Nepal – the country of the Buddha and the Mt. Everest

Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without – Buddha

Posts Tagged ‘SAARC’

A new beginning with Nepal

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on July 26, 2014


rakesh-sood-1An early visit by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Kathmandu will offer an opportunity to remove the accumulated cobwebs of mistrust between the two neighbours and focus on future potential

No two neighbouring countries enjoy a more intimate and a more complex relationship than India and Nepal. India is where Nepalis come to study, work, spend holidays, plan weddings, invest in a second home; yet, India is also blamed for being insensitive, for meddling in Nepal’s internal affairs and often, for taking Nepal for granted.

Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s maiden visit to Nepal this week will be keenly watched, especially as it lays the groundwork for an early visit by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. A high-level Indian visit is long overdue; after I.K. Gujral in 1997, only Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee has visited Nepal, in 2002 for a SAARC summit. There have been several visits by Nepal’s Prime Ministers and its President Ram Baran Yadav since. A Modi visit offers an opportunity to focus on future potential and remove some of the accumulated cobwebs of mistrust. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 23, 2013

nrnAn election for NRN Australia 2013-15 term is approaching. I witnessed some of our local NRNA advocates pull their fingers out to campaign for arguably the only umbrella organisation of Nepalese around the world, Non Residential Nepalese Association (NRNA). As a curious mind, it made me want to know a little more into depth about this ‘glorious’ organisation. We are all too familiar with the widespread pessimism and disappointments towards the similar natured organisations that claim to be the trusted one. Nevertheless, seeing much ado about NRN lately, I spared my precious time and energy to knowledge myself about this so called mother entity of all the local Nepalese community organisations globally. Not knowing where I would end up in this process, one thing that I wanted to make sure was not to have any pre-notion that would influence my discovery.

Non-Resident Nepali Association (NRNA) is an organisation established on 11 October 2003 with the purpose of uniting and binding the Nepali Diaspora under one roof. To protect and promote their interest and utilize their potentials and resources for the welfare of Nepal, to act as a catalyst in attracting and facilitating foreign investment, to organise global and regional conferences and interaction programs for its stakeholders and promoting Nepal’s potential as a tourist destination are some of the key points stipulated in NRN’s manifesto. To achieve these objectives an association shall conduct the required activities within and beyond the border.

I could not falter NRN’s motto and the whole concept behind the formation. Especially when the underlying national interests that can only be fulfilled by the direct involvement of Nepalese Diasporas are not hidden from us, an organisation of this sort to come into existence was nothing but an imploration of time. The government of Nepal has also given legal status to this formidable force of NRNA by promulgating Non-Resident Nepalese act 2064 according to which Nepalese citizens living outside South Asian Association for regional Cooperation (SAARC) member countries are classified as NRN. Simply, people of Nepalese origin holding foreign nationality other than SAARC nations are categorized as NRNs.
Strangely enough, I fall into the category of NRN is the fact that I thought a little about till today. Having lived in Melbourne, Australia for longer than half a decade automatically makes me a NRN despite of my carelessness to take a membership just as yet. Since I was suggested to come on board by one of my mate who also happens to be an active NRN member locally, I preferred to reflect back on my experiences surrounding all the community organisations including NRNA. Personally, taking a membership was not an issue at all. It would rather give me a sense of responsibility towards my homeland irrespective of where I may have been living but it was purely about making an informed decision. Read the rest of this entry »

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China eager to bring train service to Lumbini

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on November 29, 2011


Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Narayankaji Shrestha is back after wrapping up his week-long visit to China in the wake of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao´s impending visit to Nepal in mid-December. OurSpecial Correspondent Purna Basnet met Shrestha in Hong Kong on his way back to Kathmandu. Excerpts:

How did your first China visit as a foreign minister go?

After becoming foreign minister, I have been to UN General Assembly, India and SAARC summit under the leadership of prime minister. This is the first formal foreign visit under my leadership and it has been very fruitful. We held cordial discussions on all aspects of bilateral relations and I am confident that we will see positive results soon.

What would such positive results be?

Nepal-China friendship should not be seen as just another neighborly relation. It holds great significance. We could convince China to expand financial help to Nepal which was one of the two major agendas of my visit. China is likely to announce an increment in its annual grant to Nepal during the Chinese premier´s visit in December. We have also sought a one-time special grant at a time when we are approaching the final stage of the peace process and constitution drafting.

Did you have any discussion on reducing the massive trade deficit with China?

We had serious discussion on increasing bilateral trade and reducing the trade deficit. We have not been able to capitalize on the duty waiver offered by China on export of around 400 goods. Therefore, this time we urged China to provide waiver on those goods that we can export. They have asked us to provide a list of such items. Read the rest of this entry »

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China’s involvement in SAARC crucial: PM

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on September 14, 2011


KATHMANDU, Sept 14: Prime Minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai on Wednesday said that China´s involvement in SAARC has become crucial in view of its geo-proximity to the sub-continent and rapid economic growth.

“China neighbors five out of eight SAARC countries. Therefore, its involvement in SAARC has become crucial,” the prime minister said on Wednesday.

The prime minister further added that South Asian countries and China “must unite” to eradicate poverty in the region, which is home to about half of the world population.

Addressing the inaugural session of the Second Convention of China and South Asia Forum of Organizations in Kathmandu on Wednesday, the prime minister also stressed on Nepal´s interest in linking South Asia and China.

“Nepal would like to act like a vibrant bridge between these two historic regions, rather than merely playing the role of a traditional buffer state,” the prime minister said.

Altogether 30 delegates from Nepal, China, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are participating in the four-day event. Read the rest of this entry »

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U.S. surprised, happy at SAARC observer offer

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on May 24, 2011

B. Muralidhar Reddy

BALANCING ACT: New Delhi's invitation to the U.S. to participate in SAARC as an observer was seen as a bid to offset Pakistan's request to include China in the group.

NEW DELHI: The United States was surprised by an Indian suggestion in 2005 that it consider participation in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), and Washington saw that as a possible attempt by New Delhi to “balance” Pakistan’s request to include China in the grouping.

Nine countries have been given observer status. Since the 14th SAARC Summit in New Delhi, they have attended the inaugural and closing sessions of the summits.

A U.S. diplomatic cable dated November 17, 2005 ( 45425: confidential), accessed by The Hindu through WikiLeaks, deals with the possible logic behind India sounding the U.S. on the proposal.

The cable, sent by U.S. Political Counselor Geoffrey Pyatt Jr., said that at a briefing on the 2005 SAARC Summit, Ministry of External Affairs Joint Secretary (SAARC) P.K. Kapur had told him that both Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran supported a closer U.S. role in the regional body and requested feedback from the U.S.

Mr. Kapur told the U.S. diplomat that the membership invitation extended to Afghanistan and the decision to offer China and Japan observer status were among the most important outcomes of the Summit.

“The offer for US Observer Status may be an attempt to balance Pakistan’s request to include China, but it is a welcome opportunity to play a more prominent role in promoting US foreign policy goals for South Asian integration and reflect India’s confidence in its relationship with the US,” the cable said. Read the rest of this entry »

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