the domestic industries for boosting Nepal’s economy. Lawmaker Padam Giri had asked the PM about the government’s plan regarding raising up the country’s economy. To the question by Sishir Khanal as to when the Lal Commission’s report would be made public, the PM said the report would be made public after the Supreme Court’s order in this regard is settled. He maintained that there is also the international practice in which States are found not sharing such reports if they deem the issue is sensitive. He also refuted that the former disqualified Maoist combatants were being doled out money from the state coffers terming that as mere allegations. “An agreement was made in the CPA itself to keep the Maoist combatants in cantonment. If anyone files a case against me on this topic and I am convicted of any wrongdoing, I am ready to go to prison,” the PM said, replying a question by Gyanendra Shahi, who asked about the authenticity of the 8460 ‘disqualified’ Maoist combatants and the government’s plan of providing Rs 200 thousand to each of them.

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