Nepal-German Relations At 60
In its quest for expanding diplomatic outreach to the external world, Nepal established diplomatic relations with Germany on April 4, 1958. Only a few years had passed that Nepal had emerged from the long hibernation of isolation from external contacts, while Germany was then fast leaping in its economic growth after the end of World War II. Germany was on its trajectory to soon becoming an economic powerhouse with greater technological advancement. Nepal was trotting slowly in its socio-political terrain without discernible economic development then. The prevailing situations in both countries were vastly different. However, the desires of both had beckoned them to begin diplomatic relations. This is the time to mark the Diamond Jubilee of the establishment of diplomatic relations.
Six decades of bilateral relations have traveled well to the satisfaction of both with no issues standing in the way. But during this period both Nepal and Germany had undergone far- reaching changes in their domestic landscape with the latter’s change having widespread impact not only in Europe but even in various regions of Asia and Africa. Meanwhile, the revolution in Nepal in April 2006 had resulted in the abolition of monarchical system in the last week of May 2008 to adopt the republican system. Similarly, the tearing apart of the Berlin wall in November 1989 clearly paved political way for the unification of two Germanys which were previously divided as the Federal Republic of Germany (West) and the German Democratic Republic (East) which was imposed by victorious powers the US, UK and France and the erstwhile Soviet Union. The unification of two Germanys that took place in the first week of October 1990 was a historic event that resonated in the world over. The Tag der Deutscher Einheit (Day of German Unity) is celebrated on October 3rd of each year by the German people with enthusiasm as a historic moment.
Nepal had extended its support to the German unification as its process was completed in the peaceful way with high diplomatic acumen and skills. Indeed, the German unification achieved in October 1990 had sent an epoch changing message as to how the great divisive problem facing the then global system itself could be resolved with diplomatic ingenuity and tact. As Charge d’Affaires of Nepal then, the author of this article had a rare opportunity to observe the great unification celebration organised in the Bundestag (Federal Parliament) in Berlin in the morning of October 3, 1990.
It may be noted that the German government had extended its positive support for the promulgation of the Constitution of Nepal on September 20, 2015. Its support came as various provisions of the constitution are based on democratic dispensation, social inclusiveness and federal system. Mutuality of support extended to each other prominently figures up in bilateral dealings.
Knowledgeable people could find some identical features in some provisions of the Constitution of Nepal and the Grund Gesetz (Basic Law) of Germany. Take for example, the electoral system the Constitution of Nepal has provided in its various provisions related with the federal election resembles with the electoral system of Germany as enshrined under the Basic Law relating to federal election to the Bundestag (Federal Parliament). They have adopted the two vote system – one for the candidate of the constituency and the other for the candidate belonging to the party list. Similarly, Nepal has also adopted provisions related to the electoral system for the federal parliament with two vote system as practiced in Germany.
However, the percentage of representation given to the party list differs from one another. Likewise, Nepal has incorporated federal system like in Germany, but the privileges and rights enjoyed by the state units of Germany differ from the system Nepal has provided in its constitution. Whatever differences there exist, some identical constitutional features Nepal has drawn has placed two countries together on the same boat of democratic and federal system. Of course, there is a huge difference between the two with regard to the socio-economic status and the democratic maturity the German people have had and the Nepali people’s current situation.
The Nepali people should be thankful to the German government and its hardworking people for the technical and economic cooperation it has been extending continuously since 1961. Germany happened to be the largest donor for the socio-economic development of Nepal in the mid- eighties of the 20th century. More importantly, Germany is the highest trading partner of Nepal among the Euro Zone members of the European Union.
Germany is the largest economy of the European Union and the fourth largest in the world. We need to prepare a well-crafted and well-documented strategic cooperation plans and programmes practically based on the country specific relationship. We should view our relations with Germany with foresight. Keeping in mind that Germany is a country with tremendous economic strength combined with enormous technical prowess and innovative ingenuity. We can look at Germany for foreign direct investment (FDI), enhancement of trade capability and trade expansion and technological learning and other tangible cooperation to materialise currently much-pronounced slogan of prosperous and happy Nepal.
Meanwhile, we should be aware of the positive and constructive roles the German government has played since its unification for peace, security and cooperation on the global scale. As its economic strength has grown steadily and its contribution increased in Europe and in the world, it has aspired to be a permanent member of the Security Council of the United Nations since a few years back. Viewed diplomatically, Germany’s current role and place in the world, and more importantly, its continued extension of development cooperation to Nepal in the past six decades, Nepal should be positive to extend its support for Germany for the permanent membership in the UNSC. Mutual consultations on Germany’s interest in permanent membership and Nepal’s non permanent membership in UNSC (whenever opportunities come) are both advisable and preferable.
During his stint in Germany as a sensitive diplomat from 1988 -1992, the author experienced that Nepal is fairly a well-known country in Germany and among its people. They are familiar that Nepal is the land of the highest mountain, Everest, and great Himalayas as also Buddha’s birthplace. Hence, carrying forward relations with Germany is not the only duty of the government of Nepal but also of its sensible people.