Learn A Lesson From EU-India Joint Statement
The EU-India joint statement issued in Brussels during the 13th EU-India Summit on March 30 continues to draw flak in Nepal as it has hurt the sentiments of the sovereign Nepalese people. After the statement of the bilateral summit unnecessarily inserted the issue of Nepal’s constitution in point No. 17, forcing the government to object to the statement, the leaders and people have been expressing their ire against it. A cabinet meeting held on Thursday concluded that inclusion of Nepal in the statement was irrelevant and against the provision of the UN charter. Earlier, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs objected to the statement by issuing a press statement while Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Kamal Thapa stated that India and the European Union had no right to belittle Nepal’s constitution. The Foreign Ministry called on all to fully respect the sovereign and democratic rights of the people of Nepal and refrain from making uncalled for statements. Now the government is preparing to seek clarifications from the Indian and EU ambassadors to Nepal over the statement. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Women, Children and Social Welfare C.P. Mainali revealed the government’s plan to seek clarification from the Indian and EU ambassadors over their joint statement. Minister Mainali also dubbed the joint statement as diplomatic faux pas committed by the EU nations and India. Mainali said that the Brussels statement was issued with the malign intention of disrupting peace in Nepal. He also clarified that Nepal was committed to the policy of non-alignment, and the new provinces should not be carved up in a way that benefits any of the neighbours.
Obviously, the issue of Nepal was unnecessarily inserted in the joint-statement at the insistence of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, because India has been against the new constitution drafted and promulgated by a democratically elected Constituent Assembly. Earlier, the joint statement issued by the United Kingdom and India during Indian Prime Minister Modi’s UK visit had also included the issue of Nepal while India raised the issue of human rights situation in Nepal during the UN Human Rights Commission meeting held in Geneva. Of course, India has been undermining the sovereignty and dignity of Nepal in one way or the other after the Nepalese leaders managed to draft and promulgate the new constitution in September last year. The Nepalese people had to face much difficulty due to the big brotherly attitude of India that culminated in a blockade immediately after the Nepalese got the new constitution. Although the Nepal-India relations returned to normalcy following Prime Minister K. P. Oli’s visit to India in February this year, the Indian side has not stopped exhibiting its dislike of Nepal’s new constitution. The Brussels statement should serve as a testimony to this.
However, on the part of Nepal, deploring the joint statement alone will not work. It should enhance its diplomatic skills and use diplomatic channels to prevent the unnecessary meddling of neighbouring and powerful countries in our internal matters. A small and a poor country like Nepal should be more serious in safeguarding its sovereignty and dignity by not allowing elements that want to weaken our national and social fabric to run their activities in Nepal under any pretext. Likewise, there should be genuine efforts to make the country prosperous and self-reliant by exploiting the resources available within the country rather than depending on foreign assistance. Above all, all political parties should stand united so that no party becomes a handy tool for any country in destabilising peace and social harmony in Nepal as has been going on for decades. This should be the lesson for the Nepalese leaders from the condemnable EU-Indian statement.
Kamini Rajbhandari is managing director of Nepal Telecom (NT), the state-owned telecommunication service provider of Nepal. Rajbhandari has been leading...