News Digest: September 17-23, 2020



International Relations & Foreign Affairs

Nepal invested in SAARC: Nepal has urged the SAARC members to reactivate the economic mechanism in an attempt to revitalize the member countries which are seriously hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. The 15th informal meeting amongst the SAARC finance ministers proposed this suggestion. Nepal’s representative also highlighted the importance of increased cooperation to mitigate the impact of the pandemic.

Experts urge to build a system to appoint envoys: The NCP government had prioritized to appoint the ambassador three months before the expiry of the term of the incumbent. However, NCP has disobeyed this hinting towards a lack of inclination in foreign relations. Few countries are left without a representative currently, and few incumbents are about to expire, but no mechanism is in place to appoint the next envoy. Experts stressed that Nepal requires robust foreign policy and practices as ambassadors are crucial in dictating Nepal’s bilateral relations. The government has misplaced priorities, and Foreign Minister Gyawali has failed to streamline policies under pressure from leadership.

UAE ambassador suggests more flights: In a meeting between Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Yogesh Bhattarai and UAE ambassador to Nepal Saeed Hamdan Mohammed Al Naqbi, Minister Bhattarai invited UAE to invest in Nepal’s tourism sector. Furthermore, Bhattarai expressed gratitude for the speedy repatriation of Nepali workers from the UAE. Ambassador Naqbi suggested introducing more flights between the two countries and Minister Bhattarai took to it positively.

China builds on Nepal’s land: In an inspection conducted along the Lapcha-Limi region of Humla, it was revealed that China had built nine buildings on Nepal’s territory. District Administration Office Humla forwarded the encroachment to Ministry of Home Affairs who further shared it with MoFA. After receiving the report, a team was sent to visit the region. The Lapcha-Lipu region is a remote place since it is far from the headquarters.

China-Nepal over the border: A border pillar (no. 11) was missing along the Humla-China border since Nepal constructed a road 12 years ago, but China has erected 11 buildings in the area claiming it falls under Chinese territory. The Chinese also claimed that their territory extends a kilometre further south from where the facilities are located. In contrast, according to Nepali sources, Nepali land extends two kilometres north from where the buildings are. The chief officer of Humla further claimed that there was only a hut in the area in 2005. The line of demarcation to pillar 11 is straight from pillar 12, and therefore, it can be traced easily.. Once the findings report is published and there is encroachment, Nepal will take up the matter diplomatically with China.

Joint security patrol along Kapilvastu border: India and Nepal security forces have initiated joint security patrol to check the spread of COVID-19 and illegal cross-border activities along the area. Twenty-six personnel from each force have been deployed, and security along the border has become stricter. Furthermore, Nepal-India border will remain sealed until November 14, according to CCMC.

Census in the disputed areas: National Planning Commission and its Central Bureau of Statistics are to hold the 12th National Population and Housing Census. However, the process of conducting the census in Kalapani, Lipulekh, and Limpiyadhura remains uncertain. While some claim that they will do a door-to-door visit, others opine that India will forbid Nepal to conduct a survey in the area. Observers have said that Nepal will need to seek permission from India’s defence ministry to conduct the survey.

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