November 2023 Analysis: International Relations & Foreign Affairs


Posted by : Prakriti Adhikari

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Date : 2023-11-30





Nepali citizens are being recruited as soldiers abroad, notably in the Russia-Ukraine conflict. The death of six soldiers recently raised concerns about national security and highlighted the diplomatic complexities of repatriation of the bodies. Another critical issues that demanded attention was the capture and detention of Mr. Bipin Joshi was held hostage by Hamas. On a positive note, there was some progress in resolving border disputes and enhancing security cooperation with India.
 

Timeline of Major Events

 
Date Events
29th Oct - 4th Nov 2023 Foreign Minister NP Saud's visit to the US.
1st Nov 2023 Chief Justice Hon. Rt. Bishwambhar Prasad Shrestha attended the 1st China Central (Kashgar) Asia & South Asia League Forum in Kashgar, Xinjiang.
7th-9th Nov 2023 The 7th annual coordination meeting between Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) and Nepal's Armed Police Force (APF) took place.
23rd Nov 2023 State Minister for Foreign Affairs of the State of Qatar, His Excellency Mr. Soltan bin Saad Al-Muraikhi, arrived in Kathmandu.
29th Nov - 3rd Dec 2023 PM Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda participated in COP28 in UAE.
Through November Six Nepalis Serving in the Russian Army Killed

 

Concerns on Nepali youths serving in Russian Military


The death of six Nepali soldiers serving in Russian army highlight concerns about the vulnerability of Nepali youths engaged in mercenary roles abroad. Furthermore, the government's struggles in repatriating the soldiers' bodies emphasize diplomatic complexities. Russia's recruitment of Nepali soldiers outside official channels concerns Nepal's earlier stance against Russian aggression in Ukraine. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs caution against Nepali citizens involved in security-related work in war-torn countries further underscores the government's awareness of potential risks.

Nepal’s Stance in Israel-Palestine Conflict

On December 12, Nepal voted in favor of a UN resolution supporting a humanitarian truce in the Israel-Palestine conflict. Nepal continued its earlier stand on ‘durable and sustained humanitarian truce’ in the Israel-Hamas war. Nepal had also voted in favor of a ceasefire in late October. Nepal firmly supports the two-state solution to end the prolonged conflict and peaceful coexistence of Israel and Palestinian people.
 

Still no clue on Bipin Joshi whereabouts

Despite Nepal’s continuous diplomatic efforts to locate and release Bipin Joshi, a Nepali national missing since the Hamas attack on Israel, his whereabouts remain unknown. While Israel reportedly informed Nepal that Joshi was in Hamas’s captivity, Nepal’s diplomatic efforts to release him among Israeli, Qatari and American counterparts has not yielded any positive result. Nepal has prioritised the release of Joshi, however, the unresolved status of Mr. Joshi's case signals the need for more efforts at higher diplomatic levels.

Advancement in border cooperation and development.

The 7th annual coordination meeting between Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) and Nepal's Armed Police Force (APF) emphasized a joint commitment to enhancing security along the 1,751 km India-Nepal border. Key priorities included addressing trans-border crimes, smuggling, and human trafficking, reflecting a collaborative approach to shared challenges. The repair work on boundary pillars in Kailali and Kanchanpur jointly by the APF and India's Seema Suraksha Bal in the first week of December marks a cooperative effort to protect the no-man's-land and resolve border disputes.

Additionally, the opening of the Korola border point between Nepal and China reinforces diplomatic achievements, offering benefits for residents of upper Mustang and local businesses along the border. However, the lack of infrastructure on the Nepali side of the border poses a challenge on border security.
 

High-Level Engagements and Global Partnerships

Nepal witnessed a series of significant high-level diplomatic engagements in November. Foreign Affairs Minister Narayan Prakash Saud's visit to the United States, starting on October 29 and concluding on November 4, was deemed fruitful. The trip emphasized strengthening Nepal-US relations, with commitments to enhanced cooperation in various sectors such as IT development, food security, agriculture, market access, investment, trade, and the timely implementation of Millennium Challenge Corporation projects. Chief Justice Hon. Rt. Bishwambhar Prasad Shrestha participated in the 1st China Central (Kashgar) Asia & South Asia League Forum. At the same time, Qatar's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs engaged with Prime Minister Prachanda, emphasizing trade, investment, and the employment of Nepali nationals. Prime Minister Prachanda also visited the UAE in late November to attend COP28, where an agreement was reached to launch a loss and damage fund to help vulnerable countries tackle the impacts of climate change. These efforts highlight Nepal's active diplomatic engagements in pursuit of mutually beneficial partnerships.