September Analysis: International Relations

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Timeline of Major Events:

DateEvents
September 5, 2022Honorary Ranking to Chief of Army Staff of Indian Army
September 12, 2022Li Zhanshu goodwill visit to Nepal  
September 12, 2022Nepal traders’ relief as Tatopani border gives custom passes
On September 14, 2022Joint Foreign- Secretary meeting between Nepal and India at New Delhi  
September 23, 2022President Bhandari attending the controversial meeting of Global Security Initiative (GSI)  
September 29, 20226th Annual Meeting of Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) and Armed Police Force (APF) Nepal  

Nepal- India

Honorary Ranking to Chief of Army Staff of Indian Army

The Chief of Army staff of Indian Army General Manoj Pande conferred the title of Honorary rank of General of Nepal Army by President Bidya Devi Bhandari with a special ceremony at Sheetal Niwas, Kathmandu. General Pande was also presented a sword and a scroll. Earlier in the day, sapling was planted in the premises of Army headquarters. Thereafter, General Pande paid homage to the brave soldiers at the Bir Smarak at the army pavilion, Tundikhel. During the momentous visit on behalf of Government of India, Gen Manoj Pande presented training equipment to Nepali Army along with Light Vehicles which would expand capabilities of Nepali Army personnel. The honorary ranking is practiced between Nepal and India since 1951 to display the sense of bondings between two countries, symbolize military to military ties and help to strengthen security relations.

Joint Foreign- Secretary meeting between Nepal and India at New Delhi

Nepal and India held a foreign-secretary level meeting at New Delhi on On September 14, 2022. The meeting entailed discussion on energy, health, culture, boundary, trade issues and people to people relations. Two important high-level visits of Prime Minister Narendra Modi visit to Lumbini and Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba’s visit to India was also reviewed and progress of the two crucial visit was also discussion. Both counterparts expressed their satisfaction towards progress made in different areas including power sector, construction of transmission line, railway connectivity, construction of ICPs, motorable bridge and other important infrastructures. In addition to this, they also discussed early conclusion of the Transit Treaty including its Protocol and the Memorandum to the Protocol and expediting the review of the Treaty Trade. The Nepali delegates raised supply of fertilizer, waiver of restriction on export of food items. Followed by this, Nepalese delegates requested the Indian official to convene the meeting on boundary works that India is reluctant to begin the fieldwork as directed by the BWG. In the hindsight, both sides welcomed the recent signing of the MoUs between NHPC, India and IBN, Nepal on the development of West Seti and SR-6 projects. The yearly secretary level meeting helps to further strengthen the bi-lateral relation and transparently discuss on each other’s dissatisfaction or satisfaction towards the work in progress. The meeting helps both the countries to collaborate in plausible area of investment, review of treaties and projects and the areas there requires amendment through bi-lateral discussion.

6th Annual Meeting of Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) and Armed Police Force (APF) Nepal

On September 29, 2022 the 6th Annual Coordination meeting of Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) and Armed Police Force (APF) Nepal has concluded on by signing agreement for border cooperation. The meeting held discussion on border security and reducing crimes in border areas in both sides. In order to counter crimes in the border areas, effective information exchange mechanism from both the agencies could benefit to reduce through help desk and effectively monitoring the activities to avoid any difficult situations. Cross border and homogenous society cause major problem in the internal and external security of the both countries. SSB and AFP force are placed in the border to ensure peace and security and, illicit smuggling, crimes and trade. Security forces face extreme challenges due to lack of intelligence. High level communication mechanisms, building capacity of the security forces is essential and, Nepal and India have come together to deter crimes and bring forth adequate policies to deal with border issues.

Nepal- China

Li Zhanshu goodwill visit to Nepal

Li Zhanshu visits Nepal, 2022. Photo: RSS.

On September 12, 2022 Chinese leader Li Zhanshu paid a visit to Nepal at the invitation by Agni Sapkota. The Chinese leader is considered to be one of the closest allies to the Chinese president and also the third ranked leader in China. The Chinese leader paid courtesy visit to PM Sher Bahadur Deuba and, on the next day visit to the President Bidya Devi Bhandari was completed. Followed by the courtesy calls, Mr. Zhanshu visited heritage sites in Bhaktapur. According the gazette information, Sapkota and Zhanshu will sign a bilateral agreement on cooperation between two countries on the parliament-level.  In the past few months, frequent number of visits by top Chinese leaders to Nepal reflects the Chinese agitation towards US due to their growing influence in Nepal. It can be observed that, China is being very apprehensive about the US strategy in Nepal. The Chinese leaders visit is also speculated to understand the situation of the coalition of the communist party and possibilities of unification for the upcoming election. However, communist parties are adamant of not being reunified. The Chinese leader before departing from Nepal discussed on bi-lateral issues, both the countries will work to reap common benefits through mutual affiliates which also includes BRI. During the meeting with Ministry of Foreign Affair, the both the countries agreed to further strengthen inter-parliamentary exchanges and cooperation.

Nepal traders’ relief as Tatopani border gives custom passes

On September 12, 2022, Nepali traders is in a relief as Tatopani and Rasuwagadhi border reopens. The traders have been waiting for past few months to get passes to allow containers that carried good which was targeted for Dashain Tihar festival. Until now only three containers have been passed through Tatopani border while others, are in line to get the pass to cross the border. Similarly, from Rasuwagadhi seven cargo containers have already passed and other seven still needs approval Due to the imposed restriction, report says that, some of the food items are inedible for being stranded in the border point for a longer period. The Chinese COVID instruction that restricts border movement have been difficult for the traders in terms of exporting goods. The Nepali government is trying to negotiate with the Chinese government for approval. The traders are facing huge loss as it hindered their business activities.

President Bhandari attending the controversial meeting of Global Security Initiative (GSI)

On September 23, 2022, The President of Nepal Bidya Devi Bhandari participated virtually on the GSI meeting despite restriction from the PM and the Foreign Minister. The event was organized by the Chinese communist party. The redundant pressure from the Chinese government was given to Nepal government to support the security initiative by President Xi Jingping. However, the government of Nepal did not join the initiative citing NAM policy. Despite advising the president of being a part of the controversial event that might challenge Nepal Foreign Policy and Nepal’s necessity to be abided to NAM policy, President Bhandari took part in the conference and her statement was aired in the conference. The president’s officials claimed that her participation and delivering speech in the event was well informed to the PM. Several foreign diplomats raised their concern on her participation as being immature attempt. Aftermath of the event, it immediately drew attention among the diplomats, academia and journalist. Concerns were raised on government institutions’ lack of understanding on foreign policy and president’s impractical gesture for strictly not enduring to the Nepal’s foreign policy. Such participates impedes the foreign engagements of Nepal when government institutions function independently. In the regional politics president’s participation will result in chances of ruining the bi-lateral ties. It is anticipated that such gesture will be likely be misused by the other stakeholders. However, the participation will also hamper the internal/domestic politics of Nepal as it portrays weak governance and questions proficiency of the government in dealing foreign relations.

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