Mr. Chairman, Hon’ble K.P. Sharma Oli,
Members of the Constituent Assembly
Distinguished foreign and national delegates,
Friends from Media
Ladies and Gentlemen.
I wish you all a very happy Nepali new year 2072 Bikram Sambat.
I thank the organizer for their invitation to this inaugural session of the International Conference.
I congratulate Hon’ble K.P. Sharma Oli for his leadership of the Afro-Asian People’s Solidarity Organization (AAPSO) and his team for taking the initiative to organize this important international conference on ‘Vision of Bandung after sixty years: facing new challenges.’ at a time when we all look to the commemoration of sixty years of the Bandung Conference to be held next week in Indonesia.
I am happy to note that Afro-Asian People’s Solidarity Organization has been making significant contributions ever since its inception to the cause of peace, solidarity, and cooperation.
The Afro-Asian concept paved the way for Bandung Conference in 1955 that adopted five principles of peaceful co-existence better known as Panchsheela, derived from the teachings of Gautam Buddha, the son of Nepal. The five principles included mutual respect for each others’ territorial integrity and sovereignty, mutual non-aggression, equal and mutual benefit and peaceful co-existence. This makes Bandung spirit remain a milestone in the evolution of international law and for the conduct of interstate relations in the pursuit of a peaceful and equitable world, with due respect to national identity and dignity.
Past sixty years have shown that these principles have immensely contributed to shaping the destiny of nations across Asia and Africa. With due respect to the sovereign equality of nations, 51 members United Nations has now 193 members in its fold. The countries in different continents also remain engaged in charting out the future course of cooperation through regional organizations.
The foreign policy of Nepal is inspired by Panchsheela, the purposes and principles of the United Nations, non-alignment, and international law to protect national independence, territorial integrity, promote national dignity and improve the quality of life of the people.
Nepal has been an active and original member of the Bandung Conference that led to the emergence of the Non-aligned Movement. Bandung spirit stands as a force for coexistence, dialogue, mutual respect and mutual benefit and continues to guide us in the conduct of foreign policy.
Nepal’s opposition to any interference in the internal affairs of any country and its non-interference policy in the internal affairs of others are derived from its unflinching commitment to the principles of peaceful co-existence.
It is this approach that has enabled us to judge every issue on its merit retaining the independence of action, choosing our own path and maintaining friendly and cooperative relations with countries of the world. We are non-aligned, as BP Koirala, the first elected Prime Minister of Nepal told the 15th UN General Assembly, and I quote, ‘it is because we do not wish to commit ourselves beforehand to support one side or the other, and we wish to retain our independence of judgment in assessing international issues as they arise.’ Unquote.
A quick look around the world shows that systemic transformation is occurring.
The world is confronted today by growing threats of social unrest, intolerance, aggression, radicalism, tension, and conflict.
Terrorism remains the biggest threat to peace, stability and development. Nepal condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. Since this is a transnational challenge, the world must be united to fight this menace resolutely and unequivocally, whenever and wherever it may occur.
Poverty, climate change, arms race, epidemics, drugs and human trafficking pose a growing threat to peace, and enjoyment of human rights. Their offshoots have been generating monumental challenges at the global level. The gravity of these global problems requires global commitment to find global solutions.
The wave of changes and challenges sweeping across the world has not diluted the principles of Bandung spirit, rather their relevance and centrality in the conduct of interstate relations have been further reinforced by the nature of evolving international environment.
The theme Strengthening South-South Cooperation to Promote World Peace and Prosperity chosen for the 60th anniversary of the Bandung Conference truly reflects the essence of solidarity and partnership to enhance the profile of the South in global affairs.
We underline the importance of dialogue and diplomacy to create an environment of trust and confidence as a basic infrastructure for peaceful resolution of any problems. We need collective efforts to build peace. To our understanding, the vision of Bandung stands as the only appropriate alternative framework for harmonious conduct of interstate relations in a world so seriously polarized and divided amidst economic deprivation, disparity, radicalism and the proliferation of arms including nuclear weapons.
Peace, stability, democracy, and development are interlinked. We believe they are indivisible. The existence of backward, poor, underdeveloped, marginalized, and deprived people and nations stands as a menace to the prevalence of the peace and prosperity in the world. It is only within a democratic framework that development becomes sustainable, equitable, and inclusive. We believe that democracy is indispensible for inclusion, and development. No enduring peace and stability is possible in the absence of democracy and social justice.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Before I conclude, let me briefly touch on Nepal’s current situation.
Nepal’s historic transformation from an authoritarian monarchical order to a Federal Democratic Republic in a peaceful manner has been a rare example in contemporary world history. After having put the people at the center of governance, our pressing national priority is to have an inclusive democratic constitution promulgated through elected Constituent Assembly. Political parties in Nepal remain engaged in dialogue and negotiation in a spirit of national unity and reconciliation to institutionalize political pluralism, strengthen unique unity in vast diversity, and deliver peace and development dividends to the people. In our scheme of things, where there is centrality of democracy, rule of law, promotion and protection of human rights, inclusion and welfare of the people, there is absolutely no place for threats, coercion, intimidation and violence.
Nepal has abundance of human and natural resources. Dynamic and young population remains the most precious resources of this country. The development of hydropower, tourism, agriculture, and biodiversity among others has transformative potentials for the country and the region.
Nepal’s proximity to the fast developing economies, emerging global powers and our closest neighbours – India and China, with whom Nepal maintains the best of relations, provides unprecedented opportunities with a big market of 2.6 billion populations.
To translate the proximity into prosperity, we need to build strong democratic institutions to ensure peace and order, effective connectivity to create corridors of prosperity through fair and inclusive trade and deepening of people-to-people relations.
Nepal has put in place a liberal and attractive regime for investment. Nepal signed Power Trade Agreement (PTA) with India. We also concluded two Power Development Agreements (PDA) with Indian investors to harness nearly 2,000 MW of export-oriented hydro projects in the Karnali and Arun rivers. These agreements have opened up vast opportunities for investment. We welcome investment in hydropower, tourism, infrastructure and other productive sectors of economy, and assure necessary safeguards for investment protection.
Asia and Africa are two ancient and resourceful continents with vast diversity and commonalities. They have two thirds of the global population with valuable voice in global affairs. Together, they constitute over fifty percent of UN membership, and account for 37.5% of global GDP. Most of the emerging economies come from the two continents. As the gravity of economic activity and balance of power continue to shift to the South, global attention has increased on Asia and Africa. This demonstrates that a moment has arrived for Asia and Africa, demanding further strengthening of partnerships to promote solidarity, economic cooperation, and social and cultural relations between Asia and African continents.
Peace, stability, and development in our regions have implications for global peace, security, and development. Nepal pursues political pluralism at home, and multipolarity in international relations. Nepal stands ready to work with friends in the international community to address glaring inequalities in international financial, trade and economic system in the quest for a peaceful and equitable world order within the framework of Panchsheel principles.
With these words, I would like to express my best wishes for the success of this international conference.
Jai Nepal !